Undiagnosed What's wrong with me?

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Dear forum members,

I have not seen a therapist ever in my life and so I have not been diagnosed with anything.
I don't know if a PTSD forum is the right place to seek help, but I read some of the threads here and I think it can't hurt to hear your opinion.

Before I tell you the most recent events that turned my life upside down, I would like to mention a few aspects of my earlier years- as I think they might be relevant.

My childhood wasn't the easiest but also not the worst. My father was an alcoholic and had anger issues- though he was not the stereotypical bad father. He wasn't really abusive, though I remember that he often scared me.
My mother was wonderful when she was in a good mood, but apparently I have some kind of OCD which made me difficult to handle as a child, so she was often overworked and lost her temper with me (resulting in bruises etc. on my part).

My oldest sister (I have three) got r*ped at fifteen years old. Though I did not really know much about it, I remember how she got a bad panic disorder resulting in a pill addiction.

From third to sixth grad I was bullied by three boys in my class.

When I was fourteen, my dad moved out and my mom had a nervous breakdown.

At thirteen years old I became depressed (undiagnosed) and suicidal. For about a year I got drunk every single day.

Shortly after my sixteenth birthday I stopped drinking but got a panic disorder as well. Other than my sister, I did not tell anybody about it and I didn't recognize it as what it was. It got so bad that I dropped out of school.

At that time, my father was trying to kill himself with alcohol and pills and I found a letter from my mother, in which she said that she wanted to end her life. So basically, every single day I was afraid that I might find one of my family members dead.

I then worked an internship but my boss was a bully and it resulted in me having a mental breakdown at seventeen which caused an addiction to codeine and oxycontin.

My oldest sister attempted suicide and called me after having swallowed a bunch of pills. I was on drugs at that time but rode in the ambulance with her.

Now, all these things never really seemed important, as my life became significantly better once I was eighteen.

Even my family was doing better. I met my boyfriend at nineteen and apart from a couple of times I experienced sexual harrassment, it was a really happy time.

So, the more recent events are these:

2,5 years ago my boyfriend and I decided to go backpacking around the world. It didn't occur to me that as a highly sensitive introvert, an adventurous trip like that might not be the best thing to do.

After a month in Africa, I caused a car accident because I lost control over the vehicle. My boyfriend was completely fine and I only had scratches and bruises.

I refused to refer to the accident as traumatic, because I didn't want to cause a self-fullfilling prophecy and I thought everything was fine. But something was different then.

We traveled on as if nothing had happened- though I did not drive anymore.

I became quiet and nothing about the trip seemed very interesting to me anymore. Instead, I started writing a book and that book became the only thing I thought about and I spent many hours a day writing.

A couple of months later I was completely exhausted, so we booked a room for over a month in Kenya and all I did was sleep over twelve hours and write on my book. But still I felt exhausted and I was afraid to leave the house.

We traveled on to India and I found the stares of the men there threatening from the start (just my perception). I didn't feel comfortable anywhere.

We often traveled by nightbus and nightmares about car accidents kept me awake.

Then a couple of bad things happened. One was that my boyfriend locked me in our hostel room (not on purpose) when he went out in the middle of the night to see a soccer game. That room had thick stone walls and no windows, there was no wifi and no phone reception either, so I couldn't even call him. I'm claustrophobic and the three hours I was locked in that room were like hell. One panic attack chased the other.

The next day, I felt really shaken and kind of disconnected from the world. My boyfriend went diving, surfing, exploring and I always stayed in the hotel.

One night I witnessed a bunch of street dogs ripping a cat apart. Then we arrived in Hyderabad and naked people lay starving in the streets. The weird thing is, I was kind of in a trance and didn't even cry or anything like that.

When I finished my book though, it really hit me. I guess writing had been a distraction and when I was done, I got a fever and then horrible anxiety. I thought that I could never get on a bus or plane again and go home- and even if I did, my friends and family would not want me back because I was not the same person anymore (these were the crazy thoughts I was having).

I confided in an internet forum before I even told my boyfriend what was going on. The replies there said that I was probably traumatized and that I should seek help immediately.

There was no "help" in a little village in the himalayan mountains though, so I tired myself out with physical workout to help with the anxiety.

I managed it, but I was sleeping fourteen hours a night now and my boyfriend had to urge me to get out of bed and eat something.

We eventually went home for a month and I was so glad that I didn't want to think about the bad things anymore. I started drinking and partying with friends way too much but whenever I drank I was overly excited and kind of high at first but the night always ended with me breaking down crying for no obvious reason.

My boyfriend didn't really listen to me and continuing the trip seemed more important to him than my problems, so I confided in a friend instead but ended up falling for him.

For the second part of our world trip, I stacked up on pills because suddenly I was terrified of flying. I didn't actually take any pills though.

The moment we landed in our next destination though, I was hit by that weird anxiety again. It made me feel like I would never see my family again, like everybody and everything was a threat and like I was going insane.

We slowed down our pace and spent at least a week in one place, mostly lying around on beaches. It did make me feel better, but only enough to be able to travel. Every time we left a place and went to the next, I couldn't sleep for a couple of days, got nightmares and anxiety.

Then I witnessed three road accidents, one including a dead person. (you must think I really attract these things).
I went back to drinking way too much alcohol.

We visited a bunch of beautiful places but I couldn't take anything in anymore. It was like I was in a dream.
Finally, I decided to go home alone.

I had promised to help a friend out on her horse farm, where I had already worked at seventeen. But before that, I had a week at home to see my friends.

My boyfriend and I had decided to open up our relationship for our time apart and without me actually looking for a man, it happened that I went out with friends and hooked up with someone I had dated seven years earlier.

But it was horrible. He was drunk and very rough. I told him he was hurting me but he was in a kind of rage and it hurt so much I couldn't breathe. I told myself it was my punishment for falling in love with someone else and betraying my boyfriend, so I didn't even try to get him off.

I spent about an hour crying afterwards and I was bleeding for days.

When I arrived on the farm, it was just another nightmare. My friend was having problems with her alcoholic husband. She was completely overworked and tried to shift some of her burden on my shoulders instead, even though I was already a wreck by then.

I told her I couldn't do this but she said that she wouldn't let me leave. There was no public transport and I considered running away at first, but she then told me that everything she had built would collapse if I left her.

So I stayed and tried to act as mediator between her and her husband. While she screamed at me instead of at him. Then I realized that my relationship with him was only a father-daughter kind of relationship in my head. For him, I had always been just a young woman he was attracted to.

Finally I had some vacation days coming up and I went to a festival with a bunch of friends. Of course, that one problematic friend was there as well. I drank alcohol as if it were water and forgot to eat and then that friend offered me MDMA and I took it. (Even though I had sworn to myself to never take drugs again.)

After hours of crying I fell asleep and when I woke up, everybody was gone. I panicked and went to that one friend, whose location was the only one I knew.

I cried in his arms for a while and he bought drinks for us. I remember walking to his tent and then waking up underneath him. I knew that what I was doing was wrong, but I didn't feel anything at all. No guilt or anything. It was like I was a completely different person. I didn't even want to think. I just wanted to feel.

I was afraid that the guilt might come later though, so I kept drinking.

Now, sleeping with him was my fault of course and I swore that I would never do it again. I even told him clearly the next day that it wouldn't happen again.

In the next night, I woke up underneath him again. This time with absolutely no recollection of how I had gotten into his tent. I panicked and told him I wanted to leave, but whenever I tried to put on my clothes, he tried to take them off again. It took me about fifteen minutes of saying No to him, until I was literally begging him to let me leave. Don't get me wrong, he didn't use force or anything and he was drunk himself.

Again I tried to flush the guilt out with alcohol and that night I ended up flirting and dancing with a guy. He kissed me and it felt wrong and at first I panicked, because I thought that I would end up having sex again. It took a lot of strength to tell myself "You're an adult now, you can say No. Kissing him doesn't mean you have to sleep with him."
I actually managed to tell him No. And I told him No about thirty times that night. He insisted on walking me to my tent but I panicked again because I didn't want him to know where I slept. He wouldn't let go of my arm and ended up pulling me into a dark corner.

I told him again clearly that I didn't want to and that I just wanted to go to sleep.

Eventually I had to admit to myself that I was not going to get out of that situation. If I had screamed, people would have surely come to help me but I didn't want to make a scene, since again he wasn't using force and I thought maybe I just hadn't made myself clear enough.

I gave up and asked him if he at least had a condom. He didn't. So I tried to turn and walk away and then it happened really fast. He pulled down my pants and turned me around and just entered me. I wasn't really all there and kind of just wanted to think of something else until he was done but then it hit me that I was not on birth control and that I couldn't risk getting a disease and giving it to my boyfriend so I snapped out of it and managed to push him off and walk away. I hid in my tent and cried but he found me and had the nerve to ask if he could have a goodnight kiss.

Anyway, the next couple of weeks were horrible. Guilt and everything made me feel like I couldn't breathe. I cried every night (I never cry, so this is a big deal for me) and the pain was so intense that I thought I had to kill myself because I couldn't take it anymore.

But then a publisher contacted me and they started with the publishing process of my book, so I told myself that I was supposed to be really happy.

People kept telling me what an amazing life I had, with the world trip and publishing a book but I just felt either empty or sad.

My boyfriend then came back home and I told him everything and he forgave me everything and wasn't even grossed out or any of the things I worried he might be.

I felt better and even happy again, but then I encountered something that reminded me of that night at the festival with that strange man and I started hyperventilating and got flashbacks and everything.

I found a job as a waitress and it looked like everything was going to be fine again but I noticed that I couldn't stand the sun anymore. I used to love the sun and usually spent hours tanning, now I kept the blinds closed and stayed inside all day long.

My waitress schedule means that I usually work from late afternoon until midnight. So I didn't really go out and see people anymore.

I got intense moodswings.

I accepted that some things may have been traumatic but then I couldn't stop obsessing about them, lying awake at night going over these experiences over and over again. Once I even cut my wrist (not deep, but I used to cut when I was a teenager). Then, I told myself that I was not working on my trauma- I was being obsessive. So I would try to think positive and it actually worked for a couple of days, I really felt happy and light-headed, but then anxiety would hit again.

Now these phases have been going on for about ten months. From obsessed and depressed to happy but anxious at the same time.

It's like I can't find the balance between supressing and obsessing. I'm always doing one of the two.

My social anxiety got especially bad, I only go out when I have to and only with headphones on and sunglasses. Also I'm really afraid of men because apparantly, I always do something wrong and make them think I'm attracted to them. I think I'm just a nice person, but several co-workers have hit on me or even harrassed me and I can't figure out why.

The more scared I get next to men, the more they'll think I'm into them. But at the same time, instead of taking the bus I often walk home alone at night like I'm daring anybody to try and attack me.

Now I have quit my job because it's too stressful.

At the moment, I am more at ease. Neither really anxious nor depressed, but my feelings are kind of muffled. And I still can't stand the sun.

I have tried to diagnose myself by watching documentaries and I feel like these phases I go through are a bit like the symptoms of bipolar disorder.

If I could afford it, I would definitely go to therapy. But I simply cannot afford it and my health insurance doesn't cover it.

I just really want to get rid of that anxiety and I want to have fun again. Things I used to love are now uninteresting to me. I spend most of my time writing, drawing or reading but that makes me really nostalgic and often I feel that stupid urge to cut my wrists and I have suicidal thoughts way too often. At the same time though, I am really in control of myself. I spend hours cleaning and doing chores and I never miss a day of work. (except once when I had psychosomatic nausea and called in sick). My life is really great right now, my boyfriend is wonderful and supportive but I can't get rid of these demons.

Three months ago, I think I was at the lowest point so far. My depression got so bad, it felt like I had a different person inside of me. That person kept telling me to kill myself while I tried to talk over her and convince her how great my life actually is. I was so scared I might be completely crazy and do something stupid, so I took a plant-based antidepressant for 6 weeks. It helped, but you're not supposed to take it all the time.

Lately I've been having sleep paralysis quite often, apart from that, I don't really have nightmares.

It's really an up and down and it's exhausting.

Well, that was my way too long story and I'm sorry if it sounds childish or stupid. The reason why I even brought up my earlier years, is that lately I have been thinking way too much about the past. Like maybe it wasn't just the recent experiences that changed me. It brought up stuff from before that I thought wasn't important.

I often get triggered by mention of rape in books even though I don't consider what happened rape. I'm merely angry at myself for not raising my voice or using force to keep that man off me. It could have been so easy.
I can't find anything in my past that would explain why I can't say No or defend myself. But in situations like these, it's like I'm paralyzed...

Please, if you have thoughts on that rather chaotic story, don't be too harsh, I already feel enough guilt, trust me. And maybe I'm not really good at expressing myself.
 

shatter eyes

MyPTSD Pro
Welcome. I think you are quite good at expressing yourself. From what you shared I would encourage the support of professional help. Trauma is a journey not to be travelled alone. For me when i lose touch with my supports i get into a very dark space and i am currently working with therapists to learn skills to manage.

You have witnessed and experienced trauma multiple times throughout developmental years. Thats some heavy sh1t.

Koodos to reaching out!
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
maybe you can find group therapy that is cheaper. I also recommend maybe AA 12 step program in your area. If you really want help, you will find it. There is a lot of chaos and trauma in your past and present but also a lot of bad decisions as an adult. I truly hope you find the next AA meeting in your area and meet like-mind. Good luck.
 

Justmehere

Sponsor
Welcome to the forums!

You have been through a lot! No one here can diagnose. Do you have access to a good primary care doctor? If you are in the US, you can dial 211 from any phone to connect to the United Way and their network of resources. They may know of options to get assessed.
 
Thank you (all of you).

I'm not from the US or living there and the thing is that our health insurance system is quite difficult. Basically, no matter what kind of insurance I choose, as long as my yearly costs are below 2500 dollars, I have to cover everything myself.

I don't know if there is some kind of group therapy nearby (I'll check it out).

I'm going to start a new job soon with a better salary which should allow me to pay for therapy.
To be honest, I'm really scared of it because it makes everything seem so real. I mean, I know that it is, but by telling myself that I didn't need therapy I was always able to convince myself that I'm fine and in control.
Also, I honestly don't know if I'd be able to speak to someone (of course I guess I should just try).
Usually, I can't talk about these things. When somebody asks me anything related to what happened, my heart starts racing and I feel like I can't breathe.

Writing things down is way easier.
 
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