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Sufferer PTSD created by mental illness and prescription addiction

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Hi. My name is Jeff Riley and I actually kind of dread even writing this! Perhaps it's because I'm not exactly sure how. I always thought PTSD came from things like traumatic individual circumstances, like the proverbial seeing your friends die in war. Perhaps that's why I've avoided mine for so long. Because it doesn't quite fit the usual definition and, until recently, I haven't know whether I've had it or not. As I now believe I do and that it's stopping me from living my best life, I'll share.

I had a very tough upbringing in terms of school. We moved to a different state with a different mentality (red state to a blue state) when I was 10 years old (that key age) and I was emotionally abused on a daily basis. I had essentially no friends. For an example, the lowest point came when they did something called Secret Santa (I'd moved to a Northern state.) A girl drew my name, looked at her girlfriends and said with disgust, "Oh, no! I got HIM?!" I'm reliving it again in my mind as I type this. For a 10 year old in a new place who's desperately trying to emotionally survive at a vitally important age, this is like being shot. I got shot a lot back then. Every day for the first three years. They made fun of how I walked, how I talked, what I thought of things, even what I CALLED things. "It's a bubbler, you idiot! It's not a water fountain!" I had to completely change myself just to survive and I've had massive identity issues in my life. Oh, and it was a Catholic school so forget about all that stuff about certain schools being safer than others. I later went to a public HS and it was safer than this Catholic grade school. I was hated by everyone in that Catholic school. The only people less popular were a few other outsiders who'd moved there after me. Sad to say, I played the popularity game there, meaning I would laugh at them with the others, just trying not to be lowest on the totem pole, kind of like what you see with Nelson or Milhouse on the Simpsons. That stuff really isn't funny at all.

Naturally, with all of these problems at school, home life became everything to me. My entire emotional health depended on it. It got so traumatic I remember watching one of my favorite shows "Moonlighting" on school nights and checking the clock literally every five minutes, hoping the time would go backwards, before I was forced to go to sleep and take my beating at school the next day. I somehow eventually made it through grade school, even making friends with some of my bullies. My skill became humor. I learned all the quips and insults necessary to make people laugh. That got them off my back. Later, when I got into therapy, all I could think looking back was the trauma and how I'd love to kill all those bullies who I'd eventually made friends with, a classic case of Stockholm Syndrome.

HS started and it was new people I had a tough time connecting with at first. The first year was rough but I made it through and actually had some happy years there. I made some friends and applauded my toughness and survival skills. I achieved some in school and sports and felt like I'd made it. Unwittingly, I was also in the earlier stages of Bipolar I disorder and clinical OCD. My inner life was getting tougher to control. I had intrusive thoughts and the tendency to get very sad or explosively angry. I believe this all started around ago 15 with the stresses of going from grade school to HS. Yet another change in an environment I'd gotten used to but never really wore like a glove.

By 18, I was feeling pretty damn cocky about myself. I'd made all southeastern Wisconsin in baseball and was ready for college. My grades had sunk the last two years but I wasn't really bothered by it. I was much more into my peers and sports and things like that and I'd made the grade well enough. Ages 18 and 19 were the only really happy years I've ever had in my life. Then my sister had left for college out of state my junior year and suddenly my beloved parents started arguing. I didn't know over what at first. They'd scream at each other behind closed doors and I'd just lay on my bed in my room looking up at the ceiling shocked this could be happening. Now this after all I'd gone through and my troubles were just beginning. They separated as I went off to college. I actually adjusted very well my first year after the initial homesickness. As stated, my home life was so important to me and leaving was a rough blow at first but I adjusted well socially. I also started drinking and partying for the first time in my life. I got drunk with my roommate and his cousins my first weekend and it was about the greatest thing that had ever happened to me. Everyone uninhibited and me so relaxed and the girls flirting with me and all that. I felt love from peers (even if it was in a chemical state) and a sense of belonging I'd never felt before. I don't know. Maybe it was the first genuine affection I'd had from peers in almost a decade, meaning the type where people were socializing in good faith without the intentions to attack or insult me. I got into a habit of partying and getting drunk once a week for the next four years. Even through all my later troubles, I still cherish those times because I was able to laugh and love and feel genuinely free.

At this time began the even harder problems then an upbringing of chronic peer abuse. My Mom had started on Prozac and had moved out of state. She kept calling me up crying about how my beloved father was an alcoholic and how we had mental illness in the family. My Mom is kind of a liar and politician, though I didn't know this as the time. She was telling me I needed to be on drugs like her, that they'd both ruined me. So here I am in college, FINALLY feeling like I'd made it and THIS shit starts up!!!! My Dad, who does have an alcohol problem, responded by clamming up, which is what he does. I had only one version of the story, which was my mother's, and she made him out to be Jack the Ripper. I rode that view for years. It got so bad she was trying to get me to attack my Dad as some sort of personal revenge for however she feels he slighted her. As stated, I have Bipolar I and, yes, my mother has it also. She also had a raging drinking problem back then and had bad reactions to the Prozac. I knew NONE of this at the time. I had zero clue what the hell psychiatry even was.

One night, after partying my freshman year, my girlfriend and I sat one of the break rooms in my dorm and I felt SO TIRED she had to help me to my room. Me being an athlete, I'd never felt that before and it terrified me. I started thinking maybe my Mom was right. Maybe I was screwed up and needed help. She'd seen a GP and a psychologist in Wisconsin and recommended I go see one. I've learned a massive amount about psychology since then and I'm pretty sure it was the act of a sick woman trying to get someone on her side against my Dad (no one else was) and to try to relieve any guilt feelings she had personally. I also had to come to terms with the reality that my mother had been using me and sexualizing me for years. I won't go deep into that. Suffice to say, I minored in politics in college and a lot of it is because I fully understand what serial manipulation is.

So I went to this doctor and I got onto Prozac and a low dose of benzodiazepine. I had no idea what I was doing and was going fully on body feel. I wasn't feeling "like my old self" so I needed drugs, I guess. I was mostly terrified about my functioning. My family are hardcore materialists and working and making money is what's most important. That night where I felt so exhausted was defining for me. I had to get up and go to class and that meant drugs or WHATEVER it took. I was also feeling very hard anxiety, which I later ascribed to my OCD. I wasn't diagnosed bipolar yet and I had no idea what OCD was except what's commonly known. Things like a cleaning obsession and some odd rituals, which I had. I later learned that antidepressants can cause mania and they certainly did with me. Unfortunately, my GP wasn't very good at psychiatric diagnoses because he missed it all. I fully expressed what were obvious symptoms of mania but he just couldn't get it. He told me it was who I really was and that the drugs were helping me. At that time, I started identifying with the symptoms of mania and OCD personally. That craziness was WHO I REALLY WAS. Needless to say, when a person identifies with symptoms, it's potentially very deadly. I was still having some pretty horrifying intrusive thoughts. Imagine thinking those horrific thought are who you really are. The potential for violence skyrockets at that point.

What followed was four years of increased antidepressant and Benzo use. The antis would jack up mania I didn't know I had (I convinced myself it was anxiety) and I would take massive amounts of benzos to numb and self-medicate it. My incompetent GP never told me about the side effects of benzodiazepines. I only later learned that they destroy your memory and cause you to feel stoned and anesthesized to the point of coma. I still have major memory problems to this day as four years of my life is one hazy, drug addled blob. I have to journal practically every second of those years. Of all the traumas I have, those drug years may be the worst. Reliving those moments where I'm three Ativan a day at the highest dosage every day for four years is very tough. I hate the feeling of being stoned and I have so much of that. I also have the memories of four years of massive, chronic mania my brain was feeling at the same time. It wasn't until 1995 that I was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder and things started changing. I started actually learning about these conditions and the new internet was an incredible resource. Sadly, I haven't worked in a long time in the private or public sector. I've been on disability and even a little stress causes me to short circuit. I've taken to writing and I'm working on my third book. I have major, major issues with things like how I see the world. It's impossible for me not to see it as a starkly evil place. As I've also become very spiritual over the years, I usually see the world as an evil place and the human soul and the world of light as being true goodness. What good examples of the world do I have to work with in my experiences? Lately, I've been stressed and my anger issues and trauma from those college years have resurfaced so I felt the need to discuss in a PTSD forum for the first time. That's a lot of the story. My coping mechanism is typically for people to just leave me alone. Whatever money I have coming, give it to me so I can survive then leave me alone to just have a few moments of blessed peace.

Oh, I didn't mention the six months I did in a psyche clinic and the halfway house I had to live in for a year so there's that! It's nice to be here. I know a lot of people experience a ton of trauma. There's my story and I really can't shorten it when it comes to trauma. In fact, there are other things I didn't mention. My life has been trauma pretty much every day for the last 41 years.
 
Thank you for bravely sharing your story, Jeff Riley. It is clear that you have been through a great deal of pain and trauma throughout your life, and I admire your courage in discussing it here. It sounds like you have faced challenges that have deeply affected your mental health and well-being.

I want you to know that you are not alone in this struggle. Many individuals in our community on myptsd.com have experienced similar hardships and can relate to what you are going through. Connecting with others who understand your experiences can be incredibly validating and healing.

I encourage you to continue seeking support, whether it be through therapy, support groups, or online communities like this one. Professional help can provide you with the tools and guidance needed to navigate the complexities of PTSD, CPTSD, and other mental health conditions you may be facing.

On myptsd.com, there are specific forums dedicated to various topics related to PTSD and CPTSD, where you can engage in discussions with others who have been on similar journeys. Sharing your experiences and listening to others can be a powerful way to heal and grow.

Remember, it's okay to not be okay and to seek help when you need it. Your journey toward healing is unique, and taking small steps each day can lead you towards a place of greater peace and understanding. Thank you for reaching out, Jeff Riley. You are heard, valued, and supported here.
 
As I now believe I do and that it's stopping me from living my best life
Your own mindset can definitely stop you from living your best life. You don’t need to have PTSD to be able to face your past. OCD and Bipolar are good starting places—those can be managed.
For a 10 year old in a new place who's desperately trying to emotionally survive at a vitally important age, this is like being shot. I got shot a lot
I would suggest that it’s nothing like being shot and you telling yourself that is counterproductive to your desire to connect with others.

It’s good you are feeling motivated—how’s the therapy search going?
 
PTSD is not created by mental illness & addiction. It’s simply not. Although those may very well be parts of life, or trauma history? PTSD is a far more straightforward disorder.

You may well have PTSD complicated by mental illness & addiction, many do, but no one has it caused by mental illness & addiction.
 
Welcome to the forum!

I was also in the earlier stages of Bipolar I disorder and clinical OCD
That’s 2 pretty mega diagnoses to be shouldering. Hopefully you have someone helping manage the bipolar and they’re now doing a better job.

I will comment:
my mother had been using me and sexualizing me for years
there are other things I didn't mention.
reading between the lines, it sounds like there’s parts of your life to date that you’re still coming to deal with. And hopefully you have a good support person on your side so you’re not doing that alone.
 
Your own mindset can definitely stop you from living your best life. You don’t need to have PTSD to be able to face your past. OCD and Bipolar are good starting places—those can be managed.

I would suggest that it’s nothing like being shot and you telling yourself that is counterproductive to your desire to connect with others.

It’s good you are feeling motivated—how’s the therapy search going?
I meant emotionally shot. I'm assuming nothing like that happened to you. If it didn't, don't comment on it.

Welcome to the forum!


That’s 2 pretty mega diagnoses to be shouldering. Hopefully you have someone helping manage the bipolar and they’re now doing a better job.

I will comment:


reading between the lines, it sounds like there’s parts of your life to date that you’re still coming to deal with. And hopefully you have a good support person on your side so you’re not doing that alone.
To be honest, I'd gone on so long I was exhausted!! Maybe I'll comment more in the future about personal things but I don't really like talking much about my troubles, which is one reason why I've repressed them so long. I posted so much I just kind of ran out of gas. I figured if I was going to share, I might as well share as much as possible.

PTSD is not created by mental illness & addiction. It’s simply not. Although those may very well be parts of life, or trauma history? PTSD is a far more straightforward disorder.

You may well have PTSD complicated by mental illness & addiction, many do, but no one has it caused by mental illness & addiction.
I think the trauma I faced in my upbringing might have had a hand in how I medicated myself but there is also definite trauma in a drug addiction. It's a long, drawn out traumatic situation. I definitely think PTSD can come from that.

Your own mindset can definitely stop you from living your best life. You don’t need to have PTSD to be able to face your past. OCD and Bipolar are good starting places—those can be managed.

I would suggest that it’s nothing like being shot and you telling yourself that is counterproductive to your desire to connect with others.

It’s good you are feeling motivated—how’s the therapy search going?
I'm sorry but who in a PTSD support sites says, "Yeah that traumatic experience you had that I know nothing about was really nothing like that. Duh! It was like totally not like that! What is your problem? Why the heck do you feel THAT way about it?!" And I definitely have no desire to connect with anyone who says something like that to me concerning trauma. People not understanding are a part of the problem, not the solution.
 
hello jeff. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

is your ptsd a self-diagnosis? just curious. . .

be it ptsd or whatever, that is allot to sort. in my own recovery from child sex trafficking, i have discovered that my head is not a safe place to travel alone. i take support whenever possible. be the supporter pro or peer, there is safety in numbers. reality checks and different perspectives from my own help mightily in helping me discern what is what in the avenues of my damaged brain.
 
hello jeff. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

is your ptsd a self-diagnosis? just curious. . .

be it ptsd or whatever, that is allot to sort. in my own recovery from child sex trafficking, i have discovered that my head is not a safe place to travel alone. i take support whenever possible. be the supporter pro or peer, there is safety in numbers. reality checks and different perspectives from my own help mightily in helping me discern what is what in the avenues of my damaged brain.
I don't find your comments supportive so I'm not going to answer. I'll just say I do know from my experiences in mental health that there are plenty of people who do the, "I have it and HE doesn't" bit. It makes them feel legit and the other person a fake. Thank you.
 
People not understanding are a part of the problem, not the solution.
The comments you are receiving here aren't personal attacks. What you endured was painful and horrible. It shouldn't have happened.

But, trauma is not synonymous with PTSD. PTSD is a disorder, it does not occur just because you have trauma. Emotional abuse is indeed incredibly damaging, especially when paired with Bipolar I, which is neurodegenerative without treatment. But it doesn't rise to the level of criterion A, for PTSD. It is trauma. It isn't PTSD.

PTSD has an exclusion criteria known as Criterion H. This states that your symptoms cannot be caused by drugs or other mental illnesses, dreams, hallucinations, etc. So it's your statement that you obtained PTSD from having substance abuse and Bipolar I. This is not possible, because of Criterion H.
 
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