The Recovery Journey ~ Common Bonds


Recovery Journey, Mental Health These past few years I have realized a commonality between almost all of us who struggle with any or all issues, whether those issues have to do with the causes ~ such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or if they have to do with conditions ~ meaning symptoms or diagnosis such as depression of any kind, dissociative identity disorder, post traumatic stress disorder, bi polar, borderline personality disorder or mild or serious low self esteem. I am not discounting or stressing the importance of any one type of struggle here because I’ve realized this common bond we all seem to share. If you have been reading this blog for a while, you know that I am talking about the belief system that develops in our lives when we have been abused, neglected or devalued. That belief system seems to have something to do with the resulting problems that interfere with the individual having a life filled with joy and freedom.

I started this blog to write about the healing journey and the difficulties with it; a place to talk about our common bond and to stay away from emphasizing the differences or highlighting the diagnosis. I had been diagnosed with a few different things, and the diagnosis was not what helped me to recover. I found a way out of the brokenness that I lived in for so long and want to share my journey because I realized that the road so many of us travel on the journey to freedom is similar. It is noteworthy to mention that we also have a lot of commonality in the places that we get stuck.  I talk a lot about how I got broken in the first place; Other people got to decide what I was worth or not worth, what I could be used for or what I was good for and even what I was good at. 

With sexual and physical abuse, someone took control of my body and did things to me that I did not want done to me and I had no choice, although I was told and even convinced that I did have a choice.  With neglect or with a parent who never noticed or took interest, I learned that I was not valuable, not important enough to be cared for. I was groomed and trained in guilt and shame, convinced that all of this was my fault; I was influenced and I convinced myself that I could do better or try harder and then it would stop.

As I grew older, those childhood beliefs became even more skewed because now I am told that I have a choice about how I view it, and that I should just accept it and get over it or not talk about it because it was a long time ago, and because I still have the deep rooted belief that I was not really loveable due to something I might have done or something that was missing in me and I became even more distressed. I was so sure for so long that it was my fault that I struggled. On top of all that, as an adult there were a lot more voices and influences telling me what was wrong with me, what I was doing wrong and what was in my way. These are the well meaning people, books and leaders that told me I didn’t have enough faith; that I needed to be more grateful, that the past belongs in the past, that I needed to forgive and forget….. Well I’m sure you get the picture. I spent years practicing positive thinking, telling myself that I loved myself, telling myself that “God don’t make junk”; never speaking of the past, never acknowledging depression, resentment or anger. I practiced gratitude, prayed for people that were my enemies, went to extremes with my physical health and joined self help programs. For 8 years I studied Greek and Hebrew word origins so I could study the original meaning of the bible, I confessed all my sins, and practiced accountability. I submitted to my husband, which in my case meant that I gave up my identity and individuality and became a servant to my family. If I had any dreams I gave them up in favor of his dreams. My struggle only increased. I learned to cover my real feelings up. I smiled to the world and dissociated much of the time and I beat myself up whenever I was discouraged or ungrateful. I was unhappy and I felt guilty about it because I could not see past all the things I was told and believed that I brought on myself.

Consequently I never got over it until I really took a good look at all of it.  I took a look at the whole picture. There was no way that I could just get over it or put it behind me, especially with all the mixed up beliefs in there. There was something missing between the events of my childhood and the “getting over it” and “letting it go” part. The bridge was broken and the keys were on the bridge. There was no real acceptance, no real freedom, no real forgiveness and no real life, until I got the bridge repaired and found those keys.  

am grateful every day that I did.

Stay Tuned for part 2 ~ “Mental Health Recovery ~ Ten Necessary Changes

As always I love to have your comments!

Darlene Ouimet

Are you aware my e-book “Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing”? If you find that the subject matter I am writing about resonates with you, this 197 page, downloadable, printable, live linked e-book will put you on the fast track to busting out of the fog and to healing.  Get yours here through the upper right side bar or click this link~ Emerging from Broken The Beginning of Hope for Emotional Healing

36 response to "The Recovery Journey ~ Common Bonds"

  1. By: Celine Posted: 10th November

    Yes, yes, yes and YES!!!! I was told the same thing not too long ago. “You’ve made a pretty happy life for yourself”. That right there made me feel guilty for feeling down and depressed. I had everything, a husband, two beautiful kids, my dogs, a big house so WHY was I feeling so miserable all the time? Why do I feel this void inside constantly. Then my husband cheated on me and reinforces my belief that I am not worth loving, people will always leave me, I’ll never have any friends, etc. after all that I am told to remain STRONG! Helloooo!!! Am I not still here? Doesn’t that tell you something? And what does that mean exactly “stay strong”. I’m expected to think positive even though I can’t get out of my mind the fact that MANY adults in my early life abused their power on me. Parents, teachers, doctors. You name it. They taught me my own self worth, they took away my innocence and didn’t even give me the chance to build myself. They stole my soul like thieves rob banks in the night. They run away, leaving that bank empty. Witness will talk, identify them and they will eventually be prosecuted. WE on the other hand were robbed, no witness, no one to believe the words of a kid. That’s why I chose silence. Now I’m expected to think positive and move on. I hold the key to my freedom. I need to be validated. Again, I was told to stop looking for others to validate me. Instead, I need to validate myself!

    • By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 10th November

      Hi Celine
      I found that a combination of others listening and hearing me was very helpful in learning to validate myself, but I HAD to find the right people to hear me. (and this is a great place for that to happen)
      Thinking positive doesn’t work and the only way that I could even begin to move on was to validate that the abuse happened and validate the damage that was done and see the long term effects that it had on me. Then I was able to move forward to recovery and self validation.
      Hugs, Darlene
      p.s. Just a heads up, your comments keep going into moderation (means they are not approved until I read them) because you have used the URL (web address) for this site in your comment form. If you take it out next time you comment you will be able to bypass being held in moderation. The line for the URL is optional and meant for people who have a website of their own they might want to share.

  2. By: Worth-Waiting-For Posted: 16th May

    Very insightful post. Everything in it – from the development of harmful belief systems to how to escape from those patterns – really resonated with me. Thank you for posting on such important issues that so many people in the mental health care profession fail to understand and address.

  3. By: Darlene Ouimet Posted: 14th February

    PS Betsy
    oops… sorry for the extra welcome message… I know you are not new here… I have been answering a ton of comments today and got mixed up!

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