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

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ALERT! Alarming Bullying Statistics Linked to Epidemic of Sibling Abuse

Bullying statistics relate that we are now experiencing a massive, epidemic that is spiraling out of control. The societal impact  will have lasting impact on us all. The aftershocks will be felt through vast increases in domestic violence, addictions, prostitution, disabilities, incarcerations, psychiatric hospitalizations, welfare, homelessness, domestic violence, etc.

bullying statistics

 The alarming bullying statistics, don’t expose the #1 cause of it: siblings bullies in the home. The majority of bullies aren’t at school. They are in the home.  The present increase in bullying is fed by the epidemic of sibling abuse in the home.  In millions of homes, children are in quasi-marine-boot camps and are learning to utilize aggression  onto their own siblings. When  children are victimized by bully sibs, they will act it out on children outside the home. When a child experiences abuse from a sibling, they are set up to be bullied by other children in school settings, the internet, etc.

bullying statistics

bullying statistics

 Millions of adults know this all too well. They know that bullying statistics don’t capture the hell of what they went through by their bully sib(s).  Bully siblings, biological or nonbiological, are a reality that millions of adults experienced in their childhood. Many have been silent about this crime and carry internal, mental scars. Many relate that they were also bullied by children in school settings.  Because their beginning brain was altered by trauma stemming from an aggressive sibling/cousin(s),  the debilitating aftermath went with them into adulthood. 

bullying statistics

 The word bullying is actually a verb and implies superior strength or influence to intimidate (someone), typically to force him or her to do what one wants. Bullying is connected to the following words:

Persecute, oppress, tyrannize, browbeat, harass, torment, intimidate, strong-arm, dominate, coerce, pressure, push, and intimidate.

 Bullies, who are aggressive siblings, have never been considered an important societal issue. Generally within the mindset of society,bullying a sibling or sibling abuse,  isn’t considered harmful. It is. Sibling abuse is often perceived as a competitive rite of passage, helpful to thriving in adulthood.  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. No one really cares about sibling abuse. Adults, bullied by their sibling(s), will educated the world what the real cause of the bullying statistics are. They will finally speak. Right now they are not organized. They can be organized and should be organized. They have, as well as our country,  has paid dearly for, not only, the ignorance of sibling abuse, but also the massive toleration of it.  The survivors of sibling abuse must put glaring focus on how harmful bullies, who are sibs, can be to adulthood.

bullying statistics

The torment and fighting that is often shrugged off as normal sibling rivalry can be very harmful to the lifespan of a life.

 I am a survivor of sibling abuse. Over the years I consulted, first hand, with adult survivors of sibling abuse who struggled with a wide range of emotional issues.  Sibling abuse is very eroding to the identity and skills required for functioning in adulthood. The victim of sibling abuse can constantly worry about what will happen to them in the future.  Because of in-home bullies, they  have inability to trust their self with decisions and/or contact with human beings. The negative outcome for many big decisions is often 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 when a victim of either sibling abuse or bullying, is in circumstances that seem familiar to the originating trauma. This portion of the brain can send the victim into a high alert state with pervasive feelings of anxiety, helplessness, and panic. New research suggests that aggression from sibling abuse can inflict psychological vast impairment to mental patterns and can last a lifetime.

 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 from a sibling and has great difficulty ignoring its presence. Actual knowledge of the physiology of trauma and the hippocampus is helpful in reducing shame and hopelessness.


Reclaiming 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. Consideration of the following is helpful: EMDR, NLP CBT, etc. Recovery can be done and it needs to be done with the right therapist and the right trauma treatment. 

 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  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).

bullying statistics

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.

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.

*If you need a therapy referral, contact me on my website.

Nancy Kilgore, M.S.

Click Here For Info on Bullying