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After Being Drug Free For The Last Five Years Why Do I Feel So Depressed?

by never looking back
(victoria, Australia)

I used to be addicted to opiates. When I had my daughter I just stopped and have never looked back or even thought about it. She gave me all the reasons I needed to stop. Five years later I'm not thinking of going back to the way I was but do feel like there's something wrong with me.

I'm single and live with just my daughter, am very isolated and have little or no friends or family around me for support. I feel like I'm on my own in the world and don't know what to do with myself. I'm looking for work to keep my self occupied. But it's not enough.

I was in a relationship with a user for a few years that just ended a year ago, and although the relationship was abusive, I miss it a lot. I think I was abused as a child but not really sure if I was or not. My dad used to bash my brother and hit us both with a hose. He called humphrey when we misbehaved.

I remember watching him bash my brothers head into the brick wall and calling him stupid. He always called me a fat lazy slut and all sorts of names, and made us clean, cook and do everything a mother would normally do because my mother abandoned me when I was 10.

My dad and I still talk and he denies that there was any sort of abuse and he was just doing his best. I'm not sure what to think though, maybe I'm affected as a result of my childhood, but don't know what to believe. My dad tells me that he thinks I was abused while still living with my mother and says she's the only one who ever abused me and my brother. What do you think? I'm very confused. I need some help and opinions. Answer

You've done remarkably well to overcome your addiction to opiates all by yourself. It's amazing what having a new focus and purpose can do to help one change, so you should be proud of what you've achieved and that you're trying to be the best possible Mom for your daughter.

You seem to be carrying a lot of emotional wounds from your childhood. Being subjected to that kind of emotional abuse and being abandoned by your mother will mean there are unresolved scars. Don't think you're abnormal. Considering what you've been through, what you're going through now is pretty normal.

Based on what happened may mean you have trust and intimacy issues - hence your struggle to make new friends and form healthy relationships. Your relationship with your ex was in all likelihood largely codependent and probably stems from a combination of low self-esteem and the issues mentioned above ... all largely attributable to the childhood you had.

So the point is not to beat yourself up over what you're going through or think of yourself as abnormal. There are lots of people who experience similar things to you. When a child isn't provided a safe, loving and supportive environment to grow up in - the kinds of symptoms you're experiencing are not unusual.

The best thing for you to do is go for therapy and start to work through those old wounds and unresolved emotional issues that are no doubt playing a large role in your current depression. An appropriately qualified medical practitioner will also be able to prescribe anti-depressant medication if necessary that will help you get through this.

So find a therapist/counsellor that you have a rapport with and trust, so that you can start working through your 'stuff' and begin to heal the wounds of your past. In doing so, the other areas of your life like forming new friendships and healthy relationships will also start taking care of themselves. But it's a process and will take time, so be patient.

Reading books, especially those in the 'self-help' section of your local bookstore or library can also make a huge difference because you learn so much about yourself in doing so. 12-Step groups like NA/AA are also great place to meet like minded-people so why not check that out? Just because you've managed to stay clean for 5 years by yourself doesn't mean its too late to go now. You'll learn a lot and meet some great people.

Hang in there and if you follow the suggestions, your life will improve. It's all about taking baby steps and being patient. You've done remarkably well to do everything by yourself so far. Now its time to reach out and enlist the help of others.

Good Luck

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