Tag Archives: PTSD

CAN I DO THIS?

I started to notice small differences in my Dad after his car accident.

He was taking a lot of medication he should not have been taking. His Doctor never explained the medication to him. You give a strong opioid to someone who never used to take so much as an aspirin.

He struck a guardrail, his front tire became stuck up on the rail and he took out 350 feet of rail. His brand new truck was destroyed, both airbags deployed, the State and Town Police came to the scene. He refused to get in the ambulance or go to the hospital.

I handled the insurance company (not easy), the State and the Town. My Dad winced every time he moved the wrong way. We argued about him seeing his Doctor and he still refused. It took several weeks to settle everything and we discussed that he should get a used truck and not a new one. He agreed.

Next thing I know he’s bought a brand new Nissan Rogue. He had it 2 days when I noticed a big dent in the back.

I told my twin sister all of this because I knew something wasn’t right. My Dad is extremely frugal. He doesn’t like to owe money and after everything was paid he wasn’t getting much from the insurance company.

My Dad also began having problems talking. He kept running out of breath. I told him the day after the accident that he could possibly get fluid in his lung from the rib I could see sticking out. He still refused to see anyone. I called his dialysis place and let them know what was going on.

We were trying to get him help with his bladder that had been ongoing for years. He was at the point where he was screaming into a towel each time he urinated.

We finally got him in to see a Urologist. My Dad insisted on going alone. They inserted a catheter for a few days so he could go back and have tests done. He was in so much pain all he could do was sit there and grit his teeth. He thought the nurse cut him while inserting the catheter.

Three days later he goes to dialysis thene24a0470e843063ac24ede8055779515 back to the Urologist for tests. When I got home he was in his chair unresponsive. I couldn’t wake him right away. When I did wake him he was confused.

He could only give me his first name, he didn’t know the day of the week, and he said the year was 2008 (this is the year my Mom passed away). I called my sister and even though he was mad I called 911.

I should also say during this entire time his weight was steadily going down which I complained to everyone about for months.

When the EMTs came they tried to ask him similar questions that he couldn’t answer. He had a fever and his vitals were all over the place. One of them said “Sepsis”.

He had been to 2 different places with plenty of doctors and nurses who had to have noticed that he was walking like he was drunk, was incoherent, confused, had a temperature, any of the above! He was driving like this!

He spent a month in the Hospital. He had a UTI, Pneumonia, a Pleural Effusion, Sepsis and weighed 127 pounds.

He spent 20 days in a Skilled Nursing Facility for Rehabilitation. He was too weak for any rehab. When my sister and I brought him home we had to half carry him in.

Most people don’t know that a UTI and Sepsis can cause a form of Dementia, there is also a type of Dementia that people on Dialysis are prone to.

I’m with my Dad 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. He didn’t want this for me but right now he’s scared. We talked about this. He didn’t want me to take care of and watch another parent die. We didn’t talk about any of this with my twin sister or anyone else.

My Dad didn’t do any paperwork. No Will, Durable Power of Attorney, nothing. He didn’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings or cause arguments so he kept putting it off. I kept telling him I didn’t want anything that he needed to just do it. Then my brother would do something stupid and my Dad would be back at square one.

My twin said she would be with me all the way and help as much as she could.

She did for the first two weeks. Now she comes twice a week and stays 2 hours. She does do our laundry because of course we can’t go in our basement right now (don’t ask). She also insists on cooking which is tricky with my Dad. He’s become picky in the last few years.

I don’t know how he went from a vibrant 75 year old who did everything to a stooped over frail old man in diapers. One who wakes up every hour on the hour to get ready for dialysis because he can no longer tell what time it is or what day it is.

I had to explain time to a man who fixed and collected antique clocks.

There are days I want to leave and never come back.

There are days I’m so afraid I can’t swallow because of the lump in my throat.

There are days I don’t want to do this anymore.

There are days I’m so tired I can’t sleep.

And there are days I’m angry, sad, and feel alone.

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PTSD, Triggers, Keeping Silent And Remembering Trauma

The smallest things will trigger a response from me. A loud male voice behind me at the grocery store, the smell of beer and leather, bright lights and loud music, aggressive men in general, and even the way my Dad calls my name sometimes startles me.

Deep in the back of my mind I think I still resent my Dad for the way he handled everything. For the way he shook his hand and thanked him for bringing me home. For the way he called me a “drunk and a liar” as I was on the floor covered in blood in and out of consciousness.

I told myself I deserved it for many years. I allowed other men to treat me just as bad. Mostly because I was told by my own family that no one would believe me. I shouldn’t have been there. I shouldn’t have been drinking.

It wasn’t the first time it was just the worst time.

REMEMBERING THAT NIGHT

I don’t remember the day. I don’t remember the exact year. I remember the apartment because I was there everyday. I remember the person because we had been as close as two people can be for over 10 years. We were both alcoholics. The only difference was I did my drinking between 4pm and 3am. I never drank during the day and I never drank alone. He drank whenever, by himself or with other people.

Over the years I had seen him be cruel. He had been physical with me on a fee occasions but I wasn’t a small girl and always thought I could handle him. I admit to drinking to the point of blacking out and having no memory of the previous night. I know during these times some things happened without my permission. I only know this by how I looked when I woke up and where I woke up.

I was undiagnosed Bipolar and doing anything I could to not feel emotions. My alcoholism eventually made this a million times worse. I also admit I wasn’t always nice while drinking. I could be obnoxious, jealous, and petty.

I would try to stop or slow down my drinking many times.

One night I took my cousin to the apartment with me, I wasn’t drinking. Someone thought it would be funny to put Rum in my soda. I took a big gulp and that was it. He was pissed and said “You better not get drunk because you’re not staying here tonight”. Of course this pissed me off and I thought “Who the hell is he to tell me how much to drink? He wouldn’t even have groceries or clean laundry if it wasn’t for me.” So I drank and drank.

At some point we started to argue. I remember asking him what the big deal was. Over the years he always said to me “You always hurt the ones you love the most”. And he did.

I turned my back to walk away from him and he picked up one of the heavy oak chairs on wheels that came with a beautiful table that turned into poker table and hit me over the back of my head.

I think I fought back and angered him because he grabbed my hair and pulled me to the floor. He got on top of me with all his weight, pinning my arms down with his knees.

He started punching me in the face, he wore a skull ring. With each punch he said a word “YOU, STUPID, FUCKING, BITCH” I remember spit flying out of his mouth and my nose swelling shut.

The blood started to go down the back of my throat and I felt like I was drowning. I couldn’t get any air and I couldn’t move. For the first time ever I was terrified.

Eventually he pulled me up by my hair. I noticed one of the bedroom doors open and a girl I had known for years looked out at me and hurried up to shut the door. I know I said “Help” but maybe I wasn’t loud enough. I had bleach blond hair at the time and it was soaked with blood. My clothes were soaked with blood.

He dragged me to his apartment door which was always open and threw me down the stairs. I don’t know how long I stayed at the bottom of the stairs.

The next thing I remember he’s trying to get me to a car and I fall on my hands and knees in a puddle.

He had his friend drive me and my cousin to my parent’s home. He carried me to the door where he told them I fell. I kept trying to tell them it was him and I didn’t just fall.

It might have been the blow to the head because I wasn’t able to remain conscious. My Dad took this as a sign of being extremely drunk.

When I could speak and told my parents as much as I could my Dad said no one would believe me. I shouldn’t have been there and I was a drunk and a liar. They told me not to go to the Hospital and that I would be fine.

I wasn’t fine and wouldn’t be fine for the rest of my life.

The heavy chair hitting my head had actually caused permanent damage. I found this out 6 months ago.

PTSD is bad enough. When you have an underlying mental health issue like Bipolar Disorder, Anxiety Disorders, and Substance Abuse Disorders, it can turn into something much more complicated.

Dealing with Conversion Disorder has been as bad as coping with Bipolar. I never really know what is going to set it off. It’s embarrassing to start stuttering and have people stare at you. To start shaking and have your hands tremor so bad you can’t count change. To have no control over your body.

My family doesn’t like to talk about any of it. He admitted to a bar full of people what he did. A friend of my brother’s was there. He also called my brother that night saying “I didn’t mean it, I’m sorry, I don’t know what you’re gonna hear but it’s not true” None of this made sense and my brother called wanting to know what was going on. My parents said it was a misunderstanding.

Two years later he was arrested for Domestic Assault & Battery and was sent to counseling. He broke the woman’s jaw.

These are some of the reasons we stay silent. We’re talked out of it, told no one will believe us or we see that nothing is really done about it.ddc04855251fa6c0f0d2cc95d4f717f1


HOW MUCH LONGER?

I grow more tired every single day. My Dad grows more difficult to deal with each day. The pain medication mixed with anti-anxiety medication has changed his personality even more.

I find myself jumping at his voice and trying to make myself invisible when he’s around. I cringe when he slams doors and growls at the smallest things. I know he’s in pain but none of this is helping me.

Where are my siblings? My brother is somewhere in the state but I haven’t heard from him in at least 8 months. He never called to wish my Dad a Happy 75th Birthday in June and he hasn’t been by to get his mail.

My twin sister didn’t call my Dad on his birthday either. She called after his birthday or said she would. We are having a tough time. I need help with my Dad and she refuses. She lives 10 minutes away and doesn’t work. She did say that her “Mono” became active again and she had to rest. I then find out that she’s at her mother-in-law’s beach house with the kids going to all these events. Not resting.

My Dad fell out of his truck after dialysis the other day and couldn’t get himself up from the hot pavement in our driveway. I couldn’t hear him yelling my name. He eventually crawled to the door. One arm was covered in blood and missing the skin on his entire bicep. I couldn’t stop crying while I cleaned him up and bandaged everything. Of course he yelled at me to “Quit your crying!”. He’s my Dad, I couldn’t help it.

I can’t watch another parent die. I’m not healthy enough. My last stent exchange didn’t go well. It was done May 20th and I’m still urinating mostly blood (sorry for the over sharing). I also have a lot of pain in my back and pelvis. I know something is wrong but I can’t take care of it right now. My Dad is going for Injection Therapy on his back on the 31st. I have to take him. I hate the hospital he’s having it done at, it’s where my Mom passed away, it’s where I died for a short time when I went into Kidney Failure, and it’s where nurses commented on my mental health in front of me.

I’m tired, lonely, angry, disappointed, and keep wondering why I’m fighting so hard.

People go out of their way not to talk to me. It isn’t because of anything I’ve said or done. It’s because of what I might say or do. And that’s the worst part of all.6fdde65c60ad6b93a59fc21b54fa7621


WIDE AWAKE ROTTING

I don’t know why I blacked out. If it was the stress of dealing with my dad, the heat, me not feeling well, all I know is that I woke up on the floor.

When I woke up on the floor of my bedroom it was like I was somewhere else. I didn’t recognize this disgusting place filled with bags and bags of empty water bottles, paper towels, cigarette butts and ashes that had taken over the room. But it was my room. I had let it GET THAT BAD. I kept ignoring it or I didn’t want to see it. The shame of finally seeing what I let happen was too much. I had to leave it a little longer and remember what had triggered me in the first place.

I know I’ve been allowing people, places, and things said, get to me when I shouldn’t. I exist with every nerve ending exposed, my heart on my sleeve, and no protection. I always have, I also replay conversations and events in my mind that I feel were hurtful or that I deserved. (the key words are “I” and “I” am not a good judge because I am so sensitive) It’s probably one of the worst parts about it all, the constant film running in the background of my mind. It’s been the hardest thing for me to control or find coping skills that actually work.

Music, coloring, and research, work depending on the day. With an autoimmune disease, kidney disease, and medical disorders having to do with my blood that can’t be explained, my medications work at different levels in different ways.

One of my doctors believes part of my Conversion Disorder comes from watching my Mom die. Not just the horrible way she died in the hospital but the way she slowly killed herself at home.

She knew everything she had to avoid to stay alive, she knew everything she had to do to stay alive. I knew when she gave up. When she started staying in her room all the time, stockpiling food she wasn’t allowed to eat and not talking to anyone.

At the time I was working 60 hours a week and trying to maintain my alcoholism.

My mom was never thin but started to gain weight rapidly. This made it harder for her to breathe and put stress on her heart. Her bones were brittle and weak from chemo and radiation she had 7 years before. We were so lucky she even survived, most people don’t. I don’t know what it was that made her give up after fighting so hard previously.

When she fractured her back it was the beginning of the end. She would lose control of her bladder and bowels. She cried, moaned and screamed in pain all night long. Nothing we or the doctors did gave her any relief. They decided to do surgery even though she wasn’t healthy enough for it.

She made it through the surgery but the weight gain and immobility made it so hard for her to breathe she felt like she was suffocating. It was her biggest fear.

I now see some of the same behavior in my Dad and it scares me. It’s the opposite with him, he’s lost a lot of weight and does too much. He has old fractures in his back that he chose to ignore over the years. This time his sciatic nerve is being compressed so he can’t ignore it. He’s fallen down numerous times and doesn’t tell me unless I see blood and bruises. Yesterday he was stuck on the pavement of our driveway for over an hour bleeding from a large wound on his arm. He fell out of his truck coming back from dialysis.

He refuses to go to the hospital.

I called my twin sister to let her know what was going on and I might be taking him to the ER. She never called or texted back. Once again I’m left to deal with watching a parent die. Only this time I don’t think I’ll handle it at all.

My Dad and I are close. I told my Mom everything but my Dad and I have a lot in common. When I quit drinking for the last time he watched movies I know he had no interest in, same with TV shows, just to keep me company. He’s never given up on me. It’s only been these last 2 years that we’ve really argued and that’s due to both of our illnesses.

I want to live my own life.

I’m just not sure if I deserve to.

I destroy everything around me or they leave.


A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO SHAME

I know I’ve gone overboard with Social Media over the last 6 months. I usually think before I type but I haven’t done that in awhile. When I realize what I’ve written doesn’t sound right so I try to delete it but sometimes I can’t.

I made a comment on an Instagram post that I guess came across as odd. Someone replied “Are you okay?”. When I read it in my Notifications I had no idea why anyone would ask me that. Then I went to the comment.

I did sound manic and all over the place. I was embarrassed and ashamed. I then noticed another person had replied and I felt angry on top of everything else.

The woman is supposedly a “Mental Health Counselor” and she suggested I should “take a Holistic Approach to your mental illness instead of dangerous medications”.

I wanted to respond but since I am now back on the correct dose of medication I knew that it wasn’t worth it and it wasn’t right to have a discussion on someone else’s Instagram page. I let the matter go.

NEED TO KNOW

I don’t want to give a history of my health to every single person in order to explain my emotions, behavior, mood, or physical symptoms. I feel like I have to or people will assume the worst. The problem is they assume the worst anyway.

THE NATIONAL CENTER FOR COMPLIMENTARY AND INTEGRATIVE HEALTH

The National Center for Complimentary and Integrative Health is the main government agency for investigating non-traditional treatments specifically for mental illness.

  1. Complimentary methods where non-traditional treatments are given in addition to standard medical procedures.
  2. Alternative methods of treatment used instead of established treatment.
  3. Integrative methods that combine traditional and non-traditional as part of a treatment plan.

NATURAL PRODUCTS

Research is still lacking when it comes to the safety and effectiveness of Complimentary Treatments.

Omega 3 Fatty Acids: These may help decrease the risk of chronic schizophrenia but what most people do not know is that this is only the case for young people experiencing psychosis for the first time.

Folate/Vitamin B9: The human body can’t make this on it’s own, some people with mental illness have low Folate levels. The FDA has approved one form of Folate as an add on not a primary treatment for use in depression.

Medical foods, mind and body treatments and vitamins fall under these categories also.

VITAMINS: Anyone on a prescription medication should be cautious when taking vitamins. Vitamins can make some prescription medications less effective or toxic.

40% or more of Americans treat themselves with alternative or “Holistic” medicine without professional supervision or disclosing it to their Psychiatrist/Primary Care Doctor. Many patients use Holistic medicine while taking prescription Antidepressants which can cause dangerous interactions.

THINK BEFORE YOU SPEAK

Bipolar Disorder is a brain disorder.

MRI scans of people with Bipolar Disorder are similar to each other but significantly different from people without Bipolar.

When Bipolar Disorder goes undiagnosed and the person is given the wrong medication and self medicates it makes them much more difficult to treat when they are diagnosed.

I remember when my Mom was diagnosed with Lung Cancer. I was devastated. The first thing people said was “Did she smoke?”.

If she did smoke, did that mean she deserved to die a horrible death? People don’t think before they speak.

No one mentioned any Holistic medicine instead of Chemo and Radiation.

When my kidneys failed and I was in the ER, not one person mentioned “Holistic Medicine” as an alternative to saving my life.

Mental Illness is no different, at least for me it isn’t.

I may not always be able to edit myself online but face to face it’s much easier.

It’s easier because I never really talk to anyone. When I get the chance I get too excited and I start to stutter. The shame and embarrassment kicks in.

I would like to know 1 entire day without feeling shame. I know what I’ve put my family through. If I thought vitamins, yoga, meditation, would make it better believe me I would be doing it. Actually I’ve done it.Zen stones in water

 


12 STEPS TO INSANITY CONTINUED

Many people would not be able to stay sober without a 12 Step Program. I acknowledge this and accept it. I wish it went both ways. I have often been told that I “would never make it without a program”. I’ve been sober or in remission for over 9 years without a program. It isn’t for everyone.

I couldn’t handle being in a room filled with strangers and feeling their pain plus my own. I’m like a sponge that way. I also wasn’t hearing anyone say anything similar to my situation. No one admitted to drinking because they were afraid of meeting new people, afraid of talking to people, afraid to make friends, or just simply afraid.

No one admitted that at times they wanted to hurt themselves because they felt they didn’t belong anywhere. That they would look around a room and ask themselves “Why can’t I be like other people?” never feeling comfortable in their own skin. Or how much of a failure they felt like because the person that was born with them was able to do everything they couldn’t.

I can’t remember how many times I watched my twin sister and wondered if maybe there wasn’t a mistake made at the hospital. We were so different. Because we are twins people felt it was ok to comment on how different we were in front of us. I was always the fat, quiet one, she was always the thin, outgoing one. After years of hearing this it’s how you start to identify yourself too.

No one told stories of getting wasted and having sex with more than one guy in a night or waking up and not remembering if you had sex or not. There were no stories of hanging out with men who thought it was fun to make you cry or hit you. It was a group of men that for some reason wouldn’t let me go and I couldn’t get the courage to escape from for years. Some tried to help while others made things worse. Yes, I put myself in that situation because I thought I deserved it. I didn’t know I was sick or an alcoholic I just knew that at that time it was the best I could do. Secretly I hoped one of them would kill me and so I drank more.

There were no stories like that. I didn’t feel like I could tell them either. I needed a lot more help than a 12 Step Meeting could provide. I just didn’t know it yet. It would take several more years to figure it out.

Mental illness coupled with self-medicating is one of the hardest things in life you will ever go through. If you actually get through it I’m proud of you because it’s a Hell of journey and not many of us make it. It takes more than one or two relapses before you get it for some reason that’s just how it is. I’m here to say that if that happens don’t wast time beating yourself up. Ask yourself why? After that let it go and move forward. If you don’t you will keep repeating the same pattern.


I REALIZED I HAD ENOUGH IT WAS TIME

I had to leave the house today. It scared me and I didn’t want to. As I was driving on the highway I suddenly felt sad. Sad like I’ve never known. No one took my calls. I then felt like drinking. I have not felt the need to drink in years. After that came the question “What if I just let go of the wheel?” Then a tiny voice said “What the fuck are you doing?”.

I turned the car around and went to an Emergency Psychiatric Facility I had read about last year. I forced myself out of my car and into the building. I stood outside their door watching for about 10 minutes. My legs were shaking and my hands felt numb.

I eventually went in and stood in a corner shaking. A kind woman behind the glass came out and asked me if I needed help. I told her I did. I was stuttering badly and crying. One of the Social Workers told her he would fit me in as soon as possible. I heard him say “She has Conversion Disorder which is making it difficult for her to give information”. He spent 2 hours talking to me, getting all of my background information, my family history, everything about me that might be important.

Usually you have to wait a few months before seeing one of their Psychiatrists for an assessment but they had been monitoring me since I walked in and the Director of Psychiatry took an interest and made room to see me next Friday for 2 hours. They take Medicare. The Director is a woman which the male Social Worker thought I might have an easier time talking to because of some of the things I’ve been through and because I’ve never had a female psychiatrist.

We decided not to let my current psychiatrist know anything until I’ve decided if I’m going to keep going to them. I already liked the fact that the Social Worker was surprised my doctor put me on a new medication that was potentially dangerous and then didn’t want to see me for 6 months. It made me feel better, like I wasn’t the only one who thought he was dropping the ball.

This was a big step for me. Usually I would’ve needed my sister or my dad with me but I’m learning that isn’t always possible or fair.On-My-Own-Quotes-006


BIRTHDAYS AND OTHER STUFF

When you are a twin, Birthday Parties are not really that fun. When you have problems with Anxiety at a young age they are worse. When you don’t understand why you feel the way you do or why can’t “act normal” they’re a nightmare.

I’ve described previous Birthday Parties where I would watch my twin sister from a hiding place trying to understand how she could talk to people, laugh, or even smile. I felt sick and wanted to go home. I’ve always had a hard time making friends. My voice is not loud and I’ve always had a hard time being heard. I was also afraid of saying the wrong thing or saying something that would make other people laugh at me. They already laughed at me because of my thick glasses, my weight, and my skin. I had won the lottery for being bullied.

It wasn’t until I started drinking that I actually had some great Birthday Parties. Sober people with self-esteem and self-respect wouldn’t have thought they were great but I did.

I think it was my 18th year when J. did a surprise party for me. There was HAPPY BIRTHDAY banner, a keg, cupcakes, an entire football team (invited just for me), a raffle (I won a bottle of Fire Water which I drank), and about 100 people in and out of his small apartment wishing me a Happy Birthday. Things did take a little turn for the worse after I drank the bottle of Fire Water but it was still good. (Fire Water at the time was as close to 100 proof as you could get Cinnamon Schnapps that we would put in the freezer).

Most of my Birthdays while I was drinking were actually fun. I think.

I have not celebrated my Birthday in the 9 and half years or so I’ve been sober. I am down to 1 friend who works a lot and has a boyfriend. My twin celebrates our Birthday with her husband and children. My Dad usually forgets or just says Happy Birthday.

January 11th I will be 45. I’m kind of feeling this one. I’ve been depressed for a long time now and can’t seem to climb out of it. My Dad and I are fighting constantly. Mostly because I keep trying too hard. He refuses to learn new things like how to use the new TV I bought him or the right foods to eat so he doesn’t die while on Dialysis. He also insists on shoveling the driveway when he doesn’t have to. My anxiety is at an all time high.

Lately he likes to make little comments or digs. I remember he used to do this with my Mom sometimes. My Mom would give it back to him. I have a hard time doing that because he scares me at times and I have no where else to live.

I’ve been doing DBT for the last few weeks and it sucks just as much as I remember. “Don’t judge your judging”. Ok. That’s a brilliant idea. I wish I had thought of that. “Take a walk outside when you’re triggered”. Ok. It’s 9 degrees out and there’s snow so that isn’t happening. And my favorite “Try doing some exercise or yoga”. If I had the energy or will to wash my hair, get dressed, shovel out my car, rob someone to pay for yoga lessons, maybe I would. “Make someone you love cookies”. Why? So they can yell at me for using the stove? Complain about what kind I made? Because this is what I live with.

It’s almost my Birthday and I’ll cry if I want to.5e507ed572b2cde6eba0358f3836f8ff


A VISIT TO MY PSYCHIATRIST

Today is the first time I’ve left my house in 3 weeks. I had to go see my psychiatrist and get ready for the big snow storm coming tomorrow. I hate snow and I hate the cold. I hate a lot of things lately.

As usual I was called into his office late. His first question was “How is your Crohn’s?”. First I don’t have Crohn’s Disease I have Celiac Disease so that was strike was one. I hate correcting people. I decided this visit I was going to write everything down that has been going on. I also wrote down observations from my Dad and my twin sister just in case. I was going to correct him when he said the wrong diagnosis or medication too.

I told him that I’ve been having trouble concentrating, leaving the house, issues with controlling anger and irritability, and going over past events. My family thinks I have gotten worse in the last year. I also told him that spoke to a few of the companies making my medications and they said that they needed to be adjusted because of my kidney failure. The Klonopin manufacturer said it’s most likely only staying in my system about 2-3 hours. The maximum dose for people like me is 4mg and I’m on 2mg. I only take it at night. He disagreed and said I had probably built up a tolerance to it and it’s only a band aid and not meant to be used as a cure.

I told him I refuse to live like I used to, dry heaving all day with a lump in my throat for no reason. That’s one of the biggest reasons I drank.

He said we could try an antidepressant. I think when I started laughing he got nervous. I have a list of all the antidepressants I’ve been on. It’s 2 pages long. I asked him if there were any new ones not related to the ones I’ve already tried.

His answer? “Trintellix” I said “You mean the one that’s just like Brintellix?”. He said “Yes”. I said “The one I was on when I almost got arrested for assaulting a police officer?”. He said “Oh! You’ve tried that one?”. Yes moron I have. If you looked down at your screen it would probably be listed there. Or maybe not because he gave me a bag filled with samples that the sales rep had just dropped off and must have thought I would be a good guinea pig.

He then suggested another medication for PTSD but he didn’t say the name of it. He asked if maybe I had been eating Gluten and that was why there was change. I told him I eat 1 big bowl of Rice Chex a day and that’s pretty much it.

Then he asks me “How are you managing your Eating Disorder then?”. WTF? I said “WHAT Eating Disorder?” “I’ve never been diagnosed with an eating disorder. My appetite is poor because I have Chronic Kidney Disease”. His response was “You do?”.

He did mention the hospital where he works is doing Ketamine trials because he thinks it’s the same as mushrooms or organic psychedelics. I couldn’t help it at this point. I said “There a little late. There are already a lot of studies showing the negative effects of Ketamine specifically with people who have PTSD or Conversion Disorder.” He didn’t respond to that one.

He repeatedly mentioned Therapy and I repeatedly mentioned that I already tried every kind of Therapy there is including Shock Therapy.

My family doesn’t want to talk to me, I cry all the time, and I don’t want to leave the house.

The only person that has offered any kind of help or support is my Auntie Lee. She called me yesterday to tell me she loves me and that I should come to Florida and be with her. If I had the money I would in a second. She’s my Mom’s sister and I love her. She’s positive 99% of the time. We’re like best friends when we get together.

I think I’ll start saving my money. It’s time to make a change. the-mind-of-freud


12 STEP PROGRAMS AND A LINK TO PTSD/TRAUMA

I recently read an article written by Dr. Marc Lewis. Don’t worry I did a thorough check on his credentials and if there were any complaints against him. Dr. Lewis is a Developmental Neuroscientist who did research at the University of Toronto from 1989 to 2010. He was also a Professor of Developmental Psychology there. He’s now at Radboud University in the Netherlands. He’s had 50 journal publications in Psychology and Neuroscience. His book Memoirs of an Addicted Brain garnered high praise from top experts in the Mental Health and Addiction community including Gabar Mate.

Dr. Lewis also knows firsthand what the struggle of addiction feels like. Addicted to opiates in his youth, it cost him his family, trouble with the police and almost his life. At 30 he was finally able to stay off drugs for good and reentered grad school where he received his Ph.D.

12 Step Programs appear to put a freeze on emotional development (active drinking/drug abuse does also). Groups are known for convincing members that even if they’ve been clean for awhile their addiction is like a bogeyman you thought was under your bed as a child. Keeping you in one place no matter how much you had to pee or how thirsty you were, you were frozen. This bogeyman is patient and will wait forever for that one slip up, 1 drink, 1 pill, that will lead to a full relapse. So to avoid this you need to “Keep coming back” and define yourself as an alcoholic/addict for life.

The way you live your life and your self image is frozen in place. If you change anything, don’t follow the steps, you’re warned that you’ll be back to where you started and out of control.

Many or most 12 step groups intentionally reinforce the terror of relapse. They keep the anxiety alive in order to embed traumatic memories of addiction by telling and retelling anecdotes about how bad it was when they were at their worst or the repercussions of their last relapse.

12 step practice is the opposite of trauma treatment. To plug yourself into a static state of PTSD where you’re with people who intentionally try to get you to relive emotions that have already done damage, it’s no surprise why so many leave the program or never enter one at all. The other issue is defining yourself as a lifetime addict/alcoholic because it sounds like a self fulfilling prophecy.

MY EXPERIENCE AND PERSONAL OPINION

I tortured myself recently by listening to a Dr. Drew podcast where he said there has never been an addict/alcoholic who has successfully maintained sobriety without a 12 step program. Of course this made me a little upset. This is a person who isn’t a licensed Psychiatrist/Psychologist or Neurologist, he’s a licensed Internist. Your everyday General Practitioner who thinks he knows about PTSD, Mental Illness and Addiction. He doesn’t. What he also doesn’t realize is the damage he’s doing by promoting these false beliefs.

I had been in AA for 2 years. They were the worst 2 years of my life. I had not been diagnosed yet but a Doctor had me on Prozac and Buspar (an anxiety medication that has to be in your system for 3-4 weeks before it starts to work, the level has to be maintained). The State I live in is an odd one. The group I went to had many old timers and a few younger people. They would go to different meetings around the state to speak to large groups. When they did this members were picked to tell their stories in front of up to 100 people. If you were picked you didn’t have a choice, you had to do it. When I was chosen it was a nightmare come true. All I remember is the sound of blood rushing in my ears. I have no idea what I said but I remember a guy my age taking my hand and helping me off the stage.

This didn’t go well with the group I was part of. I was told that I would never make it, I would be a drunk again if I didn’t get on my knees and ask God for guidance.

When people found out I was on medication it was suggested I go off it because it was a “crutch” and the same as alcohol.

I am not religious and didn’t appreciate being forced to say the Lord’s prayer after every meeting. If I refused comments were made and I was told that I would fail and be in the gutter drinking again. When I missed a meeting because I had Bronchitis someone told me I better “get on my knees and ask God to forgive me” or I would never make it. Me failing was a reoccurring theme. I went to meetings all around the state and they were all the same. I heard the same stories over and over. But if you tried to be too honest someone would stop you and say “Save that for your sponsor” because they thought it was too personal. I wanted to hear it! I wanted to hear that someone had done something as bad as I did but they stopped him.

There isn’t anyone in these programs equipped to deal with those of us who have a mental illness and began drinking to self medicate. The 12 steps are life saving for some people, a replacement for alcohol/drugs for a few and damaging for others.

My Dad has been sober over 36 years without a program. My mom was sober was 29 years at the time of her death without a program. I have been sober over 9 years without a program the longest I’ve ever been able to maintain sobriety.

12 step programs are not for everyone and they are not the only option. Depending on your location your experience can differ, some areas do rely on the older version which mentions God more often. There are some that don’t. Just remember it’s your choice and there are more options now than ever so do your research and choose wisely.

 

 


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