Sufferer PTSD since 1997 - Sexual Abuse, Suicide Attempt, Psychological Abuse, Bullying, Verbal Abuse, Rape, Homophobia

Leeshee

New Here
Hi folks,

Just an introduction and looking to talk to people who have been through similar things and how they were able to heal and recover.

My PTSD developed when I was 9 after sexual abuse. It was worsened when my classmates found out the following year and cruelly bullied me about being a sexual assault victim. A few years after that I started experiencing psychological and verbal abuse from a family member which exacerbated it. Shortly after that I was disowned by close family friends because of lies about something I said and homophobia. That put me over the edge and I tried to kill myself, I was 15 at the time.

By the time I was 16, I was misdiagnosed with with a very serious mental illness which alienated me from my friends and family and caused me great psychological trauma. I was forced to move into a group home for mentally ill youth when I was 18 and experienced a lot of stigma and prejudice because of it. I became promiscuous and let men treat me badly and slut shame me which really affected my self esteem and traumatized me further. My last year there when I was 20 I dated someone I knew from my middle school many years before. That unsurprisingly blew up within a few months and he and a couple people who we went to school with (including someone who I was close to in middle school) said disgusting ableist things behind my back for god knows how long. My reputation with my old classmates was more or less destroyed and I felt so violated and betrayed.

While this was happening, I was also being raped on a regular basis. I had a mental breakdown shortly afterward, my heart couldn’t take it. But within a year roughly, I recovered to the best of my ability and tried to move on with my life.

The next 10 years were the happiest I had ever experienced. I went to college, I had a series of interesting jobs, made new friends, and dated new people. I also lived truly on my own at 21 until the present. But I still struggled with depression and PTSD. It was during that ten year period that I found out I had those mental illnesses which was a revelation. I still struggled occasionally, but things were brighter. The painful memories of my trauma would still haunt my nightmares and rent a significant space even when I was awake. Sometimes, I felt like I could never fully move on from all these people who had traumatized me. But I still had a mostly active life in spite of it. It would usually kick my ass when I was alone.

So, when I was in my late 20’s I enrolled in DBT for a year which sort of helped. I realize now that CBT would have been more effective. When I was 30 I got married and was busy being an HCA. But I abused marijuana and as much as I hate to admit to a lesser extent cocaine.

And predictably I had another mental breakdown, far worse then the one I experienced when I was twenty. I was completely disconnected from reality and admitted to a psych ward for a month. All the old and more recent trauma tore me apart during that entire duration. I was extremely delusional and very fragile. Thankfully the delusions and flashbacks went away in about a month, but my serotonin was demolished and it took me almost two years to recover.

These days I’m ok, and I feel like myself again. But I still think about the trauma a couple times a week and have nightmares about it. Some of this trauma is over 20 years old! I just want to move on with my life and let go. I don’t want these people who traumatized me to have any power over me anymore. It’s like they rent a permanent space in my head just to torture me. I’m really tired. I hope my story makes at least one person feel less alone.

What has helped you recover from PTSD? What are your opinions on cognitive behavior therapy? Has it helped you? Thank for reading my story. Your kindness and compassion is greatly appreciated.

I’m 32 btw, forgot to include that.
 
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Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Leeshee , welcome! And sorry for what you have been through. You sound really insightful and knowledgeable.

My story is different to yours, but some broad similarities. CSA, bullied for it (everyone at school was told I did it willingly), rape, drink and drugs, homophobia, nearly disowned by family, abusive relationship etc etc. Roll on to now, am in my 40's, and started therapy in Jan this year (psychotherapy with elements of transactional analysis) and it's helping. It's slow. But it's helping. I wasn't ready to confront this before now. I blocked it all out and pretended everything was fine.

I haven't had CBT. I suppose the success of it depends what you want out of therapy?
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome! Hope the forum helps you to see and know you are not alone. A lot of very kind and supportive people here to support and cheer you on and be present for the bad days. Glad you found us.
 

Leeshee

New Here
@Movingforward10 My heart goes out to you. I just want to work on my traumas, make sense of them, and move past them. Have a better understanding and tools to deal with PTSD. Just talking about it with a counselor in the past hasn’t been that effective. So, I’ll definitely be looking into CBT. My new therapist has been great tho. We made a timeline of things in my life to talk about after I talk about trauma for perspective, distance, and to symbolize the passage of time. Afterwards, I do muscle relaxing therapy with her. So, it’s definitely more promising then counselors in the past.
 

Survivor3

MyPTSD Pro
Hi @Leeshee , im glad you found us. I'm so sorry for what you went through. You've done so well to make the best out of life and to try to heal. I too used to use drugs very occasionally. It wasn't a problem when I was younger but as discussed with my counsellor, as an adult the drugs would actually bring out the bad aspects of my trauma and would make me much, much worse. Ie,severe paranoia and freezing (fight or flight) mode.I haven't taken drugs now for over a decade and due to a recent heart attack, I have completely stopped smoking and drinking.

People can be so cruel. The abuse and humiliation that you suffered. I also know what that's like. It drove me mad and made me suicidal. Your obviously a strong person. I wish you the very best on your path of healing and recovery. All the best to you. 😊 S3.
 

lil_fighter

Confident
Welcome Leeshee ☺️ Thank you for sharing, I know that can't have been easy and I am sure there are many people here who have had similar experiences. I am sorry that you have had these experiences and have endured complex trauma. You achieved a lot despite everything, went to college, had a good spell of positive brighter years, got married and worked as a HCA - just want to acknowledge that as it takes a lot of strength and says a lot about your character and spirit. There is no shame in the drug use you did what you had to do and it would have temporarily blocked out the flashbacks and memories. See it as a survival thing at the time to get by and numb the pain.

I am almost 32 myself and can say that CBT was effective for me after the trauma I experienced in my early 20s. It helped me to function and get on with life, it helped me (along with Citalopram for depression) to live my life and begin to be happier. I use trauma therapy techniques to help ground myself when I do dissociate - feels good when I recognise that dissociation is less and less frequent these days. Having more in depth therapy has helped me even more - processing some of the trauma but only going as far as I felt comfortable with. Also training as a therapist myself has helped me to learn about trauma and help my clients too. I would say CBT is effective for managing thoughts, behaviour and allows you to challenge negative thoughts in particular but it is a sticking plaster really and does not deal with the wound itself which can only really be healed with other forms of therapy. EMDR is also another option and people find that to be very effective.

I am very pleased to hear that you are doing ok these days and I understand that it may feel as though many aspects of your life are settled but the elephant in the room that is ever present no matter how hard to try to ignore it, is the traumatic memory and you just want it gone. The idea that trauma can be locked in the body is also worth exploring, you may find physical activity and even body work with a therapist can help to release the traumatic memory in the body. Dance and theatre work really helped me, anything creative is wonderful for letting out thoughts and feelings. Anything apart from holding it in and no longer sitting with what is not and never was, yours to carry (the trauma you experienced). Big hugs and welcome ☺️
 
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