Child Abuse Leads to Depression

Not only does abuse as a child lead to depression later in life, it can lead to a form that is  more difficult to treat:


News like this underscores the importance of preventing the abuse in the first place.  I dealt with primarily emotional abuse growing up, with occasional physical abuse (which I distinguish from the physical dicipline common in the 1960s/1970s).    My parents also used physical discipline, particularly when we were younger, in the late 1960s and 1970s.  That was very different than physical abuse.  With physical discipline, my parents, even if they were displeased, didn’t get out of control angry.  Everything was very controlled.  If we were doing something which endangered us or someone else, there was a swift swat on the butt or slap on the wrist and it was explained why, “don’t touch the stove, you’ll burn yourself.”  If it was because we were misbehaving, there was a whole process. We’d be told to stop it and why we should.  If we didn’t stop, it was explained we’d be punished.  Then it would be the countdown.  I’m going to count to 10 and if you don’t stop that, I’m going to hit you.

In contrast, the physical abuse would often come out of nowhwere and be out of rage.  There would be no explanation, no warning.

While I’ve had blue phases, I’ve never been truly depressed.  Anxiety is another story.  I have Generalized and Social Anxiety and at least one therapist has said I likely have some form of PTSD.    I sometimes get Panic Attacks.  They’re not so bad when I get them during the day because I’ve had enough of them to recognize what’s going on and I can “talk” myself “down” from them and prevent them from fully escalating.   But the worst is when they’re at night when I’m sleeping.  Since I’m sleeping, I don’t have any awareness of it until I wake up in a state of panic and alarm.   By that time, they’ve escalated beyond the point where I have any control, I just have to go through them.   It’s sort of like having an inner car alarm.  My heart pounds, I feel like I’m going to jump out my skin, I sweat profusely and I just feel awful, like something very bad is going to happen.  If I get one at night, I usually can forget about sleep for the rest of the night, even after I calm down from it   I have bad insomnia too. 

I took Paxil about a decade ago for anxiety, but it led to weight gain and other unpleasant side effects.  So I’d rather not go down that route again.  The anxiety got particularly bad from about November 2010-May 2011.  The insomnia increased to where I wasn’t getting good sleep.  After trying all the warm bath, soothing sounds, etc. stuff, I did finally get a prescription for Ambien.  I took it for about 3 weeks and it helped greatly.  Now I take it once or twice a week as needed. 

Still trying to figure out what to do with the other panic/anxiety issues.  My therapist thinks Xanax or something as needed may be a good idea, but the psychiatrist I consulted isn’t too enthusiastic about it.    I know I ran into a lot more resistance getting something to help me sleep than I did with being prescribed a SSRI.  But I had a much easier time tapering off Ambien than Paxil.  While I think it’s important to be careful with controlled substances and patients should be monitored while using them, I do wonder if the reluctance to prescribe certain classes of drugs is hurting patients in trying to manage conditions like anxiety.

One thought on “Child Abuse Leads to Depression

  1. Lately I’ve had good results from using an iPhone app that coaches me in diaphragmatic breathing. There are lots of different ones out there for various phones. The one I use is called Breath Pacer.

    Theoretically I could do deep breathing without an app, but somehow having one supports me in actually doing it regularly. Deep breathing only works if you do it more or less daily.

    In the longer term, both in my own recovery and that of others I’ve seen that working on boundaries and self-commitment helps a lot. The more appropriate my boundaries are and the more I demonstrate to myself that I care about me, the safer I feel, and the less free-floating anxiety and tenseness I experience.

    Hope you figure out ways of dealing with and reducing anxiety that work for you!

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