A Primal Support Group Discussion on Yahoo
On Depression

by Marlene, Anon. and John A. Speyrer
MARLENE; I've had a hard, grim year 2004 for my deep feeling work. I've had a lot of pain related to early babyhood and mother and in later childhood from both my parents. And I had an opposite reaction to yours. I got drawn to soft, nice people and imagined I was one of them too. I fell in love with a most sensitive man five and one-half years ago.

Later, my behaviour got to the direction of being angry and was I triggered constantly. I guess that for 6 months I was just in pain and not being able to see at all what was happening in my husband's life. We got divorced as he left last October. The marital crisis gave me tremendous chance to gain insights about myself. One of the biggest was I didn't want to see myself as an angry woman. I cut off my relationships to those of my friends whom I concidered openly aggressive and hostile. I have to say I tried to "own my anger" unlike many people who don't as they've never heard of issues about owning one's feelings. Anyway, I said no to people and felt uncomfortable with their indirect anger. Now, I see how horrified and uncomfortable people have felt when they were with me.

I've gained one of the most important insights yesterday. When I was 10 to 12 years old my father beat me up badly. Since then I have not lived. I've survived using different coping methods. Taking care of horses and horseriding helped to from feeling my deepening depression. Later, in university, I tried to control my body via aerobics and an extremely healthy diet. As I failed my life collapsed and I got into a self-loathing mode. I got fattter and fatter as I simmered in shame. i didn't know then it was SHAME. But I recognize it now.

ANON: Shame is so hard to deal with. At least I have found it so.

MARLENE: At yesterday's session I regresssed and saw my pubic area as a young girl and the bruise on it, as my thighs were glued to each other and feet crossed. After Dad had beaten me up, I re-acquired the posture of me in shame. I felt like a black corpse.

Now at the age 34 I realize there is nothing at this moment in my life that I know for SURE I genuinely enjoy. Since the divorce I've had the insight how I've hidden my depression. Now, I don't really have any power to avoid it but I have my sessions 3 times a week which probably help me from not really sinking into depression as then I guess I'd feel nothing.

ANON: I am so glad you can have those three sessions. Yes, I agree with you about depression. I can identify with you not being able to primal at all when in that state. Being in pain can be excrutiatingly painful, but one does get relief if you can still cry. When you can no longer feel anything, that is beyond pain and is a hell-like state to be in. I'm sad you are hurting - I am glad you are still feeling.

MARLENE: So, I still manage to meet friends, wash the dishes at least once a week and clean my flat maybe once a month. And when I feel really sinking in to grimness, I paint pictures. Painting proves to me I'm hanging in and not giving up. It was after the last painting I got into feelings related to the picture. In the picture there is a lot of blood underneath a black house. There are black stones leading out of the picture from the house.

ANON: Those pictures do sound so important. I hope you will keep them to share with others. I don't know if you remember, but Kimberly Ann on this group, painted her way into her pain. John has it up on his site. Perhaps he would give us the link.

JOHN: Here it is: Art From the Unconscious

ANON: I have never been able to access pain this way, but I know that Kimberly Ann could use the pictures she produced, to get back to memories she would otherwise never have accessed. What you write about your picture, makes sense, and tells me how deep the pain must have been. I know this is very painful, but I am happy for you, that it is "coming out".

MARLENE: They are my footprints from my childhood home where the blood was shed and leading me to psychologically die and become numb. Also the unresolved abuse by my father might hinder me from really grieving my loss about my husband.

ANON: Are you saying that the two of them are connected? I hear what you say above and it may be right. I am also wondering if the loss of your husband is maybe triggering these childhood memories and taking you to the pain about your father. I say this, because a recent "loss" in my life, threw me into "mommy feelings" that I don't think I would have been able to get to in any other way. So in this way it was a gift to me, though it hurt a lot. I won't share more now, as I am still "in it" (primalled last night and again this afternoon). What I am saying is, that without this pain in the present, i would never have known about the "old pain".

MARLENE: I mean sometimes I sense the loss and cry but maybe for ten seconds. Sometimes more. I guess it's related to the block I still have.

ANON: I understand - sometimes the pain is too big to feel and our bodies go into overload for quite a long time. My experience is that the pain does finally come up though, when we are ready to feel it. I think our defences are there to protect us sometimes.

I would like to share something:

Last night in my baby primals, I would be deep into the feelings, and suddenly I would yawn - which took me totally completely out of the feeling! I would have to back-track and find out where I was before that happened, and then it took a couple of minutes to get back in. I did manage . . . till it happened again . . . and again. . . . This repeated several times, till finally I made the connection, and then suddenly I felt totally clear. I got up off the bed and went and did the thing I was too frightened to do (which had triggered the primal). It was easy to do, and was able to see that my fear was "baby stuff" and had no relevance with what was happening in the present.

I can also identify with you when you speak of crying (editor's note: re-experiencing early repressed pain) for just a few seconds. That has happened to me too. It was very frustrating when it did happen, but it became a kind of "handle into the pain" that I could use later. I hope it will be the same for you, and that you will be able to cry and heal from this huge loss in your life.

I also hope that you will be able to find your way into a really nurturing relationship. I am finding that the pain I still carry, has a tendency to sabotage my relationships, though it feels like they are getting better as I get the pain out of the way. You deserve to be loved and appreciated.

JOHN: I've found that many of things you both wrote resonate with me, especially how sometimes just a second or two of the feeling can begin to open the doorway to greater amounts of pain. I guess that there are defenses surrounding each different trauma and we can sometimes suffer a lot before we begin to feel the material being defended against. Sometimes when we are finally able to connect to the feeling, our defenses only allow us to feel a teaspoon of the repressed pain. But like you say the "handle" which we then have will allow greater access. I remember well how this happened to me when I began feeling death in the birth canal. Actually, the first feeling, exploded out of me since I was using a telephone buddy, but after that, the primals were extremely short (merely seconds, like 5 or 10 seconds for months and months) But. then the teaspoon became a small cup then a ladle and I was then able to do some serious work.

The state of melancholic depression is like you say, ANON, horrendous. I was very fortunate and have never had melancholic depression. Depression, at its worse for me was "agitated depression" but that was uncomfortable enough as my body just could not relax. What I had to do for relief, was to place myself between the mattress and boxspring of my bed. The whole body squeezing pressure of a queen sized mattress relaxed me somewhat.

When I read neurologist Oliver Sack's, An Anthropologist On Mars, I was intrigued by the story of Temple Granger, an autistic woman, who was able to obtain a Ph.D. in spite of her social interaction problems and learning disabilities. She has invented chutes and other devices used in the cattle industry and is a consultant in that industry. What really had intrigued me was her invention of a "squeeze machine" or "hug box" for herself (She also invented one for cattle).

I have an opinion why the full body squeeze has a tranquilizing effect on Temple Granger and on also on me. Read the short story and see two pictures of the machine.

Why do you believe the device works for Dr. Granger and my being between the mattress and boxspring of my bed worked for me?

In any event, what I've read about melancholic depression is that it is one stage deeper and more psychologically and physically painful than agitated depression. I understand that in that state one has no energy for anything - not even getting out of bed in the morning and not even having the energy to commit suicide. In a sense that can be good because there is less of a lure to suicide. I believe that is why sometimes a person who takes an antidepressant may end up as a suicide on his way towards defending against the total depressive feeling. In melancholic depression the lack of energy makes even a small request, which might require a tiny expenditure of energy, seem like a huge imposition.

Activating a melancholically depressed person, I believe, can cause suicide and acts of violence. So, I believe it is possible for an anti-depressive drug, in shifting the depressive's mind towards an agitated state (on his way towards feeling better) can make the depressive become suicidal or violent when these tendencies had been completely defended against and not able to have been acted out before.

Perhaps, this accounts for some lamentable effects of prozac and other anti-depressives. In any event even a drug-free release from melancholic depression would also pass through this same phase of agitated depression which I believe accounts for many suicides. With the large number of patients taking prozac and other SSRI inhibitors, it would be reasonable to assume that some melancholics who have suicided had released feelings of anger and violence which had been defended against during the melancholic phase of their depression.

Many who have studied the matter feel that repressed anger is a common element in depression. Psychiatrist Arnold J. Mandell, writes that this is so in a chapter which he contributed to The Psychobiology of Consciousness. In Chapter 14, Toward a Psychobiology of Transcendence: God in the Brain, he writes, "A neurology of depression apart from fear and rage is difficult to construct." (p.411)

Ivan Pavlov recognized the effects of ever increasing fear in Les sentiments d'emprise and the ultraparadoxical phase. Journal de Physiologie, 2933, 30, 1933). Mandell writes: "The inadvertent gradual near-drowning of the hyperactive type of dogs in Pavlov's laboratory led to permanent changes in their personalities, so dramatic as to be called the "ultraparadoxical response" (p.401).