Alice Miller, child abuse and mistreatment

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Depression
Monday May 15, 2006

Dear Alice,
The letter from "R" about the true causes of depression raises many important issues.
Depression IS, as you say, the body’s reaction to as-yet-not-consciously-felt feelings about past (childhood) injuries. The "cure" as the writer alludes to, is to contact and feel the anger, hate, spite,indignation, pain, rage, revenge-fantasies, isolation and terror of our childhood torture chamber.
My body, during my many depressive times, takes me by the had and "walks" me through the memories of his torturous past, with all of the appropriate feelings.
In looking for orientation with all of this, maybe the writer "R" could be directed to a statement that you made about depression that I found to be very useful and correct-that a person is free of depression when his/her self-esteem is based on the authenticity of his/her real feelings, and NOT on all the phoney, moralistic, "right" or "forgiving" feelings that our culture is constantly(even indirectly through the administration of pharmaceuticals) trying to assuage our authentic feelings with.
I know that, even as I write and feel myself to be going through one of my many depressive phases, that it is a reaction to the rapes and beating that I took as a child, and that the coming rage and revenge fantasies related to this, could never, of course be mitigated by any pharmaceutical drug, and because I CAN accompany myself through whatever comes, does not need to be.
I mean, my parents beat and raped me when I was a little boy in their care-how could I NOT feel something strong about this and need to express all the appropriate feelings about it, and of course there would be a strong reaction-like depression-to the repression of this.
s

AM: Yes, you are right. I must only add that if you already know your history, without minimizing the suffering of the little boy you were, with time the depressive phases become less and less frequent; their role is only one of signalization; they want to make you aware of the fact that very intensive, strongly suppressed emotions need to come up and be felt to become conscious. If this is done the depressive state disappears immediately. Everybody can make this experience. However, it is impossible to do this work if your body is misguided by antidepressants. It is a shame that so many people don't have this important information because once they are under this "medication" they are not able to make healthy and enlightening experiences.

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