I was diagnosed with depression when I was 8 years old. A majority of my life I experienced significant emotional pain that made it difficult to function. A majority of the time I couldn’t tell up from down or left from right because I was experiencing so much mental turmoil. I looked for so many ways to feel better, some healthy and some pretty unhealthy. I looked to religion to find answers, therapy to figure out the problem, focusing on my friends lives instead of my own, being the perfect daughter to alcoholic parents, cigarette smoking, obsession with my weight, perfectionism, changing everything about myself in the hopes it would solve the problem, overwhelming myself with hardship, overspending, making choices that I knew weren’t good for me and then punishing myself for messing up. After a particularly horrible depressed episode when I was 18, I knew I needed to find a way out of my almost masochistic way of living and relating to others. At the time I understood that my life long codependence had created the perfect storm that lead to my most serious depressed episode to date, but I did not realize how far into the depth of my being I was a prisoner.
I found solace through reading and learning about how others managed their pain, and I became especially interested in contemporary artists, hoping to find my way. I discovered Anais Nin, meditation, Buddhism, and Cognitive Behavioral therapy. I learned about how my fear of being abandoned, unlovable, not deserving of good things and believing I was less than others had become my identity and essentially was wrecking my life. I didn’t now how to be in relationship with others that were close to me, due to the low-grade, yet chronic trauma I had endured as the daughter of alcoholics. It was an issue that I would work to overcome and would make some progress, only to be pulled back downward through my own self destructive, self -sabotaging behavior.
It wasn’t until I was six months into my marriage that I hit my real rock bottom. My relationship with my husband brought up all my most ancient fears and I started acting out in uncomfortable ways. It was the first time I was authentically touching upon my deepest wound, something I had only been willing to flirt with when times got hard, but would quickly deny on a sunny day. I had always been a manipulative, jealous, victim, self-hating, unforgiving, and mistrustful person, but I always could avoid these darker qualities by not letting anyone get too close to me and ending friendships or romantic relationships if things got too hard. I knew I was committed to my marriage, so I had to go through the scary process of clearing out all the painful muck that I had been holding on to since I was 8 years old. It was 23 years of fear running the show a majority of the time.
I started my journey (this time in earnest) of healing my history of emotional abuse, a lot of which was self-inflicted. The path has been at times spiritual, at times psychological and at times lacking discipline and direction. There has been overwhelm, worry, tears, lots of anger, pure joy, peace, simplification, boundary setting, growth in the area of self-respect and really looking at how to use my pain and suffering with the purpose of helping others.
Your wounds may be more severe or mild compared to mine, but my way out has the potential to serve and alleviate the suffering in your life. I invite you to this process with me as your guide. You have the opportunity to make your life into a work of art by holding every experience with love, no matter how ugly or difficult. My program comes from my knowledge of artistic process, spiritual teachings and clinical psychology. I cover it all in an organized, realistic, and flexible structure that I hope will provide the experience of a supportive force leading you home. So lets get started!!!
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