A Shocking Development!


By: , SparkPeople Blogger
  :  321 comments   :  25,075 Views

By the time you read this, I will probably be about halfway through my first week of a two- or three-week course of ECT (electroconvulsive therapy) treatment to see if this helps relieve my depression.

In two previous blogs, I had indicated both that I felt pretty uncomfortable with the idea of electric shock treatment (I was a BIG fan of One Flew Over the Cuckooís Nest), and that I was going to try a non-medical approach to dealing with my depression before resorting to additional biological treatments. But here I am in the hospital, getting hooked up to the ECT machine.

What has changed in the past week is the urgency of reducing the effects of this depressive episode on other things. For whatever reason, Iíve been somewhat overwhelmed the last few days with a bunch of new memories and flashbacks related to the childhood abuse I experienced for the first 13 years of my life. I donít know if the depression is reducing my capacity to keep those memories away, or whether the memories have been mucking around in my subconscious for a while and generating the depression. Maybe both. Or neither. All I really do know is whatís happening right now, which is that I canít handle all of this at once and still function in my daily lifeósomething has to give. I havenít been able to sleep for 3 days, and my anxiety level is a steady 14 on a scale of 1-10.

Trying to let the past be the past before itís too late.

Given that Iím 60 now, and that Iíve been dealing with this old childhood baggage in one way or another for my whole life, I figure Iím not going to have many more chances of getting to the bottom of it. So, my desire is to actively and directly deal with this stuff right now while itís coming up on its own, instead of trying to put the lid back on again. That means I need to get myself to the point that Iím strong enough to do thatóand that means getting through the worst of this depression as quickly and easily as possible. They tell me that ECT is the best treatment when a quick response is the goal, so Iíve decided to give it a try. And, honestly, I could do with a week in the hospital right now, with nothing much to do except cope with getting my brain zapped a few times.

Some Background Info
I used to believe that oneís psyche never gives you more than youíre ready to handle at that time, and therefore, that the appearance of new memories and feelings from the past meant that I was ready to handle whatever it was that wanted to make itself known.

In my eagerness to cooperate with this process, I told all my various therapists that I wanted to use whatever special techniques they could offer aimed at uncovering what I couldnít remember or couldnít accept as real when I did remember it.

When I started out for the first time in adult (voluntary) therapy, I didnít remember anything at all about my family life before my mother died when I was 13. I ďknewĒ a lot of information--where we lived, what my father did for work, where I went to school, the names of some friends, and so on. But I had no picture memories or narrative memories of my family or our interactions that actually felt like my own. Just words I could repeat if someone asked for my story. I assumed this was the way it was for everyoneóuntil my first therapist told me that, in fact, most people can remember (with images, feelings, and stories) most of the important details of their lives after the age of 4 or so. The fact that my family and personal memories started at 14, when I started high school, was ďinteresting, and something I might want to explore in therapy.Ē

Right. ďInteresting.Ē Maybe so, in the same way that guerilla warfare or an atomic bomb is interesting. Because thatís how I felt for the next 15 years--like I was constantly walking through a minefield and trying to be prepared to deal with unpredictable assaults from an unseen enemy. A simple bout of good old-fashioned, uncomplicated depression was a welcome break during this time. I donít regret any of the time or effort I spent on trying to figure out and deal with what had actually happened when I was a kid. I know how important that can be for knowing and appreciating yourself as an adult, with all your strengths and weaknesses.

What has been frustrating, though, is that this old business never seems to be done. Whenever I think it is, and that Iíve come to terms with it, a new wave of memories surfaces and knocks me down again like a sneaker wave.

I was pretty dysfunctional, basically, from my divorce and subsequent business failure in 1988, until 2003, when I started losing weight and (a year or so later) hooked up with SparkPeople. After about 18 months as a member, spending a lot of time on the MessageBoards (that was the extent of my social life then, and still is now, for the most part), I was offered a job as ďCoach Dean,Ē and the next chapter of my life was launched.

Iíve really enjoyed the last 3 1/2 years, especially my work at SparkPeople. Even though Iím not in the office and donít see anyone face-to-face very often, I feel pretty close to several of the staff, have a lot of fun teasing some of the tech guys, and the work itself is great. I really love seeing people do well at working on themselves and moving toward their goals, and feeling like I played some small role in that. And I dearly hope this will continue for quite a while into the future, as soon as I can get myself back to more normal functioning. SparkPeople is a unique organization and a very exciting group of people to be part of.

The heart of the matter

I think that, somewhere down deep inside, a part of me doesnít believe I can ever have a decent social life as long as am still ďkeeping family secretsĒ from myself and others. When I'm around others, I'm constantly "on-guard" and unable to relax and simply be myself. At this point, all my friends are people Iíve either never met in person or seen only a time or two. All my I work as a coach and trainer is done online as well. If my internet and phone service ever go down at the same time, I might as well be marooned on an island in the middle of the ocean.

The saddest part of all this is that this is the way I like thingsóor at least thatís what I tell myself. When Iím actually around living, breathing human beings for a significant length of time, I donít do well at allóIím prone to panic attacks, bouts of extreme self-doubt and self-consciousness, and actual physical meltdown (extreme sweating, difficulty concentrating enough to participate in a discussion, etc).

My life isnít totally bleak, though. In addition to my job, I enjoy my biking and hiking outdoors. And even if I didnít have all my history and psychological baggage to contend with, Iím sure I would naturally be a pretty shy person who had only a small circle of friends, so itís not as if I ďhad it allĒ at one point and lost it due to some accident or mistake.

But it does feel to me like the next step in my personal journey will be about building a wider and deeper set of connections with other people, in ďreal lifeĒ. I think that my recent surgery and the dependency it caused for several weeks really brought home to me how isolated I am. Aside from my daughter and almost son-in-law, who live nearby, and my sons, who donít, there is really no one who was physically in my life. That doesnít feel good anymore. Iím sure itís contributing to my depression and anxiety, both because it doesnít feel good in itself, and because knowing that I need to do something about this generates a pretty huge amount of anxiety and fear.

What I need, I think, is a real confidante--someone I can talk to about anything at all thatís going on, including the unfinished childhood business, without worrying about traumatizing them in the process. I suppose thatís exactly what a therapist is supposed to provide, but thatís not exactly what I think I need. I need something thatís more like a two-way street, not ďtreatment.Ē I need to know whether a regular person can actually stand to see the real me, past and all, and still want to be around me, because I think Iíve convinced myself that will never happen. And I need to know that I can open the door to my internal ďtoxic waste dumpĒ without hurting anyone.

I donít think thereís any way to do this intellectually. I can tell myself it all wasnít my fault, that I did nothing I didnít have to do to survive, and that itís perfectly safe to know, experience, and talk about anything that happened then or is happening now with me. But Iím just not going to believe it until I manage to do it, which is probably the most terrifying thing Iíve ever considered doing.

Who knowsómaybe Iíll run into a kindrid spirit whoís in the hospital for the same reasons I am, and weíll be able to give each other what we both need.

Anyway, Iíll let you know whatís happening as soon as I get out of the hospital again, probably in a couple days.

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  • 321
    Hugs. Please read the book of Dan Segel "Mindsight". It is about integration and harmony in your life. I do his 20 min plus meditation as well. All of the best. - 5/23/2015   3:33:40 AM
    It sounds like you might want to consider group therapy or a support group. It would allow you to talk with other people who "get it". NAMI has support groups around the country and your therapist would probably know of therapy groups that would be a good fit for you. - 2/14/2014   10:57:48 PM
    Hi Coach Dean,
    Have you considered whether you have a sensory processing sensitivity (or in layman's terms, are a highly sensitive person), which could be contributing to your difficulties? Dr. Elaine Aron's web site has more information. Hope you're feeling better. --abby - 9/15/2012   12:39:59 PM
    Reading your blog I wondered if I'D written it and forgotten. No kidding. When you described socialization as similar to being in a "mine field," I was convinced I wrote it. That's MY way of describing what it's like to be among people. From start to finish, my story parallels yours. I've not had to resort to ECT yet, because it's the mania of Bipolar that is most troublesome, but I take hefty doses of 4 different psych meds.

    I've been blessed, over the past 15 years, to have been employed professionally in the mental health field. I've learned a LOT about psychiatric and psychological treatments and recovery. For me, the most effective treatment for the residual abuse issues (besides medication) has been EMDR. Like you, however, every time I think I've entered hard-won stability, life has sent me a challenge that knocks me over and stomps me down.

    Moving from Florida to Oregon is my swan song. I'm going there for the singular purpose of being myself...fun-loving, kind, generous, enthusiastic, courageous, and Pollyanna ME. I intend to love and be loved, to laugh and work and play, and to live in peace. There's got to be somewhere on this planet for me to belong, and I intend to find it!!! - 6/30/2012   7:02:52 AM
  • 317
    Wow that really sucks!! The worst part is with the exception of having had a husband and children, which I never did, I feel like I could be writing your blog.

    I know I'm not physically present but I'm more than happy to listen to anything you want to say (and respond) via email! - 5/16/2012   6:12:35 PM
  • 316
    Good Luck I hope you find the answers you are looking for. My prayers go out to you - 5/16/2012   1:49:14 PM
    Thank you for sharing your journey with us, especially considering the difficult subject matter. You're very courageous.

    - 5/15/2012   4:16:08 PM
    Best Wishes - 4/25/2012   3:32:47 PM
  • 313
    I can only wish you the very best of luck - and know that the entire SP community is there with you - as close as your fingertips. God Bless. - 3/13/2012   5:30:21 PM
  • KATIE28403
    I just read this and am amazed. What a beautifully written blog! Thank you for your honesty and courage. - 5/3/2011   12:18:33 AM
    ...And I thought I related to you, before I heard this story! Wow. I spent years trying to weed through all of my baggage. And I am finally in a place where I feel safe. With people who authentically care about me. And I don't feel self-conscious, or unwanted as I did amongst the people who brought me into this world. I spent a long time trying to tend two ships. The one that hurt me and the one that completed me. Now, I have allowed the hurtful ship to run its own course and I am fully onboard the one that completes me. And it was a hard choice. And very hard to continue to feel confident in that choice every day. I feel alot of guilt over letting them go. But, I keep forcing myself to focus on the things that make me happy. The things that are here and now. I talk about the pain of the past, I will even dive into it if I need to but when I come up for air I am no longer scared of the reactions I will get. Instead I am comforted to know that it won't happen again.

    Big hugs and good luck with your treatments.

    Jen - 1/25/2011   10:03:44 AM
  • 310
    Thanks for sharing,Coach Dean.As a fellow sfferer from depression-I now those dark halls very well.I do hoped the ECT helped.You are my favorite most practical coaches here at SP.This was a very insightful article.God Bless! - 1/15/2011   6:50:34 PM
    i don't think i have any words to offer that would assuage or help in any way. but your courage and candor are so inspiring. i hope things are better now and continue to be so... just know that you are admired and prayed for. =) - 1/4/2011   3:36:09 PM
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  • 307

    You are one brave person. Your blog on ECT is among the most honest, most revealing blogs I've read on any topic.

    After reading it, and all the gracious comments, I'm stunned by your sense of purpose, and your self awareness. I'm new to Spark, and am still getting to know the community. Your blog was written a while ago, and I pray that you are in a better place after all is said and done.

    ECT is not the terror we associate with films and stories. I've known people through my professional and personal associations who benefited greatly from the controversial treatment. It's almost like erasing the bad habits of reacting and thinking that lead to cronic depression. Hope it had that effect on you.

    And don't dismiss the support of a counselor, therapist or psychologist. Don't hesitate to 'interview' them before committing to regular, in-depth conversation.
    They are to serve your needs, not pad their pockets. And consider a pastor/
    minister/rabbi as a confidante. They have extensive training in counseling, and even if you aren't a person of 'organized' religion, a spiritual point of view is enriching.

    Continue your journey, and see everything, the good and the bad, a part and parcel of what life offers. Even the darkest valleys teach us the value of the light. - 8/19/2010   4:49:41 PM
  • 306
    Coach Dean,
    It is neat how you wrote this over a year ago and I'm reading it today and being moved by it. I think that we can definitely be overloaded by our psyche. It seems like we unconsciously work double time to suppress the bad then it often seems to flood back.

    It is interesting that you mentioned needing a close friend or confidant at times rather than a therapist. Having a close friends when I had a periodic melt down is probably what brought me out of them faster. My best friend knew that I just first needed to express, listened and gave her perspective, and finally, when she thought that I was not being logical or it was effecting too much of my life (job, family,....) she told me.

    I'm in a much better place than I was when memories flooded back. I really believe that having a journal, my best friend, and last but not least a God who I knew loved me in my brokenness, helped me get through it faster.

    I heard a Christian speaker yesterday talking about depression and I was so happy that she said that medication IS very often necessary to deal with it. We need to heal physically, mentally, and spiritually. There is not one cure to fix a problem that has three parts.

    I'm looking forward to reading more from you. This was the first post that I've read from you. Thank you for your honesty. - 8/19/2010   10:28:14 AM
  • 305
    Coach Dean ~

    I am a huge fan of your articles - you are my favorite writer for Sparkpeople, and have been for a couple years now!

    I'm a graduate student in psychology. My major is in social development, but I've taught a variety of classes. What is interesting is that your specialty is in cognitive or behavioral type approaches, but also some of the humanistic approaches - with personal responsibility and all that. It's interesting to me that in your personal life that you are taken back to the unconscious or repressed memories of childhood - which isn't really addressed by those areas of psychology.

    This is by no means a criticism - actually, you remind me of myself in a lot of ways. I keep my psychological background very separate from my own personal background - I don't like to psychoanalyze myself or my friends and family, as I like to say. Yes, I make anecdotes during class about how I tend towards a Type A personality, or about how I like to do everything with background noise, so I'm extroverted, etc...

    Anyhoo - it was just an observation. I'm interested in how the treatments go... that must have been a tough decision to make because of the connotations we have given it as a society - it SOUNDS scary - but it's really not any stranger than prescribing prozac or adavan or something to help control mood.

    I wish you the best of luck, Coach Dean! You are awesome, even if you don't feel awesome sometimes. :)

    Michelle --- Beechnut13

    EDIT: Oops... you wrote this right after I had my baby, and I'd completely missed it... this was a year old! I found your blog about what happened while you were there. But good luck to you anyway! :) - 8/18/2010   11:36:29 PM
  • 304
    Wow, Dean, I wish you all the best. Hopefully, this treatment will work for you. I've been on psychotropics for 12 years now for bipolar disorder, panic disorder and anxiety. A great deal of my issues stem from childhood abuse so I empathize and sympathize completely. ((((((((((((((((((((((hugs)))))))))
    )))))))))))))))) - 8/12/2010   10:13:38 AM
  • 303
    Goodness, I thought EST went out with the Dinosaurs! - 7/17/2010   7:43:33 PM
  • 302
    sending a hug your way. - 1/29/2010   5:49:22 PM
  • 301
    Dear Dean
    I am a qualified clinical psychologist and in a 'previous life' worked in the field of psychiatry. I have seen a lot of people battle with life and mental health and it is never easy and as you say, doesn't actually go away, but never has to be what defines you either. It is a simply a part of your history.
    ECT can be a very effective treatment for depression, especially in dire times or as a last resort when medication is not having the desired effect - you should not be afraid of it, but make sure that you understand the process and results.
    Without sounding too 'therapist like', perhaps you can be your own confidant, write to yourself in the form of a journal or even letters to your 13 year old self to help him make sense of what happened.
    Whatever you do, don't give up on yourself and embrace all the love you are offered. You sounds so brave, I wish you only the best.
    - 1/28/2010   5:43:17 AM
  • 300
    I must say that I feel deeply moved by your post, and wish you the best of luck in your treatment. I can understand in some ways what your going through, in a small way I imagine, I hope that your treatment goes well and that you find people whom you can rely upon. - 1/27/2010   11:28:20 PM
    wow hope this finds you alot better. I am sending you hugs and prayers - 1/27/2010   9:57:07 AM
  • 298
    I see that I'm late to the game on answering this blog. But we can all use a hug at anytime ((hugs)) - 1/27/2010   9:08:20 AM
  • 297
    Coach Dean,
    From a heart who cares I love you. What courage and honesty. I myself started having panic attacks 16 months ago. Had i had a gun in the house I would have used it to put myself out of misery. The terror was worse than a simple click on the barrell of a gun. Finally I got a diagnoses, and medications. I only had two bonafide panic attacks in 09, but the depression I have had seems constant. My emotions are at the surface at all times. I am somewhat agoraphobic, don't want to leave the house...I am a very vain person, always had the beautiful supermodel figure when I was a young gal. As years went by, 20 yrs in the military, 3 abusive husbands....I think I just blew up so I wouldn't be someones trophy wife or otherwise, anotherwards safe from harm. Only the demons continue to haunt me, I miss my daughters who live in Dallas Tx, and am unable to fly to visit them because of health issues, and the fact I am scared I would have a panic attack on the plane....That'd be like Snakes on a Plane...

    Anyway love, you are a darling, a sweet spirit, and a warm hearted human otherwise you wouldn't care so much. I send my love and whole hearted hug to you and wish you the best on this journey.
    Good Luck sweetness - 1/17/2010   11:11:29 PM
    I'm a relatively new member of SP and I just found this particular blog. I almost cried because you express so well what I have gone through from the abuse I took from my stepfather. Maybe "took" isn't the right word, though I didn't have the courage or strength to fight back. Talk therapy hasn't worked for me, either, but nobody has suggested ECT for me. You are so strong to take that step. I will keep you in my prayers and will be watching your blogs with great interest, not just for info on this, either. - 11/17/2009   4:51:52 AM
  • 295
    Thank you so much for sharing. I too am STILL dealing with trauma, flashbacks, dreams etc. from the first 18 yrs of life. I thank you so much for sharing your experiences. It helps me not feel so alone and alien in my process. I have already gotten so much from your writing. I finally found someone in the last year that I not only feel safe with but AM safe with. She is a wonderful, amazing therapist that usually works with children and because of that she has a very different, loving, hands on approach. I can't see a lot of changes right now but I'm in the middle of everything. I just hope that someday I will be able to have a real relationship where I'm not either invisible - mirroring the other person, or totally empty inside.

    - 8/30/2009   7:27:08 PM

    Me again. I wrote when I last saw your story saying you were going in for elec' treatment and said I would always be there for you if you wish to contact me and I will be.

    I believe that your depression is partly trigered by the memories of your childhood but who would not be depressed having lived though what you have? I also suffer depression sometimes more than others but as you know the biggest help we can get at times is self-help because we know what works and what does not.

    What is most inappropriate is when people are feeling a bit sad or down say "I'm depressed" if only they knew what real depression is they would never use the term inappropriately.

    Going in for the treatment I feel you have taken a giant step toward putting the past in the past. It is not the easy option as sometimes memories you would rather have kept are lost with the ones you wish vanished but in most things there are plus signs and minus ones. This is a corageous step I know you will have considered deeply before going ahead.

    With all the horrific memories you have it is a wonder you managed to marry and have a family at all. Therefore, not for one moment do I think you should chastise yourself for not having a vast circle of friends you can name as one-to-ones. Only someone foolish would discuss private things with just anyone because as we know that true, close, friends are hard to find and that does not mean close as in distance. With time we know who we can trust to keep our confidences and give any help that is required.

    I am certain you will find and select that true, trusted friend when the time is right. Finding your true confident you could consider someone who would let you unburden to who would never repeat what you have said to others or even to you unless you again mention it. That is something I live by as I feel it is important as no one wishes to be reminded of dark secrets. You will know when you have found them. You have come though a "mountain or horrors" and I wish you nothing but the best of everything in the future. Being one year older than you I can honestly say I do not feel old, I feel about in my 20s. I like to think of having a half-full glass and each new day is the beginning of the rest of my life, and this helps when trying to let depression know you are not the home it is looking for. Have a wonderful new life - you deserve it!

    Love Helen xxx - 8/11/2009   1:36:43 PM
    Coach Dean - I am so admire your strength an wish you godspeed as you continue to take care of yourself. - 8/7/2009   9:14:35 PM
  • GG21064
    I was once in your place. I was in the hospital for the umpteenth time and I had the literature on ECT. I was fortunate that a medication that would work and my body would tolerate came on the market the week before I was scheduled for ECT and I was willing to try it. ECT is nothing like what most people think. It is much more safe and accurate now than ten years ago. My "soapbox" has always been that there are people with mental illness who are functioning quite well in the world. Thank you for another example of a person who has a mental illness (withe the emphasis on illness) that is not pushing a shopping cart and mumbling to himself. I have just recently changed medications as the "miracle" that helped me then has stopped working for me. I will hold onto the hope you have given that there are answers for us beyond hiding behind fat and food. I too went through discovering memories I had repressed. I too, am a loner or introvert. I work on a crisis hotline and spend eight hours alone with twelve phone lines. The one think I am absolutely sure I can do for these people is understand. Everyone's stuff is different and felt differently, but what you need is someone who has been there. I don't share a lot of my life with anyone other than my counselor (who's been there too), but I explain how I can connect to what they are feeling. Most people just want to be truly heard. I will be praying for you. - 8/6/2009   11:56:06 PM
  • 291
    Dean, you have done so much for me and so many other people. I am sending positive vibes your way and hope that this works for you. - 8/4/2009   3:37:37 PM
  • 290
    Lean on God - He is the best friend anyone can have! And know that you are not alone in having past experiences that you are reluctant to share for fear of how others will respond. As KAYLADIVA777 said - He (God) will never leave you or forsake you. He knows everything about you and LOVES you still. - 7/17/2009   11:20:55 PM
  • 289
    God bless, I will keep you in my prayers.
    "I arise today through the mighty strength of the Lord of Creaton" - 7/17/2009   10:59:55 PM
  • PHILE2920
    My father told me today that he's decided to try ECT and attempt to relieve his depression. I remembered reading this entry, and came back to it. It helped me to understand that even though there are risks to ECT that scare me, there comes a point when the potential benefits and relief make it worth trying.
    Thank you for sharing your life with us. You've made a difference. - 7/17/2009   9:28:34 PM
  • 287
    Dear Dean,
    I always enjoyed your articles and wish you the best and that the treatment will help you fight your 'demons of the past' & depression!
    (((Hugs))) and prayers for you!

    Val - 7/17/2009   4:39:33 PM
  • 286
    Dean, I have had 3 sets of ECT's myself over the last 20+ years. I suffer from bipolar disorder and since I had my last set of treatments in 1999 I have hardly had any depression. I wish she the best of luck with your treatments.

    BeckyI - 7/16/2009   4:04:24 PM
  • 285
    Coach, I am so in debt to you and to this site. You and the site came into my life when I was desperate and felt there was nothing left out there. Through the last three years I have had this site and your posts as part of my daily routine. I try very hard to spread the word and spread support around as much as I can. It is the only way I know how to try to give back some of what you have given me. I will keep you close to my heart and think of you often. Your Spark Buddy, Priscilla - 7/16/2009   2:18:33 PM
  • 284
    Coach Dean,
    I have to tell you that your articles have been a tremendous help to me in my journey. I admire your courage in sharing your story and in facing the faceless demons of your past. I can not begin to imagine the strength of character and will it must take for you to do this.
    There is so much I could say. But, Allow me to just echo what so many others have already stated. You're worthy of love for yourself and worthy of love from others. If you need a shoulder - I have two. If you need an ear, I have two of those as well. I have no inclination toward judgment.

    I wish you all of the best in your personal battle. I do hope the treatment is a success for you and that you can move forward in your life in new ways that you desire. You certainly deserve to be surrounded by positive people - in the flesh. I have admired you from your articles and hope that the treatment will help you to see yourself as so many of us here do. As an inspiration, a wealth of knowledge, a gentle and honest soul.
    *Hugs* - 7/16/2009   7:33:12 AM
  • 283
    My thoughts and prayers are with you. Good luck as you face your past and future. - 7/16/2009   7:14:30 AM
  • 4X4PAWS
    Coach Dean,

    I hope the treatment is successful. Your courage is inspiring.
    - 7/15/2009   4:37:07 PM
  • 281
    Coach Dean,
    You have remarkable courage to share this with us. ECT is a very drastic step, I hope it works for you. As a sufferer of depression, I can understand you wanting to take this drastic step. Also as one working on a book about my childhood, I cannot imagine not remembering childhood memories, I have both good and traumatic memories. Ones with conflict and ones with joy, but I was not abused and through it all, I knew I was loved. I hope you will be able to solve the mystery of your childhood. I also turned 60 this year so we are the same age. Your blogs and posts have been very helpful to me as to many others. Thank you.

    Kathie - 7/15/2009   1:39:17 PM
  • 280
    Coach Dean, I thank you for being so open and honest. Your articles have helped me immensely since I joined Sparc 3 months ago. I have been fighting my past and pushing for it to all come back. When I see what it's done to you I'm not so sure I'm doing the right thing. I hope that you will to continue to take care of yourself. And realize that a lot of people really care what happens to you. May you be at peace. - 7/15/2009   1:01:38 PM
    Dear Dean, I have read many of your articles for the past few years and you've probably helped me the most (even though I've been "off the wagon" for a few months!). I was riveted to your story this morning. I hope your treatments give you some inner peace. I'm married, a mother, grandmother, sister and friend. If you need someone "safe" to talk to, Dean, I'd be happy to listen. Thank you for your honesty, caring and sharing your gut wrenching story. My motto is, "seize the moment." All of us have things in our past that we'd like to forget. I can't help but think that I wouldn't be the same person, if everything had been great. I honestly believe I am a better person. I hope at some point, you will be able to accept your past as what it is...past...and be able to embrace today.
    I hope to see you in Cincinnati! My sister and daughter are coming, too. We're so excited to be getting away for a healthy weekend. - 7/15/2009   10:38:01 AM
    Thank you for sharing, you are very brave to put yourself "out on the line". But we are a community that can share through the heartbreak and pain. A year ago, I would never have shared to the outside world that I was severly emotionally abused, by my former spouse and my former boyfriend. The shame was mortifying. It took me 15 months with a counselor before I began to let the story unfold. I only trust four men in my life, my lawyer, my counselor, my boss and my animal vet! Only time will tell what the future will bring, may you live in peace for all your remaining days. Bless you. - 7/15/2009   7:45:45 AM
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    Coach Dean-

    Thank you for sharing your story. I believe in my heart that there are those kindred spirits out there for you. You are brave to not accept the status quo and to continue to challenge yourself to heal and grow. Keep up the good fight and know that you have many, many, many folks at sparkpeople pulling for you.

    May peace and many blessings be yours always. - 7/15/2009   3:50:36 AM
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    Coach Dean, thank you for sharing your story with all of us. I too was abused from the age of three till I was 15, with the man that doesn't even know I AM HIS DAUGHTER!!!! He thinks I am his stepchild. All my life I had this doubt that I belonged with my family. Two years ago I confronted my oldest sister and she finally gave me the dreaded truth, that I knew all along.....I am not a full blooded member of the Father and Mother I thought were my parents. It doesn't help matters any to know he touched me for 13 years with my mothers knowledge either. Then there was the mental abuse from my mother blaming me for what took place. Kids at school were just as cruel because I was handicap. I was made fun of about my weight (wasn't fat then), my speech, the way I walked, my nose, etc. I felt like an outcast all my life. Today I have trouble interacting with adults all together. I prefer to hide in the comfort of my own home and have my friends thru the internet. I even exercise in my home...I have my own little gym, just so I don't have to deal with people. I know this is not healthy. I have been in therapy and was put on antidepressant but they were not working...so I weaned myself off against my doctors orders. Today I choose to focus on my family and my personal well being without the care of medication. I still have bouts of depression and serious anxiety attacks that wake me from a dead sleep. I keep a journal of my memories and pains, and am going thru the process of forgiving thru the way Jesus would have done. So far I have been able to forgive all my classmates thru the years and strangers. I have forgiven many of my family members that have hurt me....but everytime I think I have forgiven my Mother and the Man who is My FATHER....well new images and memories pop up and I am back to base one. Some day I hope to get passed this hate and anger....but I am only doing it one baby step at a time. God Bless you for opening yourself up to us. Thank you !!!!! - 7/15/2009   2:07:52 AM
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    Coach Dean, thanks so much for being so honest in sharing your problems. You have such a flair for words and expression one can't help but read it all with extreme interest. I will include you in my prayers and hope that you soon find peace within yourself. Hugs to you, Carol - 7/14/2009   10:24:38 PM
    Hi Denise,

    I am a new member to Spark and still feeling my way around.

    Honestly, you have no idea how touched I felt at what I just read. I am an ex-nurse and can assure you that you are not alone although it may feel to you that you are. What horrible experiences you endured were though no fault belonging to you. YOU ARE NOT TO BLAME FOR ANYTHING! No doubt you have heard that said many, many times but it is true and if you can accept that fact you will be a long way towards being well.

    A few years ago I watched a program on TV on pedophiles and at the end there was an announcement that anyone that had been affected should call a number that was given. I pounced on the telephone but it was for others like yourself that had been abused. I wanted information who I could contact to help people who had suffered and to get these "Beasts" found and punnished in order that they could not do it to others.

    If only I can be of any help to you I will be more than willing to be that listening ear if you are willing to use me. Please, do not hesitate to contact me because I would love to help if I can. Having the treatment you referred to will remove memories but unfortunately other memories too may be removed that you would rather remained. Hopefully, this has all been explained to you.

    I will not go on any further at the moment but please know that I am here for you.

    Yours Helen xxx

    PS Take Care. em>247 /em> - 7/14/2009   2:08:28 PM
    Thank you for your candor and sharing your fear. I can relate well with little to no memory of my childhood and spotty memory of my twenties. Fortunately for you, the therapist and doctors have done much to support you and assist you in your journey. I agree that having that good close friend (who has been there and done that) will be a pivotal and important piece of your emotional health and recovery. I met a woman one day in my deep depression that truly saved my life. We sat talking for hours in a natural setting, watching the world flow by and she shared with me all that she had gone through afterwards. I was no longer alone! Others felt the same way: the darkness, the panic attacks, the fear, and the sadness in my heart that I could never escape from this lonely pain. Just by having been there already, she had thrown a light switch on where I should go next. And knowing that a knowledgeable and non-judging friend was there when ever I needed was enormous strength. I am so much better (therapy, medication, exercise, relaxation), and live with accepting my swiss-cheese past (it's the past and it's long gone), and work for living each day as I am given. It may not be what everyone else can live with---but I need to focus on who I am now, where I am now and what I can do now.

    Bless you and be at peace. My live-by mantra is "Desiderata" by Max Ehrmann. - 7/14/2009   8:58:55 AM
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    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Sounds like you have been very brave to explore your past and the feelings associated with it. Best wishes on the treatment. - 7/14/2009   1:31:18 AM

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