Interior Integration for Catholics

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Dr. Peter takes you into the experience of depression and mania. Through poetry and examples, we totally reconceptualize the experience of depression and mania, exploring how these experiences are burdens carried by parts. We also discuss the use of antidepressant and mood stabilizing medications.

Show Notes

  1. And depression manifests itself in different ways depending on roles or functions that different parts
    1. Three major roles
      1. Exiles -- 
        1. most sensitive -- these exiles have been exploited, rejected, abandoned in external relationships
        2. They have suffered relational traumas or attachment injuries
        3. They hold the painful experiences that have been isolated from conscious awareness to protect the person from being overwhelmed with the intensity.
        4. They desperately want to be seen and known, to be safe and secure, to be comforted and soothed, to be cared for and loved
        5. They want rescue, redemption, healing
        6. And in the intensity of their needs and emotions, they threaten to take over and destabilize the person's whole being, the person's whole system -- they want to take over the raft to be seen and heard, to be known, to be understood.  But they can flood us with the intensity of their experience
        7. And that threatens to harm external relationships
        8. Burdens they carry:  Shame, dependency, worthlessness, Fear/Terror, Grief/Loss, Loneliness, Neediness, Pain, lack of meaning or purpose, a sense of being unloved and unlovable, inadequate, abandoned, 
          1. Depression.  Exiles are parts that step in to carry the burden of depression so that depression doesn't overwhelm our system and incapacitate us.  
          2. Protector parts exile the part burdened with depression -- toxic
          3. But these exiles want to be heard, seen, known, understood.  
          4. So they attempt to jailbreak, they want to get on the raft, they want to stop being submerged in the unconscious, under the water, they want to get on the raft, and the only way they know how to be accepted on the raft is to become king of the raft and overpower all the other parts.  Then, they hope to be seen and known and heard and accepted and loved 
          5. But because they blended, because they dominated, because they took over, there's no possibility to be in relationship inside with the self.  They are now able to scream their pain and distress, but it doesn't get them what they want.  
          6. When depressed exiles take over, they wind up shutting the system down
            1. Depressed mood  

            1. Loss of interest/pleasure
            1. Weight loss or gain  

            1. Insomnia or hypersomnia 

            1. Psychomotor agitation or retardation  

            1. Fatigue  

            1. Feeling worthless or excessive/inappropriate guilt N
            1. Decreased concentration 

            1. Thoughts of death/suicide:  

          9. So exiles can bring the depression to the fore.  But that is not the only way we become depressed.  

      1. Managers
        1. These are the proactive protector parts.  They work strategically, with forethought and planning to keep in control of situations and relationships to minimize the likelihood of you being hurt.  They work really hard to keep you safe.
        1. controlling, striving, planning, caretaking, judging, 

        1. Can be pessimistic, self-critical, very demanding.
        1. Managers can use symptoms of depression to try to keep us safe
          1. Depressed mood  -- pessimism keep us from trying new thing and risking failure
          1. Loss of interest/pleasure  -- keep us from enjoying a romantic relationship that might challenge us
          2. Weight loss or gain  -- keeping us obese, in the hope that we don't attract others' attention so that we won't be raped again.  
          3. Insomnia or hypersomnia -- protecting us from nightmares that exiles share when we sleep.  
          4. Psychomotor agitation or retardation   -- letting others know not to expect too much from us
          5. Fatigue  -- keeping us from lashing out or being aggressive with those that our exiles hate.  
          6. Decreased concentration -- keeping us from being promoted to management, so we don't have to handle the difficulties of having subordinates at work.  

      1. Firefighters
        1. When exiles break through and threaten to take over the system, like in Inside Out, remember the parts and the control panel?  So when these exiles are about the break out, the firefighters leap into action.
        1. It's an emergency situation, a crisis, like a fire raging in a house.
        1. No concern for niceties, for propriety, for etiquette, for little details like that.  

        1. Firefighter take bold, drastic actions to stifle, numb or distract from the intensity of the exile's experiences.  

        1. Intense neediness and grief are overwhelming us!  Emergency actions -- battle stations!   Evasive maneuvers, Arm the torpedoes, Full speed ahead!
        1. No concern for consequences -- don't you get it, we are in a crisis, 

        1. All kinds of addictions -- alcohol use, binge eating, shopping, sleeping, dieting, excessive working or exercise, suicidal actions, self-harm, violence, dissociation, distractions, obsessions, compulsions, escapes into fantasy, and raging.  

        1. Depression as a tool for firefighters
          1. Remember firefighters are always reacting to an exile breaking out.  

          1. Depressed mood -- intense depression, feeling really really sad so that we don't feel the crushing emptiness inside than an exile carries.  Better to feel sadness than to feel a void of nothingness and to question whether or not I exist -- so there the firefighter is pursuing an integrity need of knowing that I exist, protecting against being swept away by the soul crushing nihilism of an exile burdened with a void, with the feeling of being nothing.  

          1. Fatigue -- betting to spend 20 hours a day sleeping rather than cope with the overwhelming grief and loss of the death of a spouse.  

          1. Suicide -- seen as the only viable release from the pain of an exile.  

  1. Parts are not their roles, they are not their functions, they are not their burdens.  All of these can change.  If parts are unburdened, they no longer have the whatever burden they originally carried.  Parts are not their burdens.  They can give those burdens up through unburdening.  Parts are not their roles or their functions either.  As the person's internal system becomes more integrated, parts begin to trust in the leadership of the core self more, parts become more collaborative and cooperative, parts find new, constructive, healthy roles in the system. 
  2. Parts can hold their intensity.  
  3. Poetry
“Depression” by Cara Delevingne
“Who am I? Who am I trying to be?
Not myself, anyone but myself.
Living in a fantasy to bury the reality,
Making myself the mystery,
A strong facade disguising the misery.
Empty, but beyond the point of emptiness,
I am lost.
I don’t need to be saved,
I need to be found.”

What is Interior Integration for Catholics?

In the Interior Integration for Catholics podcast, together, we seek fundamental transformation in our lives through human formation, via Internal Family Systems approaches grounded in a Catholic worldview. Join us as we sail through uncharted waters, seizing the opportunities for psychological and spiritual growth and increasing resilience in the natural and spiritual realms. With a clear takeaway message and one action in each weekly episode, you can move from dreading what is happening to you to rising above it. Join us on Mondays for new episodes. You can also check out the Resilient Catholics Community which grew up around this podcast at