III When “Feeling-Good-About-Self” as an addictive motivation is blocked
This is part 3/5 and a continuation of the blog post “Why Some People Never Get Depressed,” a comment on e online BBC News Magazine of 1/31/2012 in which Geoff Watts asks: “Why do some people never get depressed?” The last sentence of part two was
… As a compensation the child experiences a natural urge to try to repair that missed opportunity that would have develop into our inner home of “me.”
For a human being a structure is needed that replaces this lacking sense of self. This Substitute Sense of Self is “earned” by behaving in certain ways. The positive feelings that this earned behavior generates, if things go well, fills the need only for a real short time and needs to be repeated ad infinitum as without it a kind of existential terror is experienced. That sensation of fear is rooted in a fear of annihilation (being without a self). The avoidance of that sensation is what motivates to try to establish the Substitute Sense of Self. In reality that Substitute Sense of Self comes down to ‘feeling-good-about-self’ due to having realized certain conditions. (Ego-References)
It feels like a matter of life or death. Since the parent will not change, the repair is never going to take place, but the person keeps trying, even once grown to be an adult as over time she totally identifies with her quest.
Here is where Depression comes in! Sometimes circumstances in life stymie what has become their holy quest (and a matter of life and death); it can’t be pursued. Since avoiding the fear of annihilation is the only goal that counts for the person, the person’s motivation for living deflates. This stymie can come from changes in life conditions, from life events, from actions of others, from health issues of self or others — or, most unfortunately — even from the decision to just stop the quest, as part of a healing plan.
The example below is taken from my own life. My life’s “quest” was to become a good musician. Not just a musician but a good one. I had a friend who played violin like an angel, and she wasn’t even a professional musician. My mother adored her because of her skill. I wanted to be her! I wanted to be in her shoes and be adored by my mother. I wanted to get my mother’s approval and recognition and I used as a vehicle my musicianship.
So I worked hard, very hard and I got the orchestra jobs, a few in a row. Then my daughter announced her arrival and it was over. I couldn’t spend all my time on practicing and working to be that wonderful musician anymore. Of course it wasn’t my daughter’s fault; I am ever so grateful that I have her and her sister in my life. (Let there be no doubt about that, my dear girls!) But the truth is that my quest to get my mother’s attention by being the best musician and the fact that I depended on doing so for my self-experience (!) turned into impossibility. When this fact sank into my subconscious it hit this most crucial drive on a deep emotional level, causing the sudden onset of the insomnia, a symptom of depression.
In the conciseness of this article I have to suffice with stating that anxiety to not be able to ‘earn myself the Substitute Sense of Self’ is the direct cause of the sleeplessness. You can read more about this in the body of the method itself. But I hope you have gained some insight into what went on with me that led to my depression.
Please continue reading on my next Blog post that will be published on Feb. 23, 2012