Sorting out the symptoms of my illnesses.... - Living With Schizophrenia

September 20, 2007

Sorting out the symptoms of my illnesses....

I've been diagnosed with four illnesses (that I agree with.) PTSD, chronic depression, paranoid schizophrenia, and chemical dependency. For some reason, I keep trying to sort out what symptoms went with which illness. Maybe I do this so I understand each one better.

I believe the depression started with the rapes that happened to me when I was eight years old. I had many incidents that happened in childhood that fed the depression. When I was raped by my adopted uncle, Jim, I was still in mourning for my mother. She died when I was almost four. My depression went untreated from 1978 to 2002. It was also undiagnosed until 1998. I spent most of my childhood crying. I rationalized this. I blamed my stepmother, who was mean, but still should not have caused so much crying. She used to make fun of me for crying so much. I believe she is a drug addict, and that's why she was so out of touch with compassion and her own feelings.

No matter what I did to feel better, nothing worked. I tried Buddhism, Wicca, Native American and Celtic Shamanism, and Christianity. I tried herbs, and the only combination of herbs that worked temporarily was Bach's Rescue Remedy. The Rescue Remedy, unfortunately, was out of my budget most of the time. It's a little bit expensive. I tried serving others as selflessly as I could, doing as many good deeds as I could. I graduated from community college. I even tried a few drugs, like marijuana, acid, mushrooms, and alcohol. The alcohol just made me sick, and tripping on mushrooms and acid led to some scary places. Up until 1995, marijuana only made me really quiet and withdrawn. None of these relieved my depression. I did stop crying all the time after I left my parents house, but I had the other symptoms of depression: low energy, sleeping too much, suicidal ideation, and feeling sad all the time.

I thought about suicide constantly, but never tried until the state of Montana took my daughter from me in 1998. I knew I was depressed, but had no faith in pills, so it went untreated. I wasn't even sure how to access the mental health system, lacked the motivation to look into it, and had no intention of confessing my "secret" desire to kill myself. I had been suffering from low grade paranoia most of the time too. I felt persecuted, which did not help my depression.

I'm not sure when the PTSD finally settled in. I think my marraige is where my breaking point was. The depression kept me in the relationship against all better judgment. When we first started dating, I was impressed with his imagination and ability to weave stories and poetry. That shouldn't have been enough to keep us together. He pushed sex on me from the very beginning, refusing to allow me the room to say no. He was grabby, like an octopus and he kissed like a fish. He was also fat and kind of ugly. He lied about ridiculous things. He also turned out to be a thief and a drug addict. Because of the sexual abuse that happened to me growing up, I believed that men just couldn't help themselves. I believed they all were rapists, or at the very least, pushy. The low grade paranoia that was going on with me did not help. This sexual abuse went on for three years. He pushed me into anal sex quite often, woke me up with his grabbiness when I had to work the next day often, and would not take no for an answer. I rationalized his behavior, telling myself that it was not as bad as the rapes that happened when I was a little girl. I tried communicating what I wanted in bed, compassion, and doing things to please him. Nothing improved the situation, of course. Boy, he really flipped out when I told him I didn't want to be in his D&D games anymore. This was due to the fact he kept calling me stupid.

I married him to chase him off. I figured he was obsessed. People who are obsessed tend not to want what they get when they finally get it. I was lucky; my ploy worked. He divorced me. First he left me a year and a day after our daughter's first birthday. He finally divorced me in 1995. He did try to get back together after he asked for the divorce, but I stood my ground and told him I thought I should try living on my own. He left me alone after that.

My relationships for years after the separation were a reenactment of the sexual abuse I had suffered. I kept seeing my ex husband in every man I dated. Some of them were actually sexually abusive to me, some of them weren't. Many of them pushed anal sex on me. It was when I started smoking pot all the time that I stopped getting in relationships. By then, I was too paranoid to establish any kind of relationship with anyone, and after my schizophrenia became full-blown, even maintain the ones I had. Some of the paranoia was due to my mental illness, some of it was due to the marijuana.

Schizophrenia was like a constant waking nightmare. I'm sure there's some connection between schizophrenia and dreams. We all see things and hear things that aren't really there, except most people only do this at night while sleeping. I had vivid nightmares. One in particular stands out. It was like War of The Worlds. I was being shot at by spaceships. It was a vivid nightmare.

Now I don't have that many nightmares, and being the kind of person I am, I went to the opposite end of the fear spectrum, and am not afraid of much any more. I kill rapists in my dreams now, and stand my ground if I'm being persecuted in my dreams. Bad dreams often turn out good, now. God/dess helps me in nightmares too, often He or She destroys rapists for me. I often have dreams about Jesus and the Goddess.

It took me a long time to realize that sexual abuse is unforgivable. It's the exception, not the rule, I realize now. The evidence was all around me, in the many male teachers I've had, and many professional men. I just did not see it. To me, it isn't love that makes you blind; it's fear. Love has saved my life.

I still have some symptoms of PTSD. I have a hard time seeing myself in a relationship, especially a healthy one or believing I'll ever have a family again. But I have hope.

September 20, 2007

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This page contains a single entry by Theresa posted on September 20, 2007 8:12 AM.

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