I was forty seven years old and taking college courses. I couldn’t keep up with my studies and doubts about my abilities flooded my mind. I was depressed. Maybe the 16 units I was taking were too much. But I could not, and would not, acknowledge that there was something wrong with me.
My father’s words from childhood haunted me, “You are dumb and stupid.” I reasoned that I was not as intelligent as I thought and that maybe I should cancel all other classes. Depressed and resigned, I began to sleep too much, or not at all, for the whole month of January, 1996. I began to think the only place I would be safe from all the mental anguish was in death.
In 1992, right after writing about my childhood abuse, I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I was in a critical stage and in danger of harming myself. My psychiatrist put me on the medication Wellbutrin to control the symptoms. By January, 1996 I was well again, or so I thought. I stopped the medication.
A few months later, after finishing a journalism class, I packed up the written pages of my childhood and started looking for a publisher. Rewriting the subject brought back haunting memories which slowly began to get to me, as did all the “no thank you” rejections from the publishing houses. Slowly, depression overcame me once again.
My life was in danger and I crashed. My psychiatrist quickly put me on another medication, Effexor.
The drug was only a band-aid. I decided I had to find the reason for my recurring disorder. I read books and studied psychology. I rejected most of the theories as just another way to control my mind and life. But I also found strategies that felt right for me. I know now that no disorder is a disease inherited from someone rather it is based on a shocking experience or a series of experiences that we have had to live through. I am convinced today that every depression has a reason hiding in our black box (long term memory). To heal mentally, we must find the reason behind the problems.
That is exactly what I decided to do. I ended up going back to my home town, Harburg, Germany, where I relived my childhood. The memories that I had suppressed from childhood abuse came flooding back. They were worse than I thought. My father beat me regularly with a rubber hose, I had been sexually abused, my three brothers and I were forced to steal for our parents–all memories I had suppressed.
Reliving those experiences, while painful, was the best thing that ever happened to me. By facing my horrifying past connecting the triggers to the past reality of abuse and feeling it later in self-therapy, I emerged stronger, as a human being with self-awareness and consciousness of my life reality. I now look forward to the future, where the trauma of the past, has no longer a debilitating power over me.
This book is the story of my confrontation with the past and with all the memories that subconsciously haunted stifled me as an adult. It is also my story of how I finally obtained release from a lifetime of depression.
If you too have lived through childhood abuse, my book is written for you.