How PTSD affects me. - Living With Schizophrenia

January 18, 2008

How PTSD affects me.

I am a survivor of physical, psychological, emotional and sexual violence.

First, I must say that the medication I take for both depression and PTSD helps immensely. It's Zoloft. Most of my PTSD symptoms have disappeared. I still get nightmares and have trouble with sleeping, especially due to the disturbing dreams I sometimes have.

I was re-experiencing symptoms for a long time. I was raped repeatedly when I was eight. I would have frequent memories of that. I never forgot those nights when my babysitter would come over and rape me. I get intense memories of him telling me that his sputum came from me, and of me having to clean it off of myself. I was mystified by it. I always get a sense of horror when I remember that. I also could not forget that I could not breathe when he was on top of me, and therefore could not cry out. I have vivid memories of his french kisses too, and experience a strong sense of disgust, just like when it was happening. To this day, I don't like french kissing very much, although once in awhile a french kiss is okay. I also experienced marital rape, which has led me to avoid a second marriage like the plague. I often felt that that experience was happening to me all over again. I still have disturbing dreams about my ex husband where he's trying to "get some" from me. I hate the fact that my ex husband would ignore my dislike of kissing and force kisses on me. To make this worse, he was a terrible kisser -- like kissing a fish. I have vivid memories of him trying to get anal sex from me. Sometimes he'd succeed. I'd get shaky around the adoptive family that abused me. I still remember my stepfather beating the crap out of me. One very vivid memory is of him picking me up by the collar, holding me against my bedroom door and screaming in my face. I also vividly remember him telling me to take my pants down so he could beat me with a belt. (Am I mistaken, or is that a form of sexual abuse?) My heart would beat fast whenever I came to Eau Claire. I now live in Eau Claire, and seem to be all right with that today.

I also have avoidance and numbing symptoms. I often try to avoid memories, thoughts and feelings associated with all the violence I experienced. I used to go out of my way to avoid both sets of parents and anyone who took their side. Obligation would sometimes take over and I would call them about once or twice a year. They never called me, and after Christmas of 1990, they stopped sending correspondence altogether. I only got Christmas correspondence from my blood father's wife. I felt, and still feel, detached and removed from them. I often feel a little bit numb.

I still to this day cannot remember what my babysitter (my adopted uncle) looked like. All I know is that he had blonde hair. All the details of what he looked like physically are missing. I stopped enjoying sexual activity quite some time ago. It always brings up memories of either my ex husband or my babysitter. I still have a hard time believing, with all my "hang ups" that I will marry (somebody nice this time) or raise children .
I also have hyperarousal symptoms. My sleep problems are getting better now. I don't seem to have so many problems falling asleep, but I definitely have problems staying asleep. For several years, I had problems getting to sleep. I also have anger problems. I still find myself being irritable from time to time, and before I started taking the Zoloft it seemed I was either irritable or depressed or both. I recently learned about splitting. It seems I have done that with anger. It would build up until I would explode, albeit briefly. It often seemed out of proportion to what had triggered it. I could not contain it. Once, fed up with having to clean up the kitchen after all 6 of my roommates one too many times, I dumped all the dishes and stuff on the floor. I broke the window in my YWCA room one night when I came home and threw my keys across the room. I don't remember what triggered that incident. I used to throw things a lot when I'd get mad.

Sometimes I had real problems concentrating, especially when I had to memorize stuff, and I would often startle easily when I was concentrating on something.

I also have a lot of the problems that come with PTSD. It affected my sense of self. For a long time I felt helpless, especially when I'd get involved with another sexually abusive man, and I'd have a hard time taking the initiative to get out of bad relationships. When I was a lot younger, I used to blame myself, but I learned slowly how not to do that. I felt very alien compared to other people. I often felt much older, and believed myself to have lived several lifetimes. For a long time I really believed in past lives and that I could remember bits and pieces of them. On the other hand, It took me until just recently to believe that I was an adult. I often felt like I hadn't reached adulthood yet.

I had distorted views of the perpetrators too. I suppose I still am a little preoccupied with the idea that my uncle is my uncle. I don't know what to make of my old relationships to the perpetrators. Perhaps I shouldn't make much of it at all.... For awhile I felt grateful to my uncle, my stepfather, and my ex husband for showing me what men are really like, and for not being worse. I loved them, which is called the "Stockholm syndrome." I like to think I'm over those feelings now. For awhile I believed my relationship with my ex husband was karmic -- that I had abused him as a man abuses a woman in a past life. He told me we were soulmates and I believed him. I bought all of their ideas about sissies, and magic, and other things hook line and sinker. It took much soul searching after the fact to realize they were liars, and that my stepfather was a racist (not to mention very sexist.)

These experiences caused me to lose a lot of my faith in the good nature of most human beings, as well as God/dess. I despaired for a long time that I would never find a good man to be mine or that I would find love. At least, until I became comfortable with being alone.

My learned helplessness caused me to feel trapped in several sexually abusive "relationships" with men. I always went back for more, or would call these men again asking for a second "date." It would take mental gymnastics on my part to escape from these "relationships." I had a limited view of others. I saw my best friend as a rescuer -- she helped me escape from the marriage from hell. I suppose I put her on a pedestal. She had a beautiful daughter, but she is a drug addict. She did love me, and I'm sure she still loves me. But the drugs get in the way. I also saw her as a victim. Her husband was as abusive as mine. I saw perpetrators everywhere for awhile. I had difficulty coping with my anxiety. I often, especially while stoned, was extremely anxious, and avoided men like the plague.

I think all the visions I had of children I knew being sexually abused was a combination of my schizophrenia and my PTSD. For years I'd have invasive visions of sexual abuse of others. Some of these visions I beleved were real. These visions would make me extremely angry, since I couldn't stop them. And I'd feel guilty for seeing them.

Depression and suicidal thoughts were common for me since I lost my mother at four years old. It's hard for me to believe it was all a chemical imbalance. I think my problems are a combination of environmental and biological factors. The fact that my depression went untreated for about 25 years may have caused my schizophrenia. I did not believe it was a chemical imbalance at all for years; I thought it could be blamed entirely on the abuse. I did not believe, until I tried Zoloft, that medication could help me with that at all, but it did, and for that I am very grateful to God/dess and science.

January 18, 2008

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About This Post

This page contains a single entry by Theresa posted on January 18, 2008 4:24 AM.

Becoming Homeless was the previous post in this blog.

How I Got PTSD: Part 1, Peggy and Steve is the next post in this blog.

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