Depression and Self Harm-Letting go and Shifting Forward

Depression and self harm is a matter no one knows better than, myself.  But we have the power within us to overcome depression or mental fatigue, or what have you. Yes, we all can choose to undo these ill feelings that are holding us back from our full potential.

I was on the receiving end of some terrible legal advice, which sent me to prison over a foolish securities violation—which was of course my fault.  But I’ve gotten over it.  I am aware that I’m not alone—far from it. 

This happens to many who experience depression and self harm, and may have never experienced the criminal justice system. 

It has been said that negotiating for an appropriate prison sentence in a plea bargain can be compared to shopping for a car.  In my case, I paid the “sticker price.”

With no plea deal, I surrendered myself to the court, riding on my lawyer’s lies, in hopes for leniency from both the judge and prosecutor. 

The real truth of the matter, which was extremely simple, was covered up, while the facts of my errors should have been presented for an accurate understanding of my case. 

In book 1 of the series I describe the details…I was certainly guilty, but not as portrayed by my lawyer’s plan, which backfired.  I became lost as I contemplated the ten-year prison term slammed down hard by the gavel and depression and self harm mindfully set in.

The ride back to jail from the courthouse—chained, shackled, and handcuffed in the back of the paddy wagon—at least gave me some time to tell myself that the long, enduring court process was now behind me. 

Regardless of the pain and loss I felt and depression and self harm I didn’t know was mentally going on in me, I somehow was able to reach and look ahead at what might be in the cards for me with prison. 

This was extremely frightening, but something in me was welcoming it. 

Some say this welcoming a prison sentence was due to relief that the trial was over and I had survived, forgiving yourself kind of thing. 

But all along and ever since, I’ve chosen not to see it that way.

During that grueling time, I did not receive a single visit at the county jail, nor did any member of my large family show up at the sentencing.  I surely could have used an ear to bend in sorting things out. 

I later would find out they were “too busy” and had “lives of their own.” 

I could only think about how I must have shamed them, because I was certainly ashamed of myself. 

I also thought maybe their non-support was a payback for something I may have done, or not done, in my past. 

My own daughters were humiliated by my selfish acts that had proven to be felonies.  Their father was now a convicted felon, and I would carry that image for the remainder of my life.

A Course in Miracles states, “The betrayal of the Son of God lies only in illusions, and all his ‘so-called sins’ are but his own imagining.”

My depression and self harm and self-berating continued as others in jail talked about forgiving yourself.  It was later said that my lawyer took advantage of my inexperience with the “business” of criminal justice and used me as a trade-off for another one of his clients caught up in a drug-dealing crime. 

It seems there was more hard cash in that deal.  I now found myself hating myself, my lawyer, and the judicial system.  I was deep in a hole, and there was no one available to throw me a rope as I sunk into depression and self harm thoughts. 

If there had been a rope, I might have used the it to hang myself.

But my whole point in the small scenario I just relived for you is to display how this pity-party thought system I chose to use was made in my mind. 

It’s all true and nothing is exaggerated, except possibly the “hanging rope” part. 

I was highly disappointed in my family, but whatever reasons they had for not showing up were not in my control, nor was it up to me to try to own their feelings. 

But soon, and I mean very soon, for whatever reason I still cannot explain today, something started tugging on me inside and telling me through strong thoughts that I was not alone and it was okay, and that I needed to stop the condemning of everyone, including myself. 

Especially myself.

Although physically I was alone and the depression and self harm was forefront, but there was a small friendly fire gently burning inside me, calm like a campfire, that urged me to relax and forgiving others. 

The abuse I was giving myself had to stop, and it did. 

I had no special training in this; I simply settled down and felt centered on getting through this experience, and beginning a new life. 

Something encouraged me to keep my focus for a while on the judge’s comment about my ten-year prison term being “non-mandatory.” 

I began asking myself, “What does this mean?” 

My lawyer had never bothered to explain.  This was the only rope I had to hang on to—more like a string—but it was enough. 

A Course in Miracles has taught me…What I didn’t realize at that time was that total surrender was forced on me, with the thought of a non-mandatory sentence granting me some relief from the tight chains that held me. 

This was a part of the undoing process that had been going on all along. 

Although I did not realize this at the time, it seemed as though I began forgiving myself and forgiving others.

(If you feel you need more information, please take a look at another well received blog article that has helped many get a grip on overcoming challenges.)

To forgiving yourself,

James Nussbaumer

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