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  1. No it isn't easy. Looking inward can seem to make it worse but actually is an important step in the healing process. My healing really only began once I stopped running and really looked at my inner dialogue for what it was. I finally let it be what it was regardless if they were thoughts I should or shouldn't have. I was running like mad from the ones I thought I shouldn't have thinking that would keep me safe or that meant I was fine when really my internal emotional life was a total mess. But the honesty was important so i could finally say to myself that this is what I need to deal with once and for all. It's a bit confusing at times and I felt myself going in circles trying to sort it all out but eventually things start to become clear. Just try to be gentle with yourself if you find you are beating yourself up with your inner dialogue. We really can be pretty brutal on ourselves in ways we would never be with others. Most of us in a lot of ways could stand to learn to give ourselves more of a break. We really are doing the best we can. Take care.
  2. That was extremely brave of you. Congrats!
  3. My depression is rooted in shame. In a belief that who I am is bad based on early programing from my father who criticized not only my mistakes but also the things I did well which led to the belief that everything I did would be flawed and all my attempts would be failures. Without a sense of pride I slipped into self rejection and identifying with my mistakes believing I myself was a mistake. It took a lot of time to uncover this and in a lot of ways I no longer see my depression as the problem. I thought my depression was a flaw in my character when the reality is the depression was trying to protect me from getting hurt. If I hide out then I can't go out and make mistakes, get judged and turn on myself as a consequence. If I turn on myself first than the judgment and criticism that comes at me won't hurt as bad because I will already be on the floor. So my depression wasn't the problem. Believing I was bad, a mistake and unfixable was the problem. I'm now working on a new self image and a new way to relate to myself grounded in acceptance as opposed to rejection. It is hard to break old habits but things are getting better and I now believe recovery is possible.
  4. You are very welcome and thanks for the kind words. I will say I was absolutely stunned and yet not at all surprised by the things I uncovered during with my dream work. Our dreams really are a window to our inner thoughts and emotions. I sometimes wish they weren't so cryptic but with practice the symbolism starts to stand out. Just allow yourself the time and space to process it all and soon things will be clearer for you. Hugs.
  5. I didn’t address the dreams part of the elephant dream. That was interesting. You in the dream is likely your true self while the elephant is the heavy burden you are carrying that is causing you to lose your sense of self. The true you still looks to the sky for your hopes and dreams. Dreams big and open while the depressed you only sees colors (emotions), numbers (analytical side), and letters (words people say). Losing sight of dreaming big may be partly what is keeping you depressed. One other thing I will mention just because it came to mind when reading your dream is there is a Buddhist analogy about who we are. It states that who we are is the Sun, shining bright and strong for all eternity. But sometimes the sun can get blocked by some very dark storm clouds. Those clouds can seem to last forever and never break but the truth of the matter is, regardless how thick or stormy the clouds are who we are is still shining brightly and strong behind the clouds. The clouds represent our clouded thinking. We need not change who we are. We are already perfect. We just need to clear out the thinking that blocks us from seeing the truth of who we truly are. So just because some men rained on your ability to feel loved that doesn’t mean the skies can’t clear reveling your true beauty. You just have to be open to it and know there isn’t a thing you need to change about yourself because you truly are perfect just as you are regardless if there are a few clouded ideas about men lingering around.
  6. I don't think anyone on this site can really diagnose you but I will say that guilt and self blame are sure fire ways to wind up depressed. Taking responsibility for how others feel can stem from feeling like we are doing something wrong. That in and of itself may not lead to depression but it can if we start to believe who we are is wrong or that nothing we ever do will be right. I found a really good distinction between shame and guilt. Guilt is when we feel bad about something we did where shame is feeling bad about who we are. Shame can be good in the sense it can help us maintain our value system and avoid crossing it but when it turns into toxic shame is when we believe who we are is bad, wrong flawed. When we start to identify with our mistakes, failings, or limitations is when our shame can turn destructive and lead to depression. In any event, you sound a lot like me. I have had a lot of self blame, self consciousness and worry about hurting others. I was hypervigilant about my every move trying to never slip up and the mere idea that I may have hurt someone, even inadvertently, would cause me to beat myself up. I had a father that was critical of everything I did. But he wasn't just critical of the things I did wrong, which is fairly normal, but also of the things I did well and he always criticized in an angry tone so I did everything in my power to try and not make mistakes but no matter what I did there would be something wrong with it in some way so my whole self image was based on the idea that no matter what I did I would fail and have done it wrong. Needless to say that is why I always felt guilty about how other people felt because I just assumed I did something wrong to make them feel bad even if I wasn't involved in anyway with their situation. So take some time to ask yourself why you feel guilty and what is that guilt saying about you? Regardless if there is depression, it may serve you well to confront your feelings of guilt because they could be hiding a deeper self image issue that could lead to full on depression if not confronted. There is no such thing as a perfect person but there is also no such thing as a perfectly flawed person either. All of us have strengths and weaknesses but we each have value in our own way. A healthy self image is rooted in having realistic expectations of the fact that we will make mistakes but knowing that those mistakes do not define us as a person. I am glad you found this place and are talking it out. Take care.
  7. I have a similar pattern. When I am out and about with others I can feel almost perfectly fine but when alone my head starts to ruminate. We obviously can't be out with others all the time so it is partly a matter of forming new habits when we are alone. I can't say for sure but rather suspect that those who are like us tend to have some false ideas about who we are. Our depression is rooted in negative views about ourselves or our ability to move through the world in some fashion. It is important to listen to what the rumination is saying. Hearing our inner dialogue and getting curious about why it is saying what it is saying is the best way to get to the root of our depression. But once we have taken notice and allowed the thoughts to have a voice it becomes more beneficial to find ways to redirect our thoughts away from rumination. We can counter the defeating thoughts with more life affirming thoughts. Very often depressed people fall into the trap of unrealistic pessimism. We often hear about unrealistic optimism but not much about it's opposite. When we have unrealistic pessimism we think in black and all or all or nothing thinking. If we aren't perfect or doing things perfectly or reaching some arbitrary ideal then we completely lack worth which is far from the truth. But we have to take the time to root out these false beliefs and ideas and change them out for more compassionate understanding beliefs and ideas. Challenging the false beliefs can help but if our brain is simply too dead set on putting us and our world down then simply refusing to engage it may be the best we can do at the time. and on those moments finding things to distract ourselves can be helpful like listening to good music, reading a book, watching a funny movie or working on a hobby. The point of it is to start to notice our inner dialogue and shifting feelings so we can head them off at the pass and redirect them so they don't take over our whole being. It's called mindfulness and it does work but it takes time because our brains our creatures of habit and become use to responding in specific ways regardless if it is positive or negative. But we can also retrain our brain to respond in more life affirming ways, it just take time and practice and getting at the hurt to heal it. So good for you that you are noticing. That really is a huge first step. Now it is a matter of learning a bit more about yourself based on what you are noticing and then finding new ways to look at yourself. Take care.
  8. Hi EJC, Our car represents our body and how we move about the world. It is basically us. The fact it needed repairs means there is some hurt you are working on. The fact you were at the mechanics means you are making progress working on it even if you can’t see the repairs going on. A model represents some ideal image we think we are supposed to aspire to. Men are our active side so it could mean that you are learning to let go and laugh at the world’s expectations put upon people or you are putting down the ideal as a way to not feel bad about not reaching the expectations you think you are supposed to reach. It all depends on if the posing was silly fun or mocking fun. Your attitude in the moment is your attitude towards some ideal perfection that is really quite frankly unattainable but something that we are all fed growing up. It could also possibly represent some ideal man you were told you were supposed to go out and find. Your Soul mate so to speak and he isn’t showing up or he shows up and disappears but it is really just a fantasy. Prince charming really doesn’t exist in the classic sense. There is no perfect man out there. All of us are human with faults and problems. In any event try to gauge whether or not there was animosity in the teasing. If there was then there may be some hurt feelings still there about not reaching some goal or about not finding your prince. If it was light hearted fun and you really were just being silly then it would likely mean that you are getting past outrageous out of reach expectations which doesn’t mean we have to give up on our goals just on putting too much pressure on ourselves to be perfect. Perfectionism is a slippery slope that can often lead to depression. We become perfectionist when we find ourselves trying to meet someone else’s ideal of what we should be. A warehouse is where we store stuff. It contains the things we may be working on or stored for safe keeping for later. In this instance there was a circus performing elephant. I agree the elephant is you. You perform in some way to please the crowds but it doesn’t make you happy. It doesn’t truly bring happiness because you are living for others and not for yourself. And just because we jump through hoops for others it doesn’t guarantee that we will get the same in return. And so you may have found disappointment in life and based on the male model, in relationships and have shut yourself off a bit from finding true love. The elephant as well could represent the heavy burden of depression. Oddly enough, I discovered that my depression wasn’t so much a character flaw as I had believed but really served the purpose to keep me safe. If I hide from the world it can't hurt me. It is possible your depression is keeping you locked up and hiding to protect yourself from getting hurt by others specifically the men in your life. By some ideal soul mate that you can’t seem to find which may make you feel undeserving of love when really it is just some false fantasy that little girls buy into growing up. In any event it seems as though you may be working towards letting go of pretenses to please others and hiding from the world to keep from getting hurt. Interestingly enough without having read the second dream it seems to support the relationship angle. Dogs are our best friends so the best part of us that has our back and wants only happiness for us. Your ex who cheated and left you for another woman robbed you of your best friend side. The ability to feel good about yourself and feel loveable. Your impression now is that your ability to have a good relationship is over. You will never have kids yet there is still a good 10-15 years for you to have them. Every relationship is different. Just because one guy left you doesn’t mean the next one will but we do have to leave ourselves open to it. It sounds a bit as if you have closed some doors to your heart because of the hurt. You should not have to perform in any particular way to attract your soul mate. You are deserving of a soul mate relationship just the way you are and they could literally walk into your life at any moment. That said, it sounds like you have some hurt to work through and some beliefs to process about your worth and who you are in a relationship. With a family history of mental health issues it very well muddies the waters a bit for you but try to not decided being alone is definite. Leave that part alone for now and work on your hurt and any preconceived ideas you have about what a perfect relationship is and who you are supposed to be and your circus performing self may be able to retire with another elephant perfectly suited for you. Take care.
  9. I know what you mean. My emotions can run away with me as well and it can be hard to not stop the train sometimes. I have found Mindfulness to be pretty helpful. I can't always stop beating myself up with my thoughts and emotions but it is slowly helping me turn things around. Unfortunately a lifetime of thinking and responding to the world doesn't turn around overnight so just keep at it and working with your counselor. You are making progress even if it doesn't seem like you are. Take care.
  10. Even if I only remember a small bit I look at it as the important bit so I still take it for what it is. The owl is synonymous to wisdom, magic and insight. So I think that the dream could be indicating that the truth and wisdom is looking you right in the face but you are letting it pass right by you. Sometimes we have to hear things a lot of times before we believe it and take it on board. This is especially true for people with low self image issues especially surrounded by feeling like a failure in life. Yes, you have what seem like failures but they do not define you. All failure is, is a chance to see what not to do next time. All of us make failures but none of us is a total failure. There is a thing a lot of people who are depressed to and that is cognitive distortions. One of my go two ones was black and white or all or nothing thinking. If I wasn't an absolute perfect success that means I am an absolute failure. The truth is I am neither. I can't be perfect all of the time but I also don't fail all of the time either. But only focusing on our failures is a sure fire way to loss faith in ourselves. So take some time to try and give yourself some credit for the things you do, do well. Make a list of your positive traits so that you can start to see your potential and not just the things that failed. That is the wisdom of the owl. Once you do the failure dreams will stop. Take care.
  11. I walk up to a building that at first appears to be a Catholic Church or something similar, how I got there is have no idea. I walk to my right arm now it's an old school elementary school, the type in attended: many rooms in straight line with large windows on both sides. I hear women's voices and low music, I try to peak in but the windows are either dirty or foggy, not sure; I find a small clearing on the glass and I spot two women and a female child around 10; all three are dress very elegantly in Spanish clothing from the 1800s, very colorful and full length. I know there's more people and activity but I can't see them. It's the grandmother, mother and daughter. They are discussing something that at first I can't make out but I then realize that all the men are miners and there has been a serious accident, they don't know who has died; these women are leaders in the community and they all live in these buildings. The mother is telling her daughter to move away from the conversation. Suddenly up in the corner there's an old school radio where news of the mine accident is blaring but there's no electricity yet only candle power. Then suddenly the scene starts playing over and over like an old fashioned movie reel. Then I realize that they  are caught in a time warp, this actually happened many years back but they are reliving it over and over. I've always wondered about this dream, it'll suddenly pop into my thoughts. I get the sense that I'm to help them but of course I don't know how. Any help will be greatly appreciated. Txs. 

    1. Show previous comments  7 more
    2. vega57


      She went into menopause when I was born and I was told that it changed her completely; I never saw the happy go lucky person that my older siblings talked about. Sadly for me and her she physically took out her anger and frustration on me. I am telling you something that I've never repeated evento my wife much less my children and grandchildren: she would whip me with electricalcords severely and with what ever else was handy until I was old enough to defend myself.  I blamed my older siblings, I am the youngest for not defending and leaving me, they all would leave when old enough. This is one of the main reasons I don't look into my childhood very much. I lived a very distructive live for many years to the point of facingredients death many times both in civilian and military life. I realize it sounds crazy but I loved my mother, I learned to forgive her and make peace with her and with what she did. In the last years of her life my wife and I took care of her. She died in my arms and I miss her. Anyway enough. I face life and depression head on and the best I can. Despite all adversity I think I turned out ok: I have empathy and sympathy for all humanity and I always look for the best in them. I shower my children and grandchildren with love and affection, something I never experienced until I met my precious wife, had children and now grandkids. Thank you so much M38 you really have helped me. 

    3. Michelle38


      Oh Vega, I am so sorry that happened to you.  Thank you for trusting me enough to share it.  It really is important to get it out and processed.  I can understand how hard growing up must have been.  My father was critical of everything I did and he seemed angry all the time and it really did a number on me as a child so I can imagine how immensely more difficult it was for you.  Not understanding why and her being different with you than with the other siblings can really do a number on our psyche.  Why you a child would naturally think.  I do know that a woman's hormones do change around menopause.  I had a life stressor and then slipped into starting the change at the same time my severe depression hit so I know part of my issue was the hormone changes but that still doesn't give her an excuse.  I am glad you forgave her mostly for you so that you don't let anger towards her fester inside you but it is very likely that how she treated you affected how you feel about yourself and that isn't your fault.  We are simply too young and unable to know what is what during those formative years so it is not surprising you struggle with depression. And it is ok that you still loved her.  Unfortunately when we repress our sadness and grief it can come out in the most unfortunate ways.  Your mother took hers out on you but it isn't because you deserved it.  It is really important that you know that.  It is important to separate what happened to you from who you are.  Your worth is beyond measure even if your mother or siblings couldn't show it to you.  I am glad you have a good relationship with your family.  It is now time to show yourself the kind of love and affection you show them.  Your soul is indeed kind.  Remember that when the sadness strikes.  Take care.  I am always around if you ever want to talk.  

    4. vega57


      Thank you so much for helping me. Even at this stage of my life it's hard for me to have self worth but the one thing I learned is to not pass it on to my children; I wish and want to tell you that I always succeeded at this but I'd be lying. I made many mistakes raising my children but the most important thing is that they were always safe from physical, mental and verbal abuse and they have always knownhow much I love them and my wife also. I know I'll struggle with this till I take my last breath but it no longer consumes me though it does pop up here and there. My children love me so much, much more than I deserve, so do my grandkids and wife and I love them without measure. Thank you again very, very much and thank for offering to be here and I reciprocate the offer. 

  12. Emotions I am discovering that a lot of my depression is rooted in toxic shame and fear of emotions. Emotions can be difficult and painful and quite overwhelming when you have depression it is all you can do to get away from them. Emotions, in an of themselves, however, are not so much the problem but rather how we respond to them that causes us trouble. It can be hard to see this initially though. I spent most of my life running from some darkness that was haunting me. A dark feeling so intense it felt like death. And so I spent most of my life trying to avoid it by denying it existed and I did Ok. There were signs like random out of the blue urges to suicide, a dead spot somewhere inside me that was my constant companion and some reckless behavior that should have clued me in but I didn’t want to see it until I reached the point where the emotions started to spill out uncontrollably. I spent two years in full on emotional meltdown and another couple of years pretty out of control but to my surprise I survived and learned that it wasn’t so much the emotions that harm but what we do in response to the emotions that put us in jeopardy. I had a dream early on during my severe depression phase that was quite upsetting. Water in dreams symbolizes emotions. I dreamed I was standing on a crane in the middle of an ocean and I jumped making a statement requesting help for my boyfriend to understand. At the time I was pretty shaken up by the dream but I do a lot of dream work and knew logically it was symbolic in the sense that there would never be a single crane standing in the middle of an ocean for me to jump off so I tried to reflect on what the dream was trying to say and realized that the dream was saying that the act of jumping into water (emotions) felt like I was jumping to my death. For those of us who have spent a lifetime with strong overwhelming emotions that we desperately try to run from it does indeed feel like the emotions themselves will do us in but the truth is it isn’t the emotions but how we respond to the emotions that is the danger. Emotions in and of themselves are simply our tool for regulating our life. They are like a guidance system there to show us where there is harmony or discord in our life. They can be strong and they can hurt but if we have impulse control and can regulate our physical responses then the emotions can be used to help us navigate our life as opposed to fear it. I see now that emotions and physical restraint are not one in the same. I just assumed that if I got angry or severely distressed that meant I was a danger to myself or others. I don’t know that any of us can completely know how we are going to react in any given moment but what I realized is that having emotions doesn’t necessarily mean I will or have to respond physically and that helped me to liberate myself from my fear of my emotions. I am now becoming empowered, mostly through mindfulness, to learn how to navigate my emotions and use them as a guide as opposed to a way to define my lack of worth or inherent badness because I had them. That doesn’t mean if a person is struggling with physical restraint they are bad, it simply means they may have one more task to tackle in gaining better life coping tools than just learning how to manage emotions but also need to learn how to refrain from getting physical as well. In the end our reactions and behavior do not need define us. For a long time I thought that having anger and depression meant I was a bad flawed person. But at any given point in time I can stop being angry or stop doing whatever I am doing that goes against my values or well being. I realize now I never had the tools to do so growing up. My parents were never taught good coping skills so how could they even know to teach me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t learn them now which means I am not my emotions or behaviors. I don’t know what I am exactly but I am learning that emotions and depression are not who I am but merely what I am experiencing.
  13. I'm pretty good at dream interpretation. I find them invaluable at helping me sort out my subconscious thoughts. I try to work with mine daily. They can be difficult and outright upsetting and distressing but I still find them full of insight. If anyone has a dream that they want insight on you can post it or pm me and I can give it my impressions. I can't make any promises to know exactly what it means but I can give it a try if you are interested. Everyone is welcome to participate adding their insights as well.
  14. Bridges mean transition. You are trying to change but you are trying to do it without getting into your emotions. You have walls up against them because if they came down and you fell into them it would feel like death to you. This is fairly common for sensitive people and people who have suppressed and denied their emotions their whole life. The more we suppress them the bigger they get to the point of overwhelm. If you have a therapist maybe disucss how you can open up to your emotions in a safe environment. Maybe gain some tools or tricks you can use to manage them when they want to come spilling out. Mindfulness is a pretty good tool. You might want to check into it. Take care.
  15. That is a bit of a different more difficult animal than simple nightmares. I would assume you are working with a therapist who specializes in ptsd and checked into the different types of therapy? Just keep looking for ways to resolve it and how it has defined you and hopefully the dreams will lessen. Keep reminding yourself that it is the past and it can't really hurt you anymore beyond emotional duress. I don't have ptsd myself so I really don't have an experience to offer but sending you strength to get through this. You are not what happened to you. It happened to you not because of you. What happened was wrong but it doesn't diminish your value. Remind yourself that daily. Hugs.
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