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Home arrow Psychology arrow Subjective Darkness: Depression as a Loss of Connection, Narrative, Meaning, and the Capacity for Self-Representation

Eight Judy

Judy is a 50-year-old Caucasian woman who was bom and raised in the United States and has suffered from depression for most of her life. She said that while growing up she often felt like an outsider, even within her own family unit. There were many instances when she was excluded from being informed about major family events, so her childhood carried with it an air of secrecy. Substance abuse seemed almost a rite of passage. Judy began drinking at the age of four and became addicted to painkillers—provided by her mother for menstruation pain—in her teenage years. In addition, Judy experienced many major losses throughout her life, including strained relationships with her family and the deaths of her father, mother, and husband in early adulthood. All of these contributed to her lifelong struggle with depression. But perhaps the most significant loss occurred before all of that: Judy lost— or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that she never had the opportunity to develop—a sense of safety and nurturance in her early childhood. It is likely this very absence that set her up for many of the difficulties that she would later face. Judy decided to share her story because of her belief that it is her duty to inform people about what the experience of having depression is really like on a personal level, as opposed to the ways in which it is commonly conveyed by the media, through stereotypes that contribute to stigma, and through strictly medical, biological terms.

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