After being defeated by powerful vested interests in a cause that was just, I am now depressed and directionless - help me recover.
The questioner's philosophy
A Course in Miracles and Gary Renard's books, Disappearance of the Universe and Breaking the Life/Death Cycle provide guidance in my life.
The questioner's hopes and aspirations
That is my problem. I seem to have lost the ability to dream and plan. I was always goal driven and successful at achieving what I set out to do. I seem to have lost my way and have not been able to get back on a path that has meaning to me.
Now 61, I was 'retired' at age 46 for being a whistle-blower in the hospital industry, followed by 12 years of frustrating litigation intended to regain for taxpayers, Medicare funds of which it was defrauded. The flaws of the healthcare industry and legal system became painfully clear to me during this time.
I changed positions several times during my career as a hospital CEO, rather than continue to be pressured by VPs to do things that were illegal/unethical to improve the bottom line. Pressures were despite stellar results in my hospitals' performances after I took their helms. After the third such experience, I moved to the not-for-profit segment of the industry in hope it would not be so inappropriately driven, since it did not have taxes or investors to pay. Boy was I wrong. I encountered huge, long-standing Medicare fraud there, at which time I (foolishly) decided that perhaps I was being 'called upon' to do something other than keep my own hands clean in a dirty industry. At that point, I became a whistle-blower, which changed my life forever. Aside from being afraid I could not support myself, I was not able to find a career direction that made any sense. Having always been a high achiever, I became profoundly depressed when I could not get myself re-situated!
This further frustrated me in that I have become committed to natural healing in recent years, with great success except for depression. I can get off the antidepressants but after some months, (up to 8), I crash, without obvious explanation... and so the cycle begins again.
Life has been less stressful since I stopped trying to re-situate then. I keep myself busy but without direction or goals. Volunteering has not provided me with satisfaction. Is my career trauma responsible for this or is there something else to explain my sense of ennui? I have tried many avenues in search of satisfaction or meaning without the hoped for results. Any suggestions would be much appreciated.
Depression of the kind you describe is caused by self-hatred or, to use another description, by anger turned in on yourself. You are still an angry woman - angry that you lost your career, angry that "the system" - Medicare, the Justice Department or whatever - let you down, angry at not being listened to, angry at not being accepted for a new job or new career, angry that your talents and contribution were not appreciated, angry at the injustice of it all - after all, weren't you doing the "right thing." You are angry because you did not get the results from your actions you expected, you feel betrayed and let down and most corrosive of all, you turned all this anger in on yourself, by blaming yourself for embarking on this path. What can you learn from this experience?
It is vitally important that in life we do our duty as it presents itself to us. Sometimes our conscience (which is an aspect of inner guidance) will prompt us to confront powerful vested interests and in this confrontation sometimes we may be defeated. Being defeated is not important. The aim is not to "win," the aim is to act with integrity, since without integrity we have no freedom. Therefore, the aim is to grow! So what are the lessons here? As I see it, here is your learning from your experiences...
You need to learn to:
You believe this was an issue between you and "them" - but was it? What if there were no "others". What if everything worked out perfectly, but you just can't see this at the moment. What if it was never between you and "them" - what if it was between you and someone or something else? What if that someone or something lies within your anger, were you to have the courage to own it - to embrace it - and in embracing it to go beyond it, to transcend it and in transcending it be able to forgive yourself, heal your depression and find a renewed sense of purpose. On whom or what would you be dependent then?
- Forgive yourself (seen from the higher perspective of personal development there are no such things as mistakes)
- Act without any attachment to attaining a particular result
- Have compassion and understanding for your opponent
- Accept defeat gracefully
- Have a different understanding of what the word "goal" means
- Become even more dependent on inner guidance than you already are
In life we must first taste the unreal defeat to find the real victory.
Further Help and Resources
My reply has perhaps created for you more questions than answers. To address these questions I refer you to my book, Unfold Your Wings and Watch Life Take Off. The book is about my own experience of defeat, suffering, depression and loss. In its pages you will find these transformed into inspiration, realization, passion, healing and enlightenment and you will have all the help you need to heal your depression and your life.
To the reader:
We welcome your perspective on this important question. Email us your personal experiences, views and advice—your comments will then be added below...
Jenna Celestine, June 2009, writes:
This question is the one that best sums up my situation and feelings at the moment, so I read this answer with interest. Thank you for this, somewhere along the way I had forgotten my original intention was not 'to win', but to do what I felt was 'right'. Unfortunately I have become caught up in the outcome due to my own competitive nature and the vested interests of other people. Reading this answer has helped me to remember that for me, it was never about a particular outcome, but about regaining my integrity, strength and ability to make my own decisions again.
I am caught up in a bitter property settlement case through the Family Court after the end of a 13 year emotionally abusive marriage. This has been going on for 3 years now. For my ex-husband, it was always about control, never about love. It took me a long time to realize that we had different agendas.
For him, it is still about control, he will not give up the last little bit of control that he still has over my life. I am trying to move on with my life, but I'm realizing that even though I have taken back a form of control of my own life, by holding onto a false idea of being able to control other things, I am in a way being a victim again.
There can not be a war if only one side fights.
"Unconditional Love is not being a self-sacrificing doormat - Unconditional Love begins with Loving self enough to protect our self from the people we Love if that is necessary." --Robert Burney
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