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Depression Five: The Forgotten Child

Much depression is caused by forgotten and unresolved pain in the past. All of us have within us a forgotten child. That’s the child in your past that experienced stresses that were too difficult to withstand so we simply denied it.  We put it somewhere within us that was manageable and where the pain would be hidden. This hidden and denied pain is the cause of most depression. A loss in the present can trigger depression but the current loss isn’t the original cause of the depression. Although the current loss is painful the pain is exaggerated and extended by the forgotten pain of the past. Here’s an example: When Mike was a child he had very few boundaries. Both his parents tended to focus on work and their social lives. Mike was often left alone and left to his own devices to learn things a child needs support and defined boundaries to learn. So Mike grew up with a chronic feeling of anxiety, a sense of insecurity about his abilities to do the right thing and to take good care of himself. When his wife, Sue, left him he fell into a deep depression. For months he could barely go to work and spent most of his time in front of the television or sleeping. When he finally called me  he was desperate for relief from his depression. In therapy he gradually became aware of this forgotten child. He recognized and expressed the pain of being emotionally and physically abandoned by his parents. Mike came out of his depression and was able to cope with the reality of his broken marriage. He finally found peace of mind. What Mike needed was to heal the pain of his forgotten child. When he did, he was free of depression.

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