ALERT: Depression Symptoms Cause Misdiagnosis for Adult Sibling Abuse Survivors

Depression symptoms are GOOGLED everyday by millions. In our present world, depression symptoms are massively experienced and are now reaching epidemic proportions. This reality has been pinpointed to the inauguration of the new United States president  on 1/21/17. Crisis Hotlines  have experienced an upsurge of overwhelming usage. Adult suicide has rapidly increased and the main driver driver behind it is depression.depression symptoms

One in four Americans will suffer from clinical depression within their lifetimes and millions are adult sibling abuse survivors, estimated to be 40 million in the United States alone. Many survivors accept their massively given mental diagnosis of depression.  This is a great tragedy and one that not only needs attention, but also correction.

depression symptoms

As I sit here today I know that survivors of sibling abuse have spent  countless hours of misery with depression, excessive worry, bad relationships, addictions, bad therapies, dysfunctional parenting, homelessness, financial instability, etc. I personally  was misdiagnosed with not only with depression but also borderline personality, bi-polar, attachment disorder, chronic anxiety, social anxiety, etc.  I spent countless wasted years in the wrong therapies, with the wrong therapists, and also the wrong diagnoses.  I went to countless doctors, ingested thousands of anti-depressants, was a patient in emergency rooms, countless churches, 12-step groups, health food stores, metaphysical healers, and wrote thousands of positive affirmations. I drank a lot too. My son was subjected to a very chaotic dysfunctional home and now has many issues that stem from my parenting.  Over time, he learned to distrust me. We are now estranged. I don’t know my grandsons and will not have the opportunity to bond with them. I have paid heavily for the ignorance of therapists and doctors.

depression symptoms

depression symptoms

Depression symptoms coincide with lack of sleep, energy, focus, memory, sex drive and the basic ability to experience the pleasures of life. Depression destroys the lives of many adult sibling abuse survivors with loss of the desire or ability to love, trust, addictions, work, play, and the  will to live. If depression is left  unchecked it can cause permanent brain damage. Depression, however, is merely the tip of the iceberg in regard to being a survivor of sibling abuse. Many experienced a terrifying trauma of not being able to either tell and/or escape from an aggressive sibling/cousin(s).

depression symptoms

Depression divorces us from life and splits the self in half. One aspect of the self desperately wants to reconnect with life while the other wants to escape, seek safety, feel empty, and feel a void of nothingness. Many survivors feel a great deal of shame that they are within the smothering grasp of a bad depression.  This reality is heightened when a survivor is faced with disability, welfare, or perhaps the ridicule of their family. When they have been incapacitated because of the trauma of sibling abuse, they can reach depths of great despair and self hatred.

Depression symptoms are massively utilized by both medical doctors and therapists to CATEGORIZE the suffering of so many survivors of sibling abuse. The pervasive perspective is injurious to millions of survivors lives.Regrettably this stance is just the tip of the iceberg for recovery.  Systematically, the entire professional world of human service workers is not educated about what lies behind the scarring of many adults lives: sibling abuse in childhood.  Survivors of sibling abuse are massively medicated with antidepressants and tranquilizers. Unfortunately, therapists and doctors don’t dig deeper into the history of a survivor’s life. 

depression symptoms

 “Traumatized people chronically feel unsafe inside their bodies: the past is alive in the form of gnawing interior discomfort. Their bodies are constantly bombarded by visceral warning signs, and, in an attempt to control these processes, they often become expert at ignoring their gut feelings and in numbing awareness of what is played out inside. They learn to hide from their selves.”

—Bessel van der Kolk, The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma

Many survivors of sibling abuse have a mental disorder called Complex PTSD.  Survivors of sibling abuse are  the largest, unaddressed, group of abused victims. Survivors of sibling abuse ingest  millions of prescriptions for anti-depressants and tranquilizers. The diagnosis of chronic depression, as well as anxiety,  creates huge profits for the pharmaceutical industry. It is estimated that there are well over 40 million sibling abuse survivors who have serious mental challenges. This huge, under-served and hidden portion of society hasn’t been addressed as deserving of attention or an accurate diagnosis. Battered and raped women have gotten far more attention and are estimated around 4 million. They have supportive resources and are organized and unfortunately we are not.

Many survivors obediently accept their diagnosis of depression and are never able to go into recovery.  I naively accepted my diagnosis of depression and took anti-depressants to reduce my suffering.  Many survivors of sibling abuse accept  the mental assessment of depression because they  are intimidated by the authority of a therapist. Additionally, because of the domination by a sibling, victims learned to not ask questions and to be submissive.

I want to share important educational information about PTSD and Complex PTSD. PTSD is acquired when the brain is traumatized and overwhelmed by a terrifying event. The traumatizing event disrupts the regulation of the body’s energy from hyperarousal (panic, overwhelm) and sometimes to extreme hypoarousal (low, lethargy), which appears as depression. Depression is only one of a number of symptoms of PTSD. When an adult survivor is depressed, they can spend huge amounts of time trying to numb from external events that seem similar to the stress of being abused by a terrorizing  sibling. The numbness is utilized as soother and if utilized extensively can impair functioning in our society. If a survivor’s brain numbs out to the extreme, suicidal idea is a likely outcome.

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault. It can definitely come about through sibling abuse.  If after the originating event, it takes longer than a few months, PTSD is probably in place. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD) is a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape. Complex PTSD means that the trauma that caused the mental diagnosis of PTSD is longstanding or from childhood. Complex PTSD is difficult to remedy through regular talk therapy approaches. The beginning brain was altered and damaged. I have Complex PTSD that originated from Sibling Abuse. Depression symptoms weren’t all that I suffered from. I had massive panic attacks, constant worry, etc.

Do not be ashamed survivor if you have Complex PTSD. You were trapped in your own home. I hope this has been educational and helpful to you survivor. It is never too late to recover from what an abusive sibling has done to our life. In your recovery, look deeper than the depression symptoms that coincide with sibling abuse.

*If you need a correct therapy referral for sibling abuse, let me know.

Nancy Kilgore, M.S.

This blog is dedicated to my Mother who died April 29, 2017

Important Links:


Bullies in our Homes: Adult Recovery Strategies From Sibling Abuse

Bullies in the home are a reality  that millions of adults have personally experienced it by their biological or nonbiological sibling(s). Bullies, who are aggressive siblings, has never been considered  an important societal issue. Generally within the mindset of society it is considered harmless.


Bullies are often siblings living in the home.

 Acceptance of bullies who are siblings has come about  about because it is perceived as a competitive rite of passage that is helpful to adulthood. This unfortunately is firmly still in place. Since the beginning of mankind, children within families, have been bickering and trading aggressions. The real focus, however, hasn’t been on how harmful bullies, who are sibs, can be to adulthood.


Bullies are very hurtful to adulthood.

Bullies, the majority, aren’t at school. Bullies are more prevalent in the home. The #1 origin of the present epidemic of bullying comes from the present epidemic of bullies who are siblings. When many child are victimized by bullies who are sibs, they will act it out on other children. When a children are victimized by bullies who are siblings, they often send out signals of being a victim and in turn attract bullies.

The torment and fighting that is often shrugged off as normal sibling rivalry can significantly alter the brain of a child.


Bullies who are siblings, can alter the brain of the child.

 I am a survivor of sibling abuse. Over the years I have consulted with survivors who struggled with emotional issues and sabotaged themselves in their careers because of  humiliation they experienced in their own home at the hands of bullies who were  sibling(s) cousin(s), step, etc. I discovered that this little acknowledged type of abuse,  is very eroding to the identity and self esteem. The victim can constantly have doubts and worries about their ability to perform. Because of in-home bullies, they often have inability to trust their self with decisions and/or contact with human beings. The outcome is often excessive self criticism. 

I want to share beneficial and much needed empowerment information for recovery for the adult survivor’s life. They are offered to strengthen and heal from sibling abuse. 

1. Understand the Brain & The Hippocampus

 The “hippocampus” is often activated and sends out pervasive feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and panic. New research suggests that even when there are no physical scars, aggression from sib bullies can inflict psychological scarring to mental patterns that can last a lifetime.


Bullies often alter the hippocampus of a child’s brain.

 According to what little research has been conducted, adults, subjected to sibling abuse, who were attacked, threatened, intimidated in childhood/adolescents, have an increased risk of PTSD, depression, anger and anxiety. Negative information and beliefs are actually over learned and stored in the hippocampus.  The function of the hippocampus is to store memories.  The hippocampus “forever” archives the aggression and has a difficult time ignoring its presence. Knowledge about this portion of the brain is helpful in reducing hopelessness and shame.

Reformatting the hippocampus to its normal state is very difficult. Many therapists aren’t trained in how to unravel what an aggressive sibling has done. It is extremely important for the survivor to not only know the parts of their own brain, but be proactive in acquiring knowledge about what therapists and treatments are helpful in reformatting the hippocampus which is trauma work, EMDR, CBT, etc. This information helps in not feeling fated or that abuse and aftermath, by bullies in the home setting, has no hope or remedy for recovery.

 2. Practice Meditation & Positive Inner Communication 

Because the hippocampus is altered, an adult survivor can live an inner life time of never ending torment. The inner self often says:

*Can I be free of my past and move on?

*Will I ever have a normal life?

*Will this anxiety ever go away?

*Why do I keep attracting the wrong people?

Meditation is helpful for many survivors because it calms the brain and helps it to be in present time, rather than the past. Within a state of calm the brain has more of an opportunity to notice the stored negative beliefs from a state of detachment. With skillful discipline and the assistance of the trauma therapy, the brain is able to oppose negative conditioning. (Therapy Referral/see website).

Helpful anchor statements are:

I am good, I have opportunities, I have abilities, I have empowerment, etc.

Helpful affirmations to repeatedly say to self. Try writing them 3 x’s a day by hand.

I have a river of peace running through me.

I have solutions for my (financial, relationship, home environment, etc) and I hold to my inner strength.

I have organized my home so I feel safe and comforted.


Sibling bullies and the aftermath requires positive thoughts.

I hope that this has been helpful and I look forward to sharing with you again. It is never too late to recover from what a sibling did to our lives.

Nancy Kilgore, M.S.


CLICK HERE 4 Information on Bullying

Click 4 Info on Bully Siblings

Click 4 Meditation Strategies