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Mail - Feb, 2015


I wanted to get in touch to tell you how amazed/ astounded/ impressed/ flabbergasted, I am at the feelings word list you have compiled!!

I started making my own list about two weeks ago (have only managed to 178)and stumbled upon your site this evening whilst researching the inadequacy of words to describe how we feel- maybe we just don't have the vocabulary after all, its definitely given me food for thought.

I was wondering if I could get a copy of the full list you have compiled so far?

I'm a performance artist currently making a piece about our pre-occupation with happiness and exploring how we can validate the many other emotions we are capable of and constantly experiencing.

My work is auto-biographical, and the end products always seeks to involve the audience in the subject matter. My work is based on my continuing experience of depression, and aims to bring mental health and illness to the forefront of conversation. I believe we live in a world that disables us from the inside and I'm interested in having conversations with people that are trying to challenge this.

I truly appreciate the honesty of your site and work and would love to have a conversation with you about it.

Many thanks,


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F L wrote again and ended her email with this...

Hopefully the worst of it will pass soon.

She was talking about my depression...


This makes it sound like depression is a cloud or a train. Something that just "passes by".But let's go with that for a bit...

If you lived in an area with a lot of clouds would you wonder why the sky was so gray so often? Would you try to move somewhere more sunny? Or would you just think "that's the way things are" and hope that the next cloud will simply pass soon. If the clouds brought a lot of rain, would you wonder where the rain came from? Would you figure out that it came from the clouds? Would you figure out that when it rained, you got wet if you were outside, unprotected? Or would you believe someone who never went outside and never felt the rain and who told you that there must be something wrong with you and to stop complaining and to stop getting the carpet muddy and to stop looking so wet all the time. (As I write this I think of ___'s writing. "From tears, Mom, from tears."

And what about a train passing by? What if the noise bothered you and you had nightmares about trains, and children were getting killed on the train tracks, and once you got hit by a train and were traumatized by it? What if the children were told they had to go to a school on the other side of the tracks, so they had to cross the train tracks twice a day? And they would be punished if they were late for school or late going home so they often tried to hurry across the tracks before the train came because if they had to wait for it they would be late if it was too long.

What if all the children, or at least all the sensitive ones, were traumatized by the train because so many of them had either been hit by it or had their friends killed by it? Would you wonder where the trains were coming from? Would you keep living near the railroad tracks? Would you tell the children, "Hopefully the train will pass by soon."

And what if the trains were so long and so frequent because they were full of bombs and people who worked in the factories who made the bombs and in the offices where they counted the money they made from selling the bombs? And what if the trains were also full of hospital supplies and the people who worked in the hospitals? And what if they also were full of caskets and the people who worked in the casket factories? And what if they were also full of teachers and young people being trained to be teachers and office workers and factory workers? And what if they were also full of bankers, politicians, preachers, and psychologists who told people one lie after another so people would keep going to work in the factories and schools and they would keep paying the government's taxes and keep believing that their children were going to have a better life than they did as long as they stayed in school so they could get jobs in the factories and hospitals and banks and universities.

Obviously, I don't agree that depression is something that just passes by like a could or a train. To me it is more like starvation. But it is a little different. At least for me, if I am left alone and free to do what I need to do, by body "feeds itself" emotionally. In other words, with rest and control over my life, I feel less depressed. But what happens is something else will depress me again. And I can identify exactly what those things are when they happen. So I guess in a way it is like getting wet. With time and lack of rain, we naturally dry off. Our cuts naturally heal.

But then again I don't have nightmares, like FL does or Priscilla did. I don't know if P still does or not, but I know she had a lot while we were living together. Most of them were about her family.

FL also said something about "experiencing depression" - this term bothers me...it sounds like Phidish

Experiencing rape

Experiencing starvation

Experiencing cancer -- maybe depression is more like cancer. It grows.. spreads.




I would like the "mom" test. I donated $20, which I figured would pay for my own test plus one for someone else who may not be able to afford it.

I am probably older than most of the people who contact you. I am 47. I suffer from disabling PTSD as a result of severe physical, mental, and sexual abuse by a partner who I was with for 13 years. He committed suicide 12 years ago, and I have been in therapy and on medication since that time. I have had a tendency to block out memories of bad things my whole life, and so the first few years of therapy were mainly about dealing with these bad memories as they would rise to the surface. However, every time I think I am finished remembering things and have reached a stable place in my life, a new memory will pop up unexpectedly and completely debilitate me for awhile until I can work my way through it.

I am fascinated by the way the brain works and do as much research as I can so that I can help myself understand what is going on, and maybe be able to help other people too someday. I often wonder what drew me into the unhealthy situation with my partner, and why my brain has always had this strange ability to block things out. Well, more and more I find myself going back to incidents with my mother who I am now realizing was emotionally abusive to me my whole life. (Both my parents are deceased).

I have always hesitated to accept this fact, because from the outside, anyone would believe I had an excellent upbringing with intelligent, upstanding, affluent parents. I am the youngest of 3 children, and the older two did not have things as difficult as I did. They were gone away to college when most of the bad things were happening, even though my first memory of something really "wrong" happened to me at age 4.

I have always made excuses to myself for my mother's behavior, and find it difficult to share unpleasant incidents with my brother and sister because not only did they not have the same experience, but they think I am being disrespectful to someone who is dead if I try and bring these things up. My brother and sister are my only support system at this point, so the only person I can discuss my mother with is my therapist. I am in the beginning stages of realizing that my mother's behavior is what shaped me into the disfunctional person I have become, even though I am still really struggling with the idea. I found your website late last night, and saw the 10 yes or no questions you had about emotionally abusive moms. My answer to every single question was "yes". That really opened my eyes.

So... My reason for ordering the full test is partly to help me to convince myself that there WAS a definite problem, and also I thought I could print it out and take it to my therapist so we could go through it and discuss. I am not in any danger of harming myself or anything like that, so my need for this test (or a response from you) is not urgent, just more a matter of research and self exploration.

I appreciate what you are doing, and please know that even if you feel that not many people hear your message, the ones who need it most will manage to find you. Emotional abuse is such a difficult topic to understand and deal with, especially when it comes from a parent. Hopefully, more people will begin to understand this in the future. We are just now beginning to understand PTSD as a society, although whenever I tell someone I have PTSD they ask me if I was in the military. So, we still have a long way to go, but mental illness as a whole is beginning to become more talked about and understood everyday. So, keep doing you're doing! You have already helped me in a small way.

Thank you,


Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:18:59 -0800
Subject: Big hugs and thank you!

I was feeling so lost & alone, looking for answers, and I stumbled upon
your website. Reading through it, I realized that I have stumbled on it
before, years ago.

It is sad to know that your depth of understanding & compassion comes from
a place of so much pain. I suppose that's maybe the only way that anyone
truly could have as much insight & empathy as you do.

I am writing to you to beg you to continue on, and to always continue on,
even though you carry a great weight. There are so many people in this
world who stumble upon your website & whose lives are saved by your words,
without you even realizing it because they haven't contacted you... they
just read.

Thank you for helping me feel a little less alone & a little less crazy
today. It's okay if you are unable to respond. I just wanted to do some
small part in trying to give back to you what you will never fully be
repaid or thanked for.

Please do something kind & loving for yourself for me today, since all I am
able to do for you is write an email. Please stay strong, stay alive, and
please keep saving the world anonymously, one person at a time.
Feb 24

Dear Steve:
I have spent most of my life emotionally stuck, wandering in life like a robot. Without any feeling. I want to feel, so im looking for answers. 
I read a lot of the articles on your site when I got to the page about cutting I started to cry and I feel something I didn't feel for a long time. I used to cut almost every day for several years, then I switched from that to drugs and have done only drugs  and alcohol over the last few years.
I asked myself, is there an emotional reason why I do the drugs? And that is how I found your site.
There is still emotional trauma and unmet needs from my emotional and physical abuse in childhood. I thought I had come to terms with it but now I know I hadn't healed from it yet and need to before I can find love.