Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Antidepressants suppress your truth
Monday January 09, 2006

Hello,

My first name is S……. I am French and 28 years old. Since about one year, I am suffering from anxiety attacks and strong tension headaches. I am accompanied by a psychologist with whom I try to find again the repressed feelings of my childhood. I will try to summarize my childhood and youth.

I was a well-behaved, introvert child, latecomer in a family of six children. Since my earliest years, my mother suffered from depressions. My father was strict and often forced the family to be silent. During the course of his banking career he cared little for us. My mother tried to raise us somehow; we (especially I) were like a crutch for her discontinued career as a fashion designer. I was born five years after my oldest sister and because of the age difference to my older siblings I felt like the only daughter. I followed them around a lot, hoping that they would take care of me—but it was in vain. That is why I was a see-through child. When I was nine years old, I participated for six months in a language exchange program in England. Of course, this was not forced upon me—at least that is what I believed for a long time. Here is an excerpt from the diary, which recapitulates what I experienced:

“What is happening inside of me when I am being asked if I want to travel to England? Right away, I say yes. I have to escape my paralyzing circle of family. I have to please my father. He is so powerful. And I believe that I alone am responsible for the departure. But what do I know about the significance of this decision? I am only nine years old!! I feel torn. I am ripped away from my culture, from the center of my life. There, I don’t receive any care, no respect, no comfort, no one listens to me. I cannot communicate; faced with a horde of appalling boys, treated softly by their parents, I have to remain silent. . . Every evening, the daily tension eases a bit and lets the tears speak. For six months the feeling of being abandoned; covered up bleeding; diarrhea. For six months derision, fear, malaise. At that age, it seems evident to me that I have to accept the situation and may not disappoint my parents. So I hide my feelings as best as possible, and everyone is content. . .”

After my return from England, I developed a certain mutism, which those around me did not notice.

Then came my youth: My mother still is very depressed. Repeated suicide attempts. Together with my powerless father, I am the only witness of the medications, which my mother takes—accompanied by alcohol—during her darkest anguish. I am the one who gives her emotional support, who calls the firemen while I try to control my feelings (by preventing that they clearly come to the surface).

Failed course of studies, then retraining; today I hold the job of a management assistant. I earn a good living, but I did not choose this profession. It is the answer to my parents’ expectations, while the music and dancing, which I practice, lets me vibrate. My guilt. I am working on it.

Meanwhile, I have a headache since seven months; I have the impression of being constantly dizzy; my blood pressure can fall severely. I am taking anti-depressives and twice a week I go to psychotherapy. I love my parents, who worry about me. . . My nightly dreams are essentially scenes where I get furious towards a bunch of people from my environment (I beat my sister, break dishes, set my colleague on fire, etc. . .)

I would like very much to stop taking the medication, but I am scared. Extremely scared that my situation is irreversible. Your book is helping me to believe that this condition is temporary and that I will succeed to become healthy by regaining my feelings, which are repressed because of my childhood.

Any advise from you is welcome to me. Thanks for reading.

S.

AM: You write:

„ Meanwhile, I have a headache since seven months; I have the impression of being constantly dizzy; my blood pressure can fall severely. I am taking anti-depressives and twice a week I go to psychotherapy. I love my parents, who worry about me. . . My nightly dreams are essentially scenes where I get furious towards a bunch of people from my environment (I beat my sister, break dishes, set my colleague on fire, etc. . .)

I would like very much to stop taking the medication, but I am scared. Extremely scared that my situation is irreversible. Your book is helping me to believe that this condition is temporary and that I will succeed to become healthy by regaining my feelings, which are repressed because of my childhood.”

The depression is showing you that you are suppressing your strongest feelings. By taking antidepressants you are also suppressing your truth. You love your parents and at night you feel rage—which fortunately you still can feel. I hope that your therapist can help you understand who deserves your rage and why. When the child, who had to suffer cruelty, feels accompanied by a courageous witness, you will no longer need medications and will be able to feel and understand the origins of your suffering.

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