It is said that depression is only anger turned inward. Emotionally abused people often given up on emotions, since emotions have proven to be so damaging. They have been beaten down by the emotions of others and struck through the heart by their own emotions in response. No safety, just anger, fear, shame, and guilt. Perhaps, they think, if I punish myself there will be no need to be punished by others. Or, I’m only getting what I really deserve.
It takes a great deal of energy to deal with emotional abuse and stay buoyant. Each emotional assault takes its toll on that store of energy. Some people simply run out of strength to climb the mound of abuse heaped upon them. When that happens, they slip into the pit of depression. Unable to escape from anger, fear, shame, and guilt, they attempt to shut down all of their emotions. With no visible way out, they curl into themselves, isolating themselves from others and imploding their world.
Here are the signs and symptoms of depression as outlined by the National Institutes of Mental Health:
- persistent sad, anxious, or “empty” mood
- feelings of hopelessness, pessimism
- feelings of guilt, worthlessness, helplessness
- loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities
- decreased energy, fatigue, being “slowed down”
- difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
- appetite and/or weight changes
- thoughts of death or suicide; suicide attempts
- restlessness, irritability
- persistent physical symptoms
If you believe you may need depression help, take our depression survey, and know there is hope. I know because I’ve been through the valley myself.