Category Archives: Conversion Disorder

What is Trauma to You? PTSD and Conversion Disorder Discussed

A traumatic event in your life can be anything. As we all know what one person finds stressful or overwhelming another person may not. It can be going to the same job everyday and getting yelled at by your boss until you break. It can be childhood abuse, physical or sexual. It can be a sexual assault or physical assault as an adult. It can be dealing with the loss of a loved one. And yes it can be dealing with what a person has experienced during military service.

Sometimes our brain shields us from the worse of these things. When we can’t handle the knowledge or the knowing of the event or trauma. When this happens it effects our bodies. It manifests itself in a physical way. Sometimes through seizures, temporary blindness, paralysis, speech difficulties, tremors, trouble walking or swallowing. This is Conversion Disorder.

Usually with PTSD you know what the problem is or event was that triggers your reaction. It’s still hell.

I suffer from both. I’ve had people say to me “what happened that was so bad?” or “you had a good family, I don’t understand”. That’s the problem. They never will. Some of my experiences I don’t shout out to the world. The ones I remember are bad enough. It isn’t just about my mother dying. There is way more than that. Things that happened when I drank. The consequences of my bad decisions. To know that somewhere inside of me there are even worse memories that I don’t want to remember, scares the shit out of me. These unknowns cause my stuttering and tremors and also problems with my balance. What could possibly be worse than what I do remember? My mind wanders to unthinkable acts. That is the worse part.

No one wants to discuss it. My father and sister want to bury their heads in the sand and pretend nothing bad has ever happened to me. They also on some level blame me for letting some of it happen. They don’t have to worry because I blame myself for all of it. Did I deserve some of it? No one deserves to be treated as cruelly as I was. But I still chose to put myself in that environment and drink. Sometimes I think of revenge. But how do you get revenge on people who never cared to begin with? You can’t. I just have to live with it. An apology or admittance of guilt would be nice but that’s never going to happen.

Being Bipolar also means I get to relive these lovely events on my bad days. I try to stop it but it doesn’t always work. That’s when you’ll find me in the bathroom crying until I make myself sick. Therapy you say? Doesn’t matter it still happens.

Sometimes I think I see someone from my past. I become paralyzed with fear. I want to run and can’t. I can only move when I realize it’s a mistake. At this point I find a place to shake and cry.

There are many triggers for my Conversion Disorder. Supposedly once a person finds out they have Conversion Disorder the physical symptoms go away. Except when you have a coexisting mental illness like Bipolar Disorder. If this is the case it will come and go whenever you get upset.

It isn’t fun and it can be embarrassing not having control over your own body. No one has the time to wait for me to get my words out. They either don’t talk to me or finish my sentences. It can be lonely. You deal with it because you don’t have a choice.

Advertisements

Jewelry & Photography Therapy

This is my own kind of Therapy. It’s what I can manage right now. What you want to do is up to you. Thanks!DSC01200 (2)DSC01221DSC01200DSC01214 (2)I like to use my father’s clock collection as a background for earrings I’ve made. These earrings are made of polished shell, 2 Smoked Topaz Swarovski Crystal Bicones, 2 Peach Topaz Teardrops, and 2 Black Fancy Feathers.

No birds were hurt in the making of my earrings and despite rumors I did not get them from my dad’s birds. That would be icky. As usual the dust and cobwebs are real and left on for artistic reasons not because I hate cleaning.


If I Could I Would

If I could I would find all of the truly wonderful, compassionate people that take the time to either read my blog, comment, respond to comments, and never ever make me feel like an outsider and personally look them in the eye and thank them.

Some of you understand what the loneliness and pain is like. I have been experiencing it more than usual lately and probably have gone on about things a little too much. I know this is true because my father was gone most of the day and when he came home he walked out on 2 conversations with me. I pretended he didn’t and answered his side of the conversation for him. Then he got mad because I was acting “crazy”. I told him it was the only way I could talk these days because no one wants to talk to me. He left again.

I’ve tried to reach my sister for several days now. I need to color my hair and she has my bowls and brushes at her house from the last time I did hers. She finally texts me today to ask if I want to have a “color” party this week because she has to do her hair too. What this really means is me coloring her hair. The last time I did her hair it was really a “color correction” and it would have cost her about $200 or more at a salon. I also cut it. I paid for all the supplies. She did text me a few days later to say thanks. But when I really need her I get nothing. I’m trying to come to terms with all of this but it’s hard.

My father still can’t comprehend that my hospital stay was serious. I tried to explain it to him by showing him the bill where it said “life saving measures were taken”. You think he would have got it when I told him they asked me if I wanted to see a priest and if I wanted to sign a “Do Not Resuscitate” form. Instead he made it into a game of who has it worse. I get more sympathy from strangers.

I’m kind of scared. There is pain in my pelvis where the stents are, I bruise easily, I’m having extreme headaches and my vision is going in and out. Try peeing when it feels like your peeing nails and not much is coming out anyway. There is pain in my back and sides also. I have lost more weight. I have a muscle wasting disorder to begin with and now it’s worse. My family doesn’t want to hear it. A small part of me hopes this new doctor finds something worth all of this so I can say a big F you to my family. I’ve already been told there is something wrong they just don’t know what. It’s petty I know. I just want to scream at them and can’t.

So anyway again thanks to all of you. There are days I feel like I might not make it. Then I read someone else’s story or a comment and I don’t feel as alone. I’m reminded that I can and will continue on to another day.


Heartbroken Again

I’m going to sound like I am pathetic and whining. At this point I just don’t give a shit. The Chihuahua are gone and I am disappointed to say the least. I’m having a pity party for one. Another day with no human contact except the pharmacy called. I reached out to several people but got no response. I’m used to it now. Most of my life has been like that except when I was drinking. That wasn’t a real life.

My family used to think it was funny that when I was 5 my grandfather forgot me at the car wash. It everyone a while to notice that I didn’t come back with him. They found me standing on the side of the road an hour later just waiting. It was a busy road with a lot of traffic. Back then he lived with us and would always fall asleep with a lit cigarette in his hand. In those days my parents drank and fought often. I watched my father hit my mother one time and she wet herself. That was the day he quit drinking for good. It was the one and only time he ever showed any violence toward her.

I watched my half brother and father fight physically often. The police were at our house many times. We never knew what we would find when we got home from school. One day it was the kitchen table turned over with blood on the floor. My brother was bigger than my father and always started it. It’s still no excuse. My mother was missing that day. She had been committed to a psychiatric facility. My sister and I had to stay with our grandmother who we hardly knew. It was there that I got my first period and didn’t know what to do. I felt ashamed and embarrassed. You couldn’t even flush the toilet at her house.

Somehow the kids at school found out about my mom and I was teased about it. Added to the fact that I was chubby and it made for a very unhappy time. I withdrew further. My sister for some reason escaped the teasing. I grew up around a family filled with mental illness and addiction. The only way my mom thought she could get attention is when she was “sick”. The doctors usually found nothing wrong with her until they did. Lung Cancer.

By this time I was a full blown alcoholic. I let myself be used and abused by some of the worse people in society. Why? Because I believed I deserved it. If my suicide attempts failed then maybe the alcohol would kill me, if that didn’t work maybe one of the violent men I kept company with would. One of them came close.

All within a year I lost my mom, was diagnosed with Celiac Disease, lost my job, was diagnosed Bipolar, lost my 2 Aunts, was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder, quit drinking, lost my friends, and declared Bankruptcy. Everything went to hell.

I’m 6 and half years sober and trying to keep it together. Things just seem to keep getting worse. I know that because of my kidney problems I’m probably not absorbing any of my medications correctly. This might have been happening for some time. I hope that’s part of it. I don’t want to feel like this forever. I’ve considered ECT again but they won’t do it with me being sick right now. I just hope something changes soon. Winter is coming and it’s harder for me then. I can’t imagine how it could get much worse. I wish my mom was here to hold my head like she used to. She would say “My beautiful baby girl, I love you. It’s going to be ok.” No one does that now. I never got to tell her how sorry I am for being a burden and causing her so much pain. Her last words to me were “I’m sorry I screwed up your life”. I hope it was the medication talking and she knew that she didn’t.


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

I am writing about this for a few reasons. One of them is when I went before a Disability Judge there was a discussion about me, in front of me. What was said is that if I worked a full time job like I had been doing, I would continue to deteriorate until the only job I could do is put pencils in a box.

The second reason is that I was a bench worker in the jewelry industry for many years.

The state I live in has a nonprofit workshop for adults with disabilities that was being investigated by the Department of Justice for fraudulent labor practices. This investigation lead to a can of worms that they never expected.

At one of the local High Schools they segregate students with developmental disabilities and put them into a Vocational Program located in the basement. It is here that the students spent much of their day in a dim, isolated area, doing jewelry assembly piece work for companies the school had contracts with.

The parents never knew, the students never complained, they thought this is how it was supposed to be. One student has a speech impediment and some intellectual delays. But he’s a genius when it comes to anything computer related. He’s interested in graphic design and technology. But instead of encouraging these skills they automatically had no expectations for him or his future so they only prepared him for assembly line work for subminimum wage in a segregated setting.

In April 2014 my state made an agreement with the DOJ, the first in the history of U.S. where they have 10 years to make changes in the lives of those with Developmental Disabilities, from students to near-retirees who spent decades in workshops not knowing what they could have achieved.

What sounds good is actually causing some problems. The system wins again. Workers were promised more than $300,000 in back wages. But due to Medicaid’s strict cap on income and savings none of it has been given to them.

I found out the hard way that you can’t make more than $868 a month to get help from Medicaid. With $3000 in medical bills so far with one more biopsy coming up what do you do? How do you live on $868 a month? If any of you have Celiac Disease you know how expensive it is for food. I live on cereal. I do not get help with paying for food anymore. They used to give me $15 a month. Half a loaf of Gluten Free bread is around $6. I have not had bread in a long time.

I think these people deserve every cent right now without their Medicaid being effected. Who was to blame? Not them. They were not capable of understanding that something was wrong. Why should they be penalized?

I’m not at the putting pencils in boxes stage yet. Plus I’m pretty sure they have machines that do that. It was a wonderful thing to hear though. I never want to go through that process again. I hope the right thing is done for all involved but knowing the state I live in I doubt it.


Isolation Will Be My Downfall

Isolation and lack of socializing is the number one reason I think people harm themselves or commit suicide. When you feel dismissed, or like you don’t matter, I start to think what’s the point? Why am I struggling so hard to get up everyday? Why am I going through all this pain if I don’t have to? And yes I do know that children are starving, soldiers are dying, there are homeless people suffering, and there are a great many people who probably have it worse than me. But you don’t really know me and what I’ve been through. Yes I have my arms and legs. They are weak and the muscle has been eaten away in places leaving odd gaps. This has happened in my face too. I am in physical pain most of the time because I’m losing most of the cartilage between the discs in my back. My back is also filled with arthritis along with my hips and pelvis. I have osteoporosis at 42. Also Vitamin D resistant Rickets. I was healthier at 250 than I am at 126 pounds. There is something seriously wrong with my kidneys and ureters that 4 doctors can’t figure out. My Bipolar Medications are not really working because of this.

My Psychiatrist keeps changing my diagnosis. One minute I am Bipolar I next visit I am Bipolar II the visit after that I’m back to I again and there was one visit where I was Unspecified. The Conversion Disorder, Anxiety, and Social Phobia stays the same. Catatonia was added recently and I don’t know why. At this point I don’t care.

I am mostly in the house all day alone. Once in awhile I will get to see my sister when she feels like it. My dad doesn’t talk much anymore. My friends have disappeared. Support groups have not worked well for me. It’s my own fault. I cry too much and people get annoyed. Crying is my way of talking. I can’t get out what I want to say so it comes out in tears. Whether I am angry, frustrated, sad, it doesn’t matter. I have trouble with my speech so this is how it comes out. I don’t blame people for not wanting to be around. If they would let me take the time to talk it would be better. But everyone is in a hurry. They have kids, husbands, jobs, etc., things I don’t have. It isn’t a pity party, it’s a fact. So what am I doing here? Surviving.


Opening An Old Wound

A while ago I was on Facebook and not blogging. I was also manic and had seen a documentary done by a musician that I loved when I was younger. It was about how we perceive beauty and what some people have had to go through in their lives. Bullying, abuse, drugs, alcohol, homelessness and depression. I thought it was well done and sent him a message on FB. To my surprise he responded publicly. I had to shut down my FB page because he has over a million followers and too many were asking me for help. I wasn’t qualified to do that, I could only tell my story.

I went to Twitter instead. I followed him and a few other people. He would respond to some of my tweets. I found out that this was part of a marketing strategy. I saw a conversation where he said one of my tweets was “annoying” and I forget the other word. This crushed me. All along I thought I had connected with someone who understood. In reality I was being used. I went into a deep depression. My Conversion Disorder was back full force. I could barely speak or hold a fork because of the tremors. The stuttering was so bad I would’ve written what I needed to say if my hands weren’t shaking so bad. I felt like a fool, worthless, made fun of, a freak, bullied. My accounts were being monitored by Twitter. My brother, the computer programmer, confirmed all this to make sure I wasn’t imagining it. That’s how bad it was. I had spent over $600 on concert tickets and hotel rooms in my manic state. Now I wasn’t going. It took a long time to get past this.

Yesterday I get several notifications from people who “liked” my post on his Facebook page. He had taken it down. I guess it’s back up. He had put it on the band’s website and several other social media venues also. It isn’t copyrighted so I can’t do anything about it. I just turned the notifications off. I don’t know how they got through when I unsubscribed to his FB page and anything else having to do with him. If my post helps others fine. I just don’t want to be reminded of my stupidity and how out of control I can be when manic. The fallout is too great. I’m also not in a great place right now and don’t need the aggravation. On the other hand maybe it’s good to be reminded how bad I can get.


Conversion Disorder, Somatic Symptoms and Related Disorders

I was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder a few years ago. It was something I didn’t want to accept. I’ve come to terms with it lately but still wonder if it’s the correct diagnosis. I did see two Doctors who both diagnosed me with Conversion Disorder. They didn’t know at the time that I had Celiac Disease. I didn’t know either. Some of my symptoms are the same as seen in some Celiac sufferers. So I’m back to square one. I’m posting some of what I hope are helpful steps for people like me. It’s important to advocate for yourself no matter what.

1. A person with Conversion Disorder has Neurological symptoms that aren’t related to any known neurological condition. This is according to the American Psychiatric Association.

2. Symptoms- Uncontrolled motions, speech difficulties, paralysis, loss of vision/hearing, and weakness.

3. Diagnosing- Doctors must rule out other neurological diseases and make sure the symptoms are not being intentionally faked.

4. Diagnosis of women outnumbers men by more than 2:1.

SUGGESTIONS

1. Trust your intuition. If you can’t find a conflicting anxiety that you’ve “repressed” (which is unlikely) then press for more testing.

2. Keep a journal of your signs and symptoms.

3. Some will think you’re a “hypochondriac”. YOU ARE NOT! You’re responsible for your own health and have to be proactive.

4. True Conversion Disorder is actually rare and often accompanied by other mental illness and extreme emotional trauma earlier in life.

DOCTORS

1. Ask questions! There is no reason why all your reasonable questions should not be answered.

2. Don’t talk about how stressed you are and try not to let the conversation wander off in the area of “feelings” or “relationships”. Be honest but focused.

3. Your aim is an accurate diagnosis not assumptions or judgment.

4. Be aware that patients who raise reasonable and justified complaints and questions can find that they encounter resistance from doctors and Insurance companies.

5. If your doctor isn’t listening find another one who will! Get a second or even third opinion.

I personally have come across most of these issues and I hope this will be helpful to people like me. It’s been a difficult journey and it isn’t over yet. I’m still searching for answers as my health gets worse. So if this can help one person I’ll be happy.


Blue, With Thoughts of Black

I had a wonderful day yesterday with my sister and nephews. We went to the RISD museum. I hadn’t been before but they had many times. My nephews are so great. One is 7 the other is 5. They know not to touch anything or even put their hands on the glass. I was so impressed. You don’t even have to tell them. My sister took 2 beautiful pictures of me with my nephews. There are not a lot of photos of me. I loved these with me and my boys. I really did.

Well I accidentally erased them. I’m heartbroken. I’ve been so sick lately and the first day I feel well to do something with family and get it on film I erase it.

The people I know that are supposed to be my “friends” I let know through Facebook because it’s easier and they all have busy lives and some are family in different states that I was seeing the Nephrologist, Hematologist/Oncologist, and then going back to the Urologist to schedule a biopsy. I received absolutely NO RESPONSE from anyone. Not aunts, uncles, my brother, cousins, nothing. No one gives a crap. My father and sister do and I’m grateful for that. But they have a lot going on themselves, I don’t want to be a burden. I would talk to my best friend but I’m having trouble with that because of the following.

At my best friend’s 4th of July party I learned her other friend was supposed to drop over with her boyfriend. It’s a good thing she didn’t. Her boyfriend happens to be the man I use to drink with for 7 years until he beat me up one night to the point I was choking on my own blood and couldn’t breathe. After that he threw me down a flight of stairs, there were about 20 of them.

I was hurt and appalled that my friend was going to allow him in her house or on her property. I asked her about it and she said ” he’s her boyfriend what am I supposed to do?”. She has been friends with this other girl since they were little but not like we are friends. I asked her if her boyfriend was ok with it because he’s protective of me and knew the situation. “He’s not ok with it but there isn’t anything he can do either, he won’t go out of his way to be friendly but he won’t be mean”. Way to go guys! Thanks for having my back!

It’s a good possibility the Conversion Disorder diagnosis comes from that incident. I startle easily, specifically with loud men, I’m worse when aggressive men are around me, when my father is upset it effects me, if my father knocks too loudly on the door of the bathroom while I’m in it, I start crying and stuttering. I wasn’t like this before. A few weeks ago my dad was joking around and came in from the kitchen and threw a potholder towards me. I jumped so high and started shaking it was ridiculous. My poor dad had tears in eyes. He used to joke like that all the time no problem. I used to laugh and throw it back. Now there’s no laughter.

A true diagnosis of Conversion Disorder is kind of rare. You have to meet certain criteria to be correctly diagnosed. Unfortunately too many doctors will diagnose a patient with Conversion Disorder when they just don’t know what’s going on. I’ll be doing a post on the subject soon with more information.


%d bloggers like this: