Identifying the Symptoms of Depression


Depression is a serious medical illness that negatively affects how one feels, the way one thinks and how one behaves. It can be caused by various factors including sorrow, alcohol or drug use, money concerns and potentially many other factors. Symptoms of depression are multifaceted and often vary from one person to the next, but generally they affect one’s emotional, social and physical ability. Though some might find it hard to believe, by seeking the right assistance you can combat your depressive illness and achieve positive mental health again.

Signs of depression can include:

  • A lack of motivation and reduced energy – for instance, little or no motivation at work or at home. A lack of confidence, concentration and reduced self-esteem
  • Amplified irritability – becoming annoyed at minimal situations and taking it out on those around you
  • Lack of interest in everyday life – for instance, not wanting leaving your home and wanting to be alone regularly
  • Feelings of hopelessness – continuously feeling defeated and trapped with no way out
  • Sleeping issues – insomnia is a common symptom of depression as it is likely that you are unable to switch off from any negative thoughts. Sleeping long hours is also a common side effect
  • Change in appetite – either a decrease or increase in eating patterns which will inevitably bring about weight loss or gain
  • Considerably lower mood – frequent crying, feelings of anger, lack of trust and the inability to be positive are common symptoms
  • Negative thoughts relating to family, friends, and life in general, at times. Suicidal thoughts are a common symptom of depression, should this be the case please seek help straightaway
  • Resorting to alcohol or drugs as a way of dealing with depression. Excessively consuming large amounts of alcohol or drugs will in fact obstruct recovery and could cause further problems, such as addiction, anxiety and financial constraints
  • Receding from social situations – not part-taking in friend or family activities, forgetting responsibilities and decreased social communication are common symptoms

Depression becomes a serious illness when the victim starts to develop more severe symptoms. Those who are victims of this depressive illness will, in most cases, find it very difficult being in social situations and can struggle finding positivity.

Although sometimes feeling sad is a common emotion, depressive illness is a recurring condition and can have problematic consequences such as a decline in self-esteem, motivation and processing abilities. In some cases, if depression is untreated, it can lead to even more severe mental health issues, thus treating the issue at an early point is vital.

What are the emotional symptoms of depression?

Depression can have a significant impact on your day-to-day wellbeing, and you may experience some of the following emotional symptoms of depression:

  • Anger
  • Anxiety
  • Irritability
  • Feeling tearful and emotionally tired
  • Feelings of extreme guilt
  • Confusion
  • Feeling sensitive and vulnerable

Although it may be hard for you to believe, you can overcome your depression by receiving treatment. The treatments most commonly used are cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT), which is a type of psychotherapy, and antidepressant medication. Both are proven to be successful in combating depression.

Just as a patient sees a doctor about a physical illness, a psychiatrist will look at your symptoms and explore how they have developed.

The I Am Not a Mistake Foundation aims to create a safe environment: providing counselling and assistance to depressed people, as well as adopted, suicidal and physically & emotionally abused people who have been in similar situations. You can trust us in the knowledge that we have true life experience. At the I Am Not a Mistake Foundation, we know how to deal with what you are going through. We are all survivors.

The Most Common Types of Abuse


Unfortunately, several types of abuse are far too common in different forms of relationships. Forms of abuse typically are seen in domestic partnerships, however, abuse is also common between elders and their adult children. Regardless of the age, gender, socioeconomic status, education or ethnicity, just about anyone can become a victim of abuse. Understanding the various forms of abuse can allow you to identify them and thwart the abuse as soon as possible.

Types of Abuse

There are several different types of abuse recognised. Forms of abuse include:

  • Emotional/Psychological abuse

Emotional abuse is probably the most common. It comprises any behaviour designed to hurt another person mentally. Emotional/psychological abuse includes yelling, threatening, shaming, humiliation and shaming, among other devices.

  • Financial abuse

This kind of abuse is often seen together with other forms of abuse. Financial abuse is when one person controls access to money from another. This type of abuse includes actions like cutting off access to bank accounts, controlling where someone is allowed to work and preventing access to financial information.

  • Physical abuse

This form of abuse exhibits the most noticeable signs. Physical abuse is also known as domestic abuse or domestic violence when it occurs within intimate relationships. It is classified as any physical act or threat of a physical act designed to hurt another person physically. This includes actions like slapping, punching, hair-pulling and kicking. Physical evidence such as bruises isn’t necessary for the act to be deemed physical abuse.

  • Sexual abuse

Sexual abuse is typically perpetrated against women although men can be victims of sexual abuse too. It includes any unsolicited sexual act forced on the victim. This form of abuse is also often characterised as sexual assault or rape. Sexual abuse can include anything from non-consensual touching to forced intercourse or forced sexual contact with another person.

  • Verbal abuse

Verbal abuse is generally a form of psychological abuse. This type of abuse happens when the antagonist uses words and body language with the intent to hurt another person. Verbal abuse includes put-downs, name-calling and unreasonable criticisms.

  • Spiritual abuse

Spiritual abuse revolves around a person’s spirituality or religion. This form of abuse includes negatively targeting another’s belief system, refuting access to a house of worship or forced involvement in a cult.

  • Neglect

Neglect occurs when a person fails to provide for the basic needs of one or more dependent victims he or she is responsible for. Basic needs include adequate and appropriate food, shelter, clothing, hygiene, and love or care. The idea of neglect presupposes that the neglectful person is capable of being responsible in the first place. For instance, it is neglect when an employed parent fails to care for their child adequately. It is still neglect when a parent is unable to provide for their child despite their best efforts due to extreme poverty or illness, but the neglect is perhaps mitigated by the circumstances. Neglect can only happen to dependent persons. For this reason, it most typically involves children or dependent elders who are not taken care of properly by their families or caregivers.

All forms of abuse are illegal, although some are harder to prosecute than others. Many of these different types of abuse are also perpetrated against children and teens. Becoming aware of the forms that abuse can take helps you to be better prepared to recognize such behaviour as abusive. Once you are able to label abuse, you can begin to take steps necessary to stop it from happening or repeating.

For detailed information on child abuse and the types of child abuse, get in touch with the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation. Here, Nelie Olivier (a recovering victim of abuse, depression, adoption, and suicide) will be able to assist you with your trials and tribulations regarding these issues through the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation. With her expertise and the support of the I Am Not A Mistake Foundation, your life can be saved and directed towards a more positive and happier way of life.

Truth About The Silent Treatment


The silent treatment is literally a non-visible way to inflict pain without.

Research has shown that the same area of the brain that is activated by physical pain is activated when one is ignored. The way couples interact and treat each other during the bad times determines how strong the relationship will be. The best predictor of divorce isn’t whether a couple fights (arguments are inevitable) but how a couple fights. In many situations people use the silent treatment as a response, one of dignity and grace, which is often seen to be taking the ‘high road’. However, research is proving that silent treatment could have the complete opposite intended effect.

Furthermore, research has uncovered that excluding and ignoring people, such as silent treatment or giving them the cold shoulder, is used to punish or manipulate and people may not realize the emotional or physical harm that is being caused.

The ability to detect silent treatment or being given the cold shoulder is hardwired in us. This means that the pain of being ignored is registered internally, whether it is coming from an individual or a group of people. The initial pain is the same, whether it is from a stranger, a close friend or an enemy. Silent treatment activates the anterior cingulate cortex which is the part of the brain that detects physical pain.

In relationships silent treatment can cause serious emotional and psychological problems and it decreases overall relationship satisfaction and intimacy within couples. This results in a reduced capacity to communicate in a way that’s healthy and meaningful.

It’s an incredibly hard pattern to break because it’s easy to get away with and an accusation of the silent treatment can easily be denied. It’s powerful and is therefore a weapon of choice in many arguments.

However, it is important to note that silent treatment should not be confused with taking a moment to cool down after difficult or heated exchange. The best thing to do is to try and say I can’t talk to you right now, but we can talk about it later.

Silence can feel like you are taking the high road and it may seem like a dignified response but it’s not. It’s a way to inflict pain but without the physical marks. Being ignored is just as powerful.

Visit the I Am Not A Mistake website ( if you or someone you know is suffering from abuse.



For me, I always knew I was different, and throughout my life I tried to find out what this causing this “empty feeling of not belonging”

You might have read part of my story on my website, but I want to explain what I had to deal with!

(Again, I place on record that not everyone deals with this issue the same way – so please this is my story).

For me a multitude of emotional feelings arose when my adopted mother finally after 42 years admitted that I was adopted.

  • Not only did I have to deal with the grief that I was lied to my entire life

As an adult to hear “We did not want to raise you with a stigma!!”

  • I was screaming at her “I AM A STIGMA”, you all knew and “keeping a secret” is just another way of lying!!!!!!
  • I was ill treated by family members and could never understand why???
  • I had to, since childhood, gear myself up against my perpetrators by acting that I do not care and constantly making sure that I do not show any emotion whether it be scared or hurt.

You see what Adopted parents never think about is that the family (who was supposed to keep this secret, did just that), but made it clear on so many occasions that you do not fit in – you are not blood.

My question, how do you as a child face and protect yourself if your “parents” are living the lie and in denial.

My answer – you have no idea, but something inside me gave me directions on how to deal with them.  (and that “something” was called survival”) only later that I understood it was FEAR based.

If this did not happen to you, I am so glad for you, but I had to endure years of being treated like an “outsider” and this made me angry and changed my personality forever.  You see when you are being abused, you become the abuser (story for another day).

Let’s get back to the time at 42 when the “Flood Gates” were opened and all the information I had to deal with came out – this was the day something died inside of me.

  1. My Adopted mother told me she did not want me because they had just adopted my brother!!!!!!!!!!!

Well done mother – I feel so wanted now – more than ever; and your explanations that you looked at me as your own – bullshit! – your version of events for sure does not make sense (did not want you but saw you as my own) AWESOMENESS!!!

  1. She proceeded to tell me that I was 4 months’ old when they collected me at the Princess Alice Adoption Home. Where the staff told her upon handing me to my FATHER (as he held on to her precious boy) and I quote “She is a real Tiger!!!!!! – I was so sad, how can a baby of 4 months old be called a “Tiger” I asked her did you stop for a minute to ask them what they meant by that – to which she replied no they just had to sign a lot of papers and then we went home.  I was held by her brother in the back of the car.


  1. Proud she proceeded to tell what a “quiet” child I was, as I never cried (huh)


  1. She told me that she would not even realize I was awake in my cot, for hours, as I kept myself busy


Ok here I have to stop!  I am a mother, I gave birth to my only daughter, and this to me was neglect in the highest form.

Take note, she gets a new baby – not picking me up and holding me – she gives me to her brother – and clings onto her baby boy.  Great to hear!!!!!


  1. As she proceeded to tell me that I did not want anything to do with her until I was about 1!!!!! I asked her what did you do about this mother, I was a baby, to which she replied “your father agreed to raise you”!! Wow the rejection is just piling up inside of me.


  1. I had to deal with the fact that I was seen as a “bastard” (in those years) because my biological father was English and my mother Afrikaans – so this again was held against me.


  1. I lived a lie and I felt stupid that I did not press harder (looking back at the multitude of times I did try and get the truth from my mother)



  1. I was denied my cultural background (you see I had so much “English” in me, that I never fitted in with the “very Afrikaans” upbringing), now it was clear why I was so rebellious of nature (besides just being angry and unwanted) – because I wanted that side of my personality to come out! I now know why I was different as I did not share the same DNA.


  1. Behind closed doors, I embraced being more open and more outspoken than my entire family put together at a party. But again, I was told from early days that I should be more “prim and proper” – which I obviously did to impress my mother and to make her love me more, (because I knew since childhood she did not love me and we did not have a bond.


Since that day in 2006 the feeling of abandonment and not being good enough for my adoptive parents increased but also, I then started wondering about my biological mother.

  • Why did she reject me?
  • Why did she give me away?
  • What is the story behind what makes me, me?


My adoptive mother did ask me if I wanted to know who my biological mother was and I said no.  (This was a straight up lie in her face, but I truly did not want to hurt her) – as she made mistakes with me but all in all she did take care of me.

So, I contacted one of my best friends, a private investigator and I found her!  I kept onto her file for weeks and then one day I mustered up enough courage to phone.  The voice on the other end was me (my exact same voice) It took a couple of seconds and I asked to speak to ……. her reply was “Sean Ray I have been waiting for this call for years”.  (Needless to say, I cried because I felt home and I felt a connection) just to get my hart ripped out seconds later.

She proceeded to tell me this story of her being “date raped” etc.  they came from a very “well to do family” and my biological father was English and she was 16.  She explained that she had to wear a Corset to hide the fact that she was pregnant and asked me if I had any damage…… Oh yes, I did, I had problems with my legs since I could not crawl and when I started walking my father saw my knees and legs were not “forming” the way they should (he spend thousands to rectify this)

She told me that only her sister (which is still alive) has any knowledge of me, and that she is married with 2 children.  The boy only 3 years younger than me.

(Wow you threw me out like trash, only to have another child three years later???)

During the entire conversation I became more rejected and the feeling that I am not worth being alive – as I was tossed away by one and the next one also did not care too much about me.

But I told you guys I worked on a defense system and it kicked in.

Lying to her and telling her it is fine, just wanted to know some details on my birth, medical history and who was my biological father.

She answered all the questions and before saying goodbye she pleaded for me to not ever try and contact her as she told her husband she was a virgin when they got married.

(Must be honest I was laughing because I was picturing in my head how stupid he must be because a woman giving normal child birth like she did – the evidence is there) – but I left it.

There I was rejected, hurt, angry and confused and then I decided that I was going to find out more from the Department of Social Welfare.

Well, another shock for me was underway but having the appointment made me feel that I could obtain proof and I am a very logical person, so I was looking forward to familiarizing myself with WHO I AM!

I met with an amazing woman and she took time to explain what I might “experience” going through the “details” of my file.

(must be honest, for me at that point I just wanted time to read the file.

Before I commence, please understand I was adopted in 1965 – so before you start attacking me – I have the proof of how they dealt with Adoption in those years.

  1. Vital information was not to be found. Which left me with a greater feeling of loss and sadness.
  2. The circumstances surrounding my case was horrific!!!!!
    • Those years no human contact was allowed between the staff at the Princess Alice Adoption home. Yes, they did bath us, dress us, put us on our side, bottle in the mouth (supported by a nappy) and then while lying in that position, we were “burped:
    • I was horrified – I had no human contact for 4 months – then was given to a “mother” who also did not have any interaction with me – it all beginning to make sense.
    • I carried on holding back the tears as I read my file and how the social workers checked up on me for some time.
    • I learned that I was not adopted immediately – as I was first in “Foster Care: – which means that my “adoptive mother and father” were unsure about their choice.
    • I was legally adopted in September 1966
    • Then I picked up a piece of paper and I still have a copy: DELIVERY NOTE from PRINCESS ALICE ADOPTION HOME – signed by both my adoptive parents.


Well if I ever felt like a “nothing” this was confirmation as I have the proof that I was dealt with like a “cell phone” not a human being. My hate and anger turned me into a very bitter and very confused person.

I left and made copies so that I can confront both parties again.

Having confirmed how “unwanted” I was, I respected both parents and their wishes for many years, but sometimes, even going to a doctor for an appointment would trigger all those hurtful memories and feelings.

Until 2016 when I decided that I am done trying to hide the pain, humiliation and the feeling that I do not belong and I am so unwanted that I confronted family members, the same uncle that held me in the car that day said and I quote “You could be grateful that they wanted you!!!” – whaaatttt grateful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

They should be grateful to have had the opportunity to have me; remember – they COULD NOT HAVE KIDS.

(needless to say, he is not my family anymore)

My father who had Alzheimer’s died in 2013 – and I looked after him and he died in my arms. He was 80 years and 5 days old.

My Adoptive mother, is 84 and has severe dementia and I am looking after her still today.

My biological mother sent me an email in November 2016 to come up with a completely different take on the first version of her “date rape” – as it now was consensual sex – but because I kept in touch for 10 years only on her birthday and to wish her Merry Christmas and Happy New Year,  she felt it necessary,  after I begged like a dog,  to just see what she looks like (as for 10 years she never even send me a picture of what she looked like) to send me an email which is so hurtful and telling me that if I want her to recognize her as her daughter she will lose everything and her family will never forgive her.

I wrote back and I still have the emails, but to me she died 21 November 2016.

I told her in my email that I am her child, she was not a surrogate (as she now claims), but that she had to explain her lies to God one day.

I am done feeling rejected over and over and over – so I set her free and she can live with this lie until her dying day.

I harbor no ill feelings towards anyone anymore – they’re not going to steal my life anymore.

My perception around my Adoption is

  • Everyone involved was lying to themselves and was either feeling guilty because they had to give the child away and the other party was ashamed because they could not conceive. Either way the “STIGMA” they all talk about is the CHILD.
  • What Adoption agencies were back in the day was disgusting to say the least! How could you be a trained social worker and nurse and not hold a baby and give love to make them feel wanted and secure and not scared and alone in the world.
  • The way I was treated taught me to rely on myself because everyone throughout my life had an excuse for their part.
  • I do not ever shift blame when I make the wrong choice/s, I have to live with the consequences so from me to you all – deal with your part in this and do not come up with the poor excuses you do because you make me sick.
  • How could you justify the paperwork – this is harsh and for a person to see and read that it does not make for a warm fuzzy feeling in your heart – you actually have the proof that you are seen as an “ITEM” and not a person.


I sincerely hope that the system has changed.

People who adopted children, I am not sure if there is ever a good time to inform your child he/she is adopted.  My personal feeling on this was that my adoptive mother and father should have informed me at 21.

My advice is being very honest, open and careful how you handle this matter, because we (adoptees) already have the knowledge that we are different from the day we are born.

We are indeed special children of God – because God wanted us and He gave us all the tools – just sad for me I used the tool of Satan, being fear, and that almost cost me my life.


Lots of love

Nelie Olivier


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