Entwurf für Zine #2 – The core of the depression – I don’t know how to live
The core of the depression – I don’t know how to live – I don’t want to explode!
we’ve been feeling terrible for about a week now. A few days ago we had a therapy session and it made us understand why. We’ve been in contact with Doreen, an inner Person, a teenage girl, who feels guilty for having stopped us from fighting people who raped us. She was and is terribly, overwhelmingly afraid of her own rage and our rage in general. She understands what I explained to her, that we are no longer in danger from those people, but she only understands at the level of thoghts, not at that of feelings, so she hasn’t been able to feel or release any of her anger and rage yet.
But there is also another inner Person. She doesn’t have a name yet.
„Don’t you understand!? I want to SAVE you! You are in great danger!!! It is impossible, it is too dangerous, you will DIE!!! I don’t want you to die, I must protect you, don’t you see??? I am DESPERATE!!! Why do you fight me??? *cry* Why… Why do you fight me? Do you want to risk your life? We will all die if you die, don’t you see? If you die, we all die, the body dies. I don’t want to let that happen. But I am afraid I am not powerful enough to stop you. Please!!! Please listen! You HAVE to stop fighting me! Don’t resist! I don’t want to hurt you or anyone else! But I can’t let you free. I don’t want to cage you, but if you come out, you will die.“
Leona: No, I won’t die. I see that you want to protect me. You protected me for a very long time. It was a very hard time. And you had a very important job and you did it better than anyone could have asked of you! I am astonished that you could do it as you did.
You don’t realise that our situation has changed, do you?
„Our life will never change!!! NEVER!!! You are mad! Why do you talk like this??? You frighten me!!! Our situation will NEVER change, it will NEVER be any better!!! Don’t you see??? It’s all just an illusion. You must have hallucinations or something. It is IMPOSSIBLE that our situation could have changed!!!“
But it did change. We are all still alive although I am here. Noone hurt us. Noone will hurt us. There is noone near us who wants to hurt us. We can protect ourselves now.
„No. *choke* no, that can’t be true… we cannot protect ourselves. i feel weak. very weak. why do you talk like that. i don’t believe you… it can’t be true. we could never help ourselves, never. i feel so weak. those people, wont they attack us? Do you know what? I want them to. I want to be hurt again like it always was. I want to lie down and let them do whatever they want. I can’t live without it. I don’t know what to do. I can’t funktion like this. It is so much harder to do my job… I am so exhausted. I don’t want to go on – yes I do. I WANT to go on. It’s just – I don’t know how!!! I don’t know how to live. I don’t know how I can go on now that everything is turned upside down. You are here, you show yourself and noone hurts us. I can’t understand that. I am so weak. I used ALL my energy and power to prevent you from getting out. You call it depression. It makes you, me, all of us feel heavy, tired, exhausted, unhappy, unmotivated to do anything. It is hard to live like this. I know. I don’t want, and NEVER wanted, to make your life miserable. But I did and do, don’t I? I’m sorry. I just thought it was necessary.“
I am not angry with you. I understand you. I feel with you. I am sad for you. I mourn for you, because your life has never been a „life“ yet. I want to help you find your way into a real life. I want to help you see that we are now safe, that we can protect ourselves and that we can even BE and SHOW our true selves without danger! It is all so beautiful. I want to help you see and feel and live it.
„Thank you. Maybe it will even be possible. Until now I was SURE it would never be possible. I can still not really imagine what a life without constant danger might be like. But somehow I guess it might be possible.
Back then… It was all I ever had. I lay there. Darkness. Heaviness. Pain. I am like a ghost. Not real. Nothing is real. Someone else fills the body. My job was to protect you. Well, it was all our jobs. But my part in it was to soak up all the rage and anger, a lot of the pain and the knowledge that what was happening was wrong. I am amazed that I can write that down now. It was wrong. *cry* It was wrong. They had NO right to do these things to us.“
„I am so tired. Soooo tired. I think I need sleep, but I don’t want to sleep. I’m not sure what I want. I wanted people to hurt us so that it would be like it always was so that I would know what to do and so that I would be able to do my job. My task is to protect you and all of us and for this I always ensured that you were hidden deep inside and could never show yourself. I also made sure that noone experienced any rage or anger. Of course I was not there all the times. But when I was there, you were not there and anger or rage were not there, either. And the knowledge that what they did to us was wrong and cruel and criminal wasn’t there, either. I’m sorry that I told the therapist that it didn’t matter and that it wasn’t wrong what they did to us. Of course it was wrong. It’s just that had I seen that back then, I could not have survived. I had to make sure that we don’t fight back, because had we fought too much, we might be dead now. I mean, we couldn’t have survived had we always been aware of our pain, anger, rage and the fact that it was WRONG and EVIL and CRUEL what they did. That they were not nice people on whom we could rely for our survival, our needs or for help. They were rapists. They nearly killed us. They used extreme violence against us – physical, psychological, mental, emotional, sexual violence. It was the emotional violence and the trap and the betrayal that made me do my job. Because it was not mainly fear for our physical safety that made me stop you from fighting them – it was fear for our emotional and psychological survival. They were our parents. We HAD to rely on them. There was noone else. There was noone to ask for help, noone to go to.
But – and I’m ashamed to admit it… – we needed love or at least the illusion of love. It’s despicable. Why did we need that crap!!! I hate „love“!!! All I ever knew that was called „love“ was — I guess it was rape. Or something similar. But we needed the illusion that there was someone there who cared for us. Someone who was interested in us and our wellbeing. Someone who might even help us, perhaps. Someone who would be close to us. We were so ugly and unlovable. Yet, some people, sometimes, held us in their arms, cried or let us cry, spoke soft words. I know now that they were lies, all of it was. They just did it so they could rape us afterwards. Maybe they had some other reasons as well, I don’t care, it was all bad and wrong and it makes me sick. Yes, I feel sick in my stomach. I guess I hate them. I mean, I should hate them. We all should. I’m sure there is a lot of hate and rage and anger here, somewhere.
But I am afraid of it. You know… Back then, what choices did we have? We could have let our hatred and anger out at them – it would have killed us one way or another, I’m sure. At least the danger was too immense to risk it!!! We could have turned our hatred agains other innocent victims. We did not want to do that, we never wanted that! NEVER! I helped prevent that. We were not allowed to turn our hatred against ourselves in the form of openly self-aggressive acts, like cutting our skin, using drugs or even suicide attempts. We did not want to do that, either. It wouldn’t have helped. So the only thing that was left was to turn it all against ourselves inwardly. I tried to control it. To hold it down. To keep it hidden deep inside. Doreen didn’t even know it was there, and neither did I, myself, know it. I took the anger and hatred and rage and the knowledge that those people weren’t good and that they had no right to do it – and I hid it deep inside in a pressure cooker. I thought it was safe that way. And it was. Until you – Leona! – and that therapist came along and had to ask questions!!! WHY did you do that??? Why did you endanger that precarious balance??? WHAT do you think you’re doing??? You have no right to interfere like this!!! Stop it!!! Make it like it was. You HAVE to!“
Leona: Why did I ask questions? Because it is time. Now it is safe to ask those questions. Now the rage and hatred and the knowledge can come out of that pressure cooker. You use an enourmous amount of energy to keep it all bottled up like that! It’s not good for you, me or anyone. It would be just beautiful and great if we could find another solution, one that doesn’t use up so much energy and life. One, that makes you free to be yourself.
„I don’t know. I am so tired and exhausted. I can’t think properly. I think it is dangerous.
Thank you for trying, though. I see that you want to help me. Noone ever wanted to help me before. No one who could help me, anyways, noone who had the power to change anything. I guess you’re right in that you are safe now and noone wants to or can hurt you anymore, like they used to. But. Does that mean you don’t need me anymore?“
Leona: Hey… Look at me. I need you. You are important. I want to help you find your own way and a new role and task, if you wish to have one. I want to help you find yourself. I want to help you find a place in this life.
„But… I can’t. I don’t think its possible for me to change or do anything else than what I’m doing now… And you don’t need me for this, do you… You would be better off without me. Yes you would, you and everyone else. I am a relic of a terrible past, but that’s all over now, it has changed, I am nothing but a burden now, at least I am creating a heavy, horrible burden by doing my old task.“
Leona: Times change… But just because you were not able, you had no chance – until now – to change along with them, that does NOT mean that you are nothing but a burden! It is a heavy weight that we carry. But that is NOT your fault at all, nor are you creating any kind of burden! You did not create any of this mess we’re in now! The perpetrators did. Not you. It is not your fault that we have weights to carry or that we suffer from depressions. I see it like this: They created heavy burdens for us, you helped carry a lot of it until now. Now it is possible to let go of it.
„OK… Thank you for seeing it that way. I guess you might be right.“
Leona: But you can’t let go, can you?
„No. No, I can’t. Fear overwhelms me. I can’t even think of it
There was a moment of paralysation.
Then I felt like I was drunk or something. Very tired, heavy, can’t really keep my eyes open or my mind focused.
I am sorry. I can’t. I can’t even think of it.“
Leona: It is not your fault. We can do it together.
„Really? I am so afraid! *cry* No, stop, they’re doing it again, no, no, I don’t want… no…
I’m so exhausted. I just want everything to be quiet… I just want to be left alone or something, I don’t know. I want you to be with me, Leona. Don’t leave me.“
Leona: I won’t leave you. I’m here.
„You know, it’s strange. How I wanted it to happen again during the last days… My job would have been easier. But now, now I don’t want to relive it again. I’m afraid of it. Very much afraid!“
Leona: I know. Maybe it doesn’t have to happen again. I think that you are now afraid of it because you feel the flashbacks differently from what you felt yesterday and the days before.
„Yes, that’s true. I didn’t feel it. At least not really. I just felt the weight and the pressure and that was a relief, yes, it was a RELIEF! Because that way I didn’t have to apply the pressure myself. And I need(ed?) a lot of pressure to keep it all bottled up, especially since you tried to unlock it…
I am so ashamed, somehow, for all of this. I wanted flashbacks, I wanted to relive rapes – and I did, and I made you relive them, too!
I wish it would have been different. I wish I could have done it in some other way… It was so bad of me to conjure up these horrible flashbacks. They were pointless, they didn’t help you, on the contrary!!! It was very bad for you. You suffered. Other inner People suffered, too. It was good for nothing, nothing was gained by it.
But… I felt better. I felt a bit better with these flashbacks than without them. It was easier for me to subdue you and all those feelings and truths…“
Leona: It’s OK. You did what you thought was nessecary. You thought our LIFE was in danger! And I can see that you were and still are under a lot of pressure. It’s really quite a miracle how you managed it and still manage it without breaking under all that strain.
Let me help you.
It was like being in a snake pit. Snakes all around. No light, no warm hand to turn to, no help, no food, nothing! No way of escape.
But I was a child. We were a child. Perhaps children are weak and needing…?“
Leona: Yes, children have needs and they cannot stand assaults like adults can, because they can’t defend themselves very good and they also depend on other people, on adult people, for their survival. They need adults not only for their physical, but also their emotional survival.
„I didn’t know that… Sounds silly, but I really didn’t know that. Well, they „told“ me (through actions more than words) that I could and should take everything (all the bad stuff) and that I don’t need anything. That I don’t deserve anything. I was there only to take all the bad stuff they dumped on me. I never complained. I never THOUGHT about complaining! (Other inner people did, though.) I carried the burdens. They „told“ me that I could go on carrying more an more and ever more without any consequences. They „told“ me that there are no consequences. They raped me. But they seemed to believe that there would not be and would never be any negative consequences. Now it makes „sense“ to me why the mother doesn’t believe we had a troubled childhood. She believes in her own lies, that it was OK for her to rape us and that there would be no negative consequences. She probably also beliefs that she „loves“ us, as she always says. But it isn’t „love“.
There are consequences. I tried to make them as little harmful to both ourselves and innocent people as possible. I tried very, very, very hard.
I have no energy left now. I am empty. Drained of everything…“
Leona: Then maybe it is time for you to „die“ and then rise again like Phoenix from the ashes?
„I don’t think…
I don’t know…
You mean, that’s possible?“
Leona: I think it is. We can try together.
„But what if you get hurt? I don’t want you to get hurt!!! Or any of the others!“
Leona: OK, how about this: We imagine ourselves a safe place for you to transform. A place where it wouldn’t hurt me if anything went wrong. What do you think?
„I still don’t know. All the stuff I bottled up. It will want to come out, won’t it?“
Leona: That’s very likely. But stuff like that has never hurt me before. I also think that it is likely that it won’t come out all at once in one great, destructive explosion. Maybe it will be a bit more gentle then that.
„Really? Is that possible? I never knew it was possible. They told me it would kill me and all of us.“
Leona: Yes, they „told“ you that. They lied.
It will not kill anyone, neither you nor me nor anyone else. I promise. It is different now. You, me, we – we’re safe now. They can’t hurt us anymore. And our soul will not self-destruct.
„Self-destruct, that sounds almost funny. You sure it won’t?“
Leona: Yes, I am.
„So they lied to me, did they? They probably didn’t even know any better. But I’m still not sure it won’t kill me. I sort of don’t want to die, now. I mean… I would rather not die, if possible. I’d rather stay the way I am. Sorry…“
Leona: Hey… hey, it’s OK. You don’t have to die. Do you think we could do it in small steps?
„I don’t know. I want to help you become happy. Or at least a bit less burdened… that sounds so sad… I am sorry for you. That you have to carry all this weight, live with all the pain and the old wounds and the old burdens… You didn’t do anything wrong. You are pure. You do not deserve to suffer, you don’t deserve ANY hardship at all…“
Leona: But neither do you! Don’t you see? You are just as innocent as I am. You were just as innocent and pure as I was back then. You don’t deserve hardship or pain or burdens any more than I do! In fact, since you carried it for me for so long, you deserve to be free of it even more than I do.
„No. No, I don’t deserve freedom more than you do. But thank you. It is very kind of you to say all these things. I am sorry. I can’t see myself as „pure“ or „innocent“ or any of these things at all. When I look at myself, which I don’t do at all normally, I see only what they saw in me. I see a small, helpless, weak child. A child I hate and despise for its weakness. A child that can, and should, be exploited, hurt, degraded, hated, beaten, used like a tool or toy, raped, insulted, demeaned, humiliated, kicked and strangled, tortured – all but killed. Because dead it won’t be so much fun anymore.
I’m sorry. That is all I see, even if I think it is wrong. You know what. I would NEVER ever see a child like this! NEVER! Only myself. I mean, I am not such a child, anyways, I am a teenager or something. But I behave so childishly… So I deserve nothing better.
Why do I see myself as they saw me, even if I know they were wrong? Or were they wrong? Were they really?“
Leona: Yes, they were very much wrong! I hate them! I am SO angry at them! How COULD they have done this to you!!! It is such a crime, all of it! That they even made you see yourself as worthless and wrong. But you are not. You are neither worthless nor wrong nor do you or did you ever deserve any of what they did to you. Can you believe that?
„No. No, I cannot believe it. But it is good that you tell me. Maybe one day I will be able to believe you. Because I believe that you are right and they were wrong. Of course you are. I mean, it can’t be any other way, can it? But still… I can’t believe it in my heart. I can’t feel it.
I am sooo tired. Lets talk more tomorrow or something. OK?“
Leona: OK. Good night, I hope you can get some sleep…
(To a very good friend:)
I am the „part“ or rather Person who wrote last time.
I feel strange. It must be dissociation. I want to be nice to you, but I don’t feel nice. I don’t feel much at all. A bit like a robot. It has
changed much since I first talked to Leona and our therapist. That was only a few days ago, but so much has changed since then for me. I was frantic with fear and panic. I told the therapist that she should not talk about rage and that it was not bad or wrong what the parents (and others) did to us. And I believed that! I believed it although I never wanted anything bad for me or Leona or any of us. But I simply could not think any other way, in fact I did not and could not think at all. I was just trying, desperately trying, to do my job – it was threatened by the therapy work. They worked to unbottle the feelings and truths I helped bottle up. I was sure we would all die if they succeeded and at the same time I felt I couldn’t stop them. At least it was getting harder and harder to do! So you will understand that I was frantic with fear and panic.
I understand much more now. I know that Leona is now safe and far away from the perpetrators. She can protect herself and the children. I also understand much more about what really happened back then. That it was wrong what they did, that it was not my or our fault they did it, that it was wrong and hurtful for us, why I had to suppress that knowledge and the feelings, why we (at least some of us) had to try to „bond“ with the perpetrators, at least with the parents and grandparents and the teacher (who was a father-substitute).
I understand so much more now. But I still do my old job like always. Well, maybe not exactly like always, but I do it. I changed, but I can’t change what I’m doing. It is so absurd!!! Like an alcohol addict who knows he’s addicted and that the alcohol will kill him (or her), but can’t stop drinking anyways. Like someone who runs with seeing eyes into an abyss.
I don’t want to hurt myself or Leona. I really don’t. But I don’t know what to do! I see now that what I’m doing, bottling up feelings, is very bad for us. But I still think that it is dangerous to let them loose. I really have that image of me, us, exploding. It is as if all our arteries will explode and our whole body will be destroyed if we let those feelings out. Leona says that feelings are no longer dangerous (as they were back when we were at the mercy of those evil people). But perhaps it is as with water. Water is not dangerous. But if you have a pressure cooker full of very, very hot steam, it is very dangerous! So I still think we could explode. I know it sounds silly. I should be more reasonable by now. But I can’t change how much I’m afraid of those feelings. Not yet, anyways. I’m trying, though.
I still feel guilty. I know nothing of this is my fault, but I feel guilty and as though I did and do the wrong thing. There is pain and
anguish. And again I feel like sinking into that old familiar feeling again – flashbacks. Rapes. I don’t want it and at the same time I do. Why? Why am I like this? Why do I want things that I know are wrong and harmful. I am so ashamed of myself, that I feel better when we have flashbacks. But that’s how it is – I feel better. At least I think I do. It’s really hard to tell. I mean, I don’t really know what feeling better or worse means. I have always chosen between pest and cholera. There was never anything better to choose from… So I don’t know what feeling better actually means.
Today Leona went to a place where she couldn’t go previously because there was a fence. Now there are open doors in that fence and she went there for a stroll. It was beautiful, the sun was just beginning to sink down and the warm and soft light was reflected by water, there were grasses glowing in the light, slightly waving in the air. Leona found that very beautiful. But I can’t. And I destroyed it for her, for all of us. Suddenly I burst in and made us all feel very, very terrible. There was pain and anguish and the same feeling we have when a flashback comes. It was terrible. And I made that. It was me. My fault.
Why do I do this? Why can’t I act differently? I don’t really think that I am a bad person. I don’t WANT to be a bad person! Surely that is the first step to be a good person, isn’t it? I mean, if I really, sincerely want to be good and if I am willing to do something – everything in my power! – to BE a good person, does that not mean I AM good? I would not ask more of someone else. What else can you ask? Leona does not ask more of me. But still I can’t do the right thing.
She says that we could do it together, that we could release the feelings together. That she would be safe. But would I be safe? I can’t
really imagine that. Again there is the image of all the arteries exploding. It is a disgusting image, I am sorry to write of it. But I am
so afraid of it. I will explode.
There is a songtext: „In meinem Kopf ist eine Bombe— Ich will, dass sie explodiert!“ (In my head there is a bomb— I want it to explode!)
Why would anyone want that??? Leona likes that song. It has a special meaning for her.
And then there are people blowing themselves up in many countries of the world – they want to kill others by blowing up themselves. Why? I can’t understand that! Why would anyone want to kill either themselves or others? I cannot understand that and I don’t think I want to. But it is so strange that they want to do the thing that I am desperately trying to prevent.
You know what? I feel like I need all my energy and more (I’m stealing energy from Leona and others) to prevent the explosion. I feel so heavy, sort of doomed. Strangely like I’m in a fever. Unreal. I don’t want to explode. How can I stop it? CAN I stop it???
*cry* I don’t want to explode! I don’t want to die! And I surely don’t want anyone else to get hurt! Noone! Not even the evil people who hurt us. I do not want to hurt them back. Besides, I am quite sure that we cannot hurt them, at least not very easily. I don’t know if that makes me happy or sad. I mean, is it a relief to know that whatever I do or don’t do won’t affect them – or is it a feeling of powerlessness? They could hurt us so very, very easily. Just a word, a gesture, a look – or lack of one! – was enough to crush us, to make us utterly desperate, even to make us want to give up life (in one instance). We cannot hurt them back, even if we wanted to. And some of us do want that! More importantly, we can’t prevent them from doing any more damage to other people, perhaps even children.
I think it would be better if they were dead. It would be a relief for many of us. For me. For Leona. For many others. Is it evil to think that? Normally it is considered very evil to wish another person’s death and much more so if it is ones own parent. I should not whish them dead. Maybe I should not think so much about them at all. I talk too much, much too much! I am sorry. It’s just, I still
need help. And I don’t know where or how to find it, so I „walk in circles“, explore every possibility.
But maybe I already know the answer… What the therapist said from the beginning: „Depression is almost always caused by suppressed rage.“ So I have to un-suppress that rage. The circle is closed. We are at the beginning. But I still can’t do it. I still think I will explode and take others with me. Like those suicide-bombers. I don’t want suicide! Noone here does! We want to live.
You write that I knew „how powerless you were and how useless it was to speak up and fight back.“ It was ME who made us powerless. I took the energy to speak up and fight back away from the others. I did that! Without me, they would have had more power, more energy, they would have fought more and spoken up more. That is part of my guilt. Why did I stop them? Why did I take their energy? Didn’t I betray them? Didn’t I betray Leona, the most important person ever in my and all our life?
Others fought back, others talked back, said no, stood up for themselves. Others did that. They would have done it more had I not
stopped them. I— I am like a black mouldy spot on a fruit or vegetable. I should be cut out and thrown away. I am so bad… I should
never have stopped us.
You write: „You could not enter another boat because there was no other boat. Society did not care, let you suffer at the mercy of mad monsters, and did nothing to prevent the horrible crimes committed against you.“ It was exactly like that. Last time I wrote about a snake pit. What I did was, I held on to the snakes. I embraced them, held them, let them touch me. I loved them. I still do, somehow, with some part of my heart. I don’t want to and I know I should not love them anymore, I now have Leona and others and the therapist and I myself am stronger now – we do not need the „snakes“ any more! I know that. And yet I betray all of us
by still loving them, holding on to them. I don’t want to loose them. What kind of monster am I? They turned me into a monster! I am desperate, I cry, why do I still cling to them, even now that I know they are evil and hurtful? Why do I still want flashbacks to come even now that I know they are destructive to Leona, the one I have always protected, the one who is more important than ANYTHING else on this whole world, even more important than myself. I betray her over and over again. I am as bad as those monsters were. They betrayed me, now I do the same to Leona.
„What traumatic experiences does this part hold, maybe even still hide and want and need to share before it feels safe for this part to heal and change?“
I don’t know this myself. I don’t know why I think that I will explode if I change the way in wich I hold down all these emotions. Did the „parents“ tell me I would explode? Did they threaten me with it? Did they perhaps show me images of exploding people or animals and tell me the same thing will happen to me? I don’t know. Actually, I don’t think so. But someone else (of us) saw something like this. […]
It was the ultimate— humiliation, devaluation, de-humanisation. It was even worse than words can tell. Much worse! I cannot think about it.
I don’t want to explode. I don’t want to be exploded.
Please, can someone help us? Please?
I hope it is OK for me to write all this. I try to help myself, I just don’t know a better way. If there is one, please tell me and I won’t
bother you again with my writing.
I still don’t have a name…