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I know Dr. Krakow didn’t mean anything by it – he just was surprised and did not realize I was just working through things now, which obviously makes a difference when he is assessing nightmares. It makes sense for them to be so strong and frequent now because of what we’re doing – but it would be different if they persisted for that long if I had gotten a lot of treatment before. I made it clear to him that the counselors I had been to before tried, but that I was not receptive or totally open with them. I know it’s my own issue. I just feel pathetic. But I keep thinking how pathetic I will feel if I don’t take care of it now and revisit it when I’m 60. Also, since Linda brought to my attention the fact that a ton of decisions I have made and actions I have taken over the past 19 years were influenced by this, I have started longing for things I didn’t know I wanted or missed. And I want to know what my real life is supposed to be like. I was 21 when this happened, and just finishing college and on my way to law school. I was in a period of transition and had no idea how my life would be, so it is hard to recognize what I lost (since I never had it). I want to get those things back. They were supposed to be mine. I don’t think how I am now is how I am supposed to be. Does that make sense to you?
By the way, Dr. Krakow’s office called me. They are going to prescribe the 2 meds, and I am supposed to go see Dr. M to see if she can change any of the "psychotropic "meds. (by he way -- I'm assuming the Wellbutrin is a psyhotropic med --- would adderall or rialin be as well? I know they are stimulants, as opposed to an antidepressant, but I'm not sure what constitutes a "psychotropic med"). They are prescribing the machine and mask I need and will send it to the companies who work with my insurance. The really sucky thing is that my insurance only pays 50% for durable medical equipment. The machine they recommend costs $2500-$3500 and the mask is $185 (according to internet prices). I said something in Sunday School about it yesterday, and one of the guys in there is a respiratory therapist, and he has some contacts and may be able to get me one cheaper, because that’s a lot out-of-pocket. So that’s a blessing. I was telling this woman at the dr.’s office that, and she said she’d email the rx so he can check around, and she said that since my copay is so high, I can probably get a discount form the companies, as they have programs for that. So that’s great.
Linda also called. She’s not feeling well, so we aren’t going to meet today. We have an appointment already set up for tomorrow, though. I’m a little disappointed, as I need an emotional release, but I’m kind of glad, because I can stay late at work and get some stuff done.
When I put my nightmares in my journal, I was not detailed about it – because I have already written out what happened, and I feel like it’s the same thing, and I don’t want to write out what happened every day. But - are you saying that the nightmares may really be different than what happened? Linda says that I have a skewed perception of what happened because I was relying on my dreams as my memory, and she thinks they were unreliable and present things out of context. I guess maybe writing down the dreams wouldn’t be so hard, since they rarely go through the whole thing. Usually, I just write down “Bad nightmare last night. It was the part right before he used the bottle the second time. Woke up soaked with sweat.” or something like that. I’m guessing you want me to be a little more detailed? I don’t know about the support thing. The fact is that I will be alone and I don’t have someone with me or to support me. I’m used to that, so I think I’ll be okay. I can call Linda if I am scared, but she may want to know why, and I do usually see her twice a week. What do you think?
I did feel comforted and safe laying my head on P’s lap. And she was fine with it. She just stroked my hair and stuff and let me sleep. It is nice to have some physical comfort sometimes, you know? And P is safe and she loves me. I know it is probably inappropriate, but it helped calm me and helped me fall asleep. Do you think I should cool it with that kind of stuff? I know I am being needy. P doesn’t care, but I realize it’s kind of pathetic. I just wanted to tell you and get your input. Is this unhealthy? I'm sure all of this does pla into my maternal needs, just like my view of you "calling me on hte carpet." Is this wrong? I realize now that I have always lacked and wanted that, and that it shows by th efat that most of my friends here are my parents' age, and I imagine I gravitate towards them because I htink they will take care of me or protect me (although -- why do I feel that way when my parents didn't do that? You'd think I would stay away from people their age ???). But lately, I have really been craving love and care and physical affection. Do I need to just resist that?
Did I tell you that P not only has her master’s degree in music education, but also has one in counseling? She used to be a Christian counselor for a short period of time when her voice got jacked up and she couldn’t teach. She doesn’t try to analyze me, though. If anything, I analyze her, but I’m probably off the mark a lot, since it is not exactly my area of expertise :)
I’m glad the shows won’t hurt me, because I really like watching them. They almost have a calming effect. I feel kind of bad saying that, since I am using someone else’s tragedy to sooth me. But it’s true.
Oh yeah - also, should I write down the dreams right when i wake up from them or what? Like, should I write down this evening what htey were last night, or does it need to be closer in time? I htink the details fade out of my mind fairly quickly.
I know you would liked to have taken a different path in life instead of the one you took after the attack. But what happened to you is part of your life. It is more than ok to mourn what could have been. No one is saying you can't. The trick is knowing that you need to mourn what could have been and let it go. Holding onto it only keeps you in the past. But it is also good to recognize that there might be some anger in there too, especially towards your attackers for taking your chance at the life you wanted away.
You describe yourself as pathetic at least twice in your post. I know what you are saying when you use the word, but I also get a sense that you put yourself down because of the choices you make. Resisting therapy the first few times was about trusting the therapists which is normal. And getting maternal comfort from P is not pathetic. It is fulfilling a need. It sounds like when you feel you need something or make a choice based on feelings, you put yourself down for it. This holds you back from allowing yourself to have needs and accepting it's ok to need.
There is nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with maternal or even paternal figures. All this does is identify that you have a deep unmet need to be cared for. It is not wrong for you to look to P for those needs either. Many people who have unmet needs from childhood look to others when they are adults to fulfill those needs. The only time that is bad is when the person ends up in an abusive relationship or otherwise meets their needs dysfunction ally. But as long as you and P agree your relationship works for you both, then it is fine. There is no need to resist it. You may even move more towards it since it fulfills a need. But eventually, you may not need this as much since you will learn to love yourself more.
You seek out older adults to replace what your parents did not give you. You don't resist it because these older adults are not hurting you like your parents did. They are actually opposite of your parents, which is what draws you to them.
No, you never mentioned that P was a counselor. Maybe that is why she is so understanding of your needs. She might be naturally empathetic.
When writing down your nightmares, the more detail the better. It will help us take it apart, see what repeats and match your feelings to what is going on in your dreams. We can also see if they match what happened to you in the past, or at least as much as you can remember. It is fine to contact Linda if you feel overwhelmed by our work. We can also stop for a while too. And if you want to tell P about it, you may be able to talk to her too.
I hope you are able to find some cheaper equipment for your machine and mask. The quote they gave you is really expensive! I'm not sure if Ritalin is psychotropic since it treats ADD but it might be. Dr. M would know for sure.
Good night Shay! Talk to you soon,Kate
Okay - I realize this is a strange question, and is way off th esubject, but I don't know who else to ask - I've talked to guy friends about this a long time ago, because 20-something guys seem to like to talk about this, but it's kind of a no-brainer when it comes to guys. Do most people masturbate? Even women? Is it healthy? Is it normal? Do people still do it when they are married? Is it immoral (in your opinion)? I tried looking the question up on the internet - and it wasn't helpful. I just ended up with a list of sex sites (great - now I'll probably start getting pop-up ads for viagra :) ). Sorry. I just want to know. I don't have anyone else to ask.
It is not a strange question at all and it's fine with me that you asked.
Masturbation is considered a normal behavior. The statistics are in question because it is a taboo subject with most people, but one study showed that up to 40% of women and 60% of men masturbated. But that may be off because women tend to be more private and men (like you experienced) are more open about it.
The purpose is not only to find pleasure, but it is to understand your own sexuality, what you like and don't like. It is healthy for that reason. People can take it too far, as they can with just about anything, and that is when it becomes unhealthy and the person needs help. That would include thinking about masturbation all the time, doing it all the time and letting it affect your life to the point that you miss out on important things. But as long as it is done within healthy limits, it is fine.
I am glad you are feeling more comfortable trusting me. I am definitely on your side and always will be. But if you ever feel uncomfortable about it, bring it up. Communication is key to keeping us focused working towards your goal of feeling better and putting this all behind you.
You pointed out that although you feel you lost a lot because of the attack, you also made some very good choices at the time for yourself. You are right, at the age of 21 it is very hard to make decisions that will affect you the rest of your life. You had no idea at the time how any decision would affect you in the future so you made the best choices possible with the resources you had. You looked around, saw you had few supports and decided that your parents would make things worse, and you moved ahead the best you could.
You did miss out on some things because of what happened, maybe a family and marriage, but you never know. You may not have had those things even if you never were attacked. Many people search for a partner for a long time and might not find one for years. Or they marry the wrong one, which might have happened as well. You also might not have become a Christian if you took a different path. The possibilities are endless. Mourning what could have been is also mourning your ideal life. Not that you wouldn't have rather had an unhappy marriage than been attacked, but it helps to consider that anything could have happened. And you are right, you have paid quite enough for what happened. Your anger is more than justified.
That is a horrific message your parents gave you. You are not defective for wanting to be cared for and loved. I could not imagine the little vulnerable Shay at age 4 wanting more than anything to be loved only to be told she was weak and pathetic for having normal needs. How sad that grown adults could be so mean to a sweet little child. I'm sorry that happened to you.
Yes, it is perfectly fine that you get your maternal needs met with P and other older adults. You and P have a good arrangement. When you think of it, people often have mentors and other people in their lives that fulfill needs. You are no different.
Let's get at least a week's worth of dreams written down. When you have those, let me know and we'll start going over what you have. You don't have to write them to me verbatim. Exploring them, the meanings and your feelings about them will help us dig in a bit deeper and see what we can find out.
You're welcome about answering your question. Masturbation may help you discover more about your anatomy and how you were affected by the attack. You may also want to talk to your gyn about it to get her input. I'm sure she gets questions about sexuality all the time.
Have a good day! I'll talk with you soon,Kate
Your mom did give you good advice when you were going to move to NM. It's very insightful. I'm glad she was there for you and considered your feelings.
It made me laugh out loud to think about you losing your Kindle after downloading your book! Hey, who knows. Maybe the person would think you were quite adventurous!
You did lose a lot because of what you went through with the attack. I'm sorry if I gave the impression that you did not lose anything. I was offering another perspective to your situation. When you mourn what you lost, there is a tendency for people to focus on the idyllic version of what could have been. It's a natural response. But it can make mourning very intense because you may believe that you did lose out on the perfect life. I was saying that life is rarely perfect. That does not mean you should not mourn over the possible loss of a good marriage, kids and a peaceful life, it just means when you think about your losses, consider all the possibilities. People can get stuck in mourning if they feel they lost something perfect rather than they lost out on the ability to make different choices or take another path than the one they did take, just as you were describing before.
You should take as much time as you need to feel sad, angry, etc about what happened. There is no right or wrong in how you feel. Feeling sorry for yourself allows you to mourn your loss and focus on yourself so you can heal. Cry, throw things, write out your feelings. Express yourself in any way you can. As long as you are not hurting yourself or anyone else, it's all good.
Being negative is fine. I actually think it might be a good idea for you to be more negative sometimes. You tend to rein in your feelings because of what you were taught as a child. Or if you do express them, you punish yourself. Expressing those feelings helps you explore the darker side of what happened. It will help you recognize that even though the feelings may make you feel bad, they will not hurt you. It will also identify those feelings that have been turned in on yourself for years and help you put them where they belong, with the guys that hurt you.
It was good advice my mom gave me. Which was followed by my asking if they would come and visit me after I moved. My mom said, "probably not. That's really far away, and your father doesn't like to fly." So kinda ruined the moment, but at least she was being honest. But they ended up loving NM and come here about once a year.
Yes, I will need to be careful about losing the Kindle. The thing is, I sometimes take it to church because I have a Bible on there. That would be really funny. Embarrassing, but funny. And you know what? If I lost it, I bet you anything that is the book the finder would at least look through (then deny it). But I already screwed up, because I forgot that P and I share a kindle account, so we can share books and don't have to pay for them twice. When one of us buys a book, it will give a prompt on the other's kindle to download it. Before I left this morning, she said "did you buy a new book?" and kind of looked at me weird, What was I going to say? The title starts out with something like "Getting Off ...." So I told her she should read it, that maybe she would learn something. Oh well, I want to read it.
People are so nosy, especially at church. I am tempted to download some books on sex changes or something on my old kindle and leave it on the pew. I would enjoy that. Last time people were being overly nosy, and apparently dying to know my unspoken prayer requests (duh ... they are "unspoken" for a reason), I let it leak to one of them (who works at the church) that I was pregnant. That was fun. I am sure that's a part of my wanting to control everything and everyone, but that's what people get for being nosy.
I think I misunderstood what you were saying before. I thought you were saying that I may not have lost anything, and I shouldn't dwell on it. I totally agree that there is a tendency to think I would have had a perfect life but for what happened. But I don't really feel that way. I know things would have been different if I had handled it differently, but that doesn't necessarily mean it would have been better. I guess I DO believe that no matter what, it would have been better for that not to have happened at all. I know I can't say that things would have been perfect, and it, too, would have just been different, and not necessarily better or worse. HOWEVER, I just can't say I am thankful it happened and that it was worth it. Maybe someday I will be able to say that, but I can't right now. There are things I know because if what happened that I don't think I should know, and I will never get rid of them. If that had not happened, I would not know those things. And I am certain that in His plan for me, God took into account what happened/what was to happen. After all, He knew it was going to happen. And I'm sure He also knew I wouldn't even plead for His help.
Now that gets into a tricky area. It is hard to not equate God's Omnipotence with Him making this happen or wanting this to happen or letting this happen. He could have at least moved the bottle out of their reach.
I do kind of feel like hitting and kicking things. I'm alone in the office because my legal assistant is sick (she's always sick), so I could probably let loose, but I don't want to break anything.
Since you brought up the expression of feelings, I wanted to tell you something, because I don't want to tell Linda. I had asked you before about cutting. I had also asked Linda. I have read a lot about it, because for a while, I had an urge to cut myself just for a little relief and release. I don't know why I thought it would provide that, but I just really felt like it would. I didn't do anything. But I am having that urge again more and more. Last week, I sat on the edge of the tub with a razor blade for a long time. But I know I'm not supposed to do that, and I didn't do it. I don't want to seem crazy or anything, and I certainly do not wish to permanently hurt myself or I have no suicidal thoughts whatsoever, but it is something I feel would help release the feelings. I know, intellectually, that it can't be and it won't work. What would happen if I just tried it?
Oh gee, I was hoping that your mom might have redeemed herself a bit with the support she gave you but it sounds like I spoke too soon! But I'm glad they do visit you when they can now.
The thought of you losing that Kindle on purpose at church is a hoot! I agree with you about nosy people. Some people cannot help themselves (well, they can psychologically but I won't go there) and it's interesting to see what they do when they hear a little tidbit and run with it. You do have a sneaky side, Shay!
I agree, letting P read your book might help her, or not. But either way at least she has a choice at some interesting reading material! Let me know what you think of the book once you do have a chance to read it.
You are right, you would be better for not having been attacked, most likely. I say most likely because you may find that you use what happened to you in interesting ways once you work through it. I know I have used things I went through in my life that I never thought would prove to be helpful at all. At the time it happened, I would ask God why I was going through it. It wasn't until years later that I realized that someone needed help and I was the only person who understood and could help. Not that I don't wish I wouldn't have suffered, but I also gained from helping someone I never could have helped otherwise and made that person's burden a little lighter. So yes, it is better if you do not have suffered, but once you heal, you may find that you are pointed in directions that let you use what you know to help others. It is a rich blessing indeed to be there for someone else. And although we have no idea why God didn't at least change the situation for you, praying about it can help you find that answer. Sometimes God allows evil for a reason. I cannot imagine there is no reason at all you went through all that. It's just finding out what that reason is.
It's understandable that you feel the need to cut. Cutting is a way to release your deepest feelings when you can't find another way to get them out. For you, it may be that you found expressing your feelings too painful because of the repression so cutting appealed to you.
If you did start cutting, you would find that for a moment you do experience some relief. But then the feelings would come back and added to them would be the guilt and shame you feel for cutting. It is a tough road to be on and once you start, it's hard to stop. The people I have worked with tell me they find it addicting. It becomes the one option they turn to when they feel they cannot handle their feelings. They have to go through therapy to re learn how to find other options for their pain.
Let me know if you ever feel that way again. If I'm on line we can talk. But if not, post about it and at least get it off your chest. It will help. Then we can work on it when I am on again.
Thanks Shay. Yes, I was abused by both parents. I try to avoid them as much as possible, but I am civil with them if I have to be near them. I just control the contact now. Part of the abuse I went through was emotional and involved the vivid and detailed retelling of my mother's repeated rapes. I can't say when she started to talk about it, but she still continues to bring them up. It's part of the reason I keep my children away, otherwise she will traumatize them.
That is why I mentioned to you that you might benefit someday from what you went through. Again, not going through it would be the best option, but you may find that God has a purpose for what did happen to you that brings you many blessings and helps you heal the wound that you have from the trauma.
I'm happy to share if it helps you. And thanks for your kind words. I appreciate it.
No it doesn't bother me when you talk about what you went through in regards to my own experience. It does bother me because I feel for you. I do understand what it is like to be at the mercy of someone stronger and who is trying to hurt you, maybe kill you. It's a unique perspective that I hope I can use to help you through this and be there for you. Please do not hold back from talking about anything you need to. My focus is on you. I had time to work through my feelings and get perspective so I am here for you.
Thanks. It does help to know that you understand. I don't want you to have had to go through that, but I can see more why you are able to help me. Don't get me wrong -- I would trade it in a heartbeat if you would not have had to go through it. But I do think you have a unique understanding.
I kind of wondered if someone had hurt you, because when we were talking about the differences in how men and women view sex and stuff, you commented a few times on how much bigger and stronger men are. And of course, any adult, male or female, are bigger and stronger than a child.
I am and have always been very thankful that strangers did that to me and not someone I knew. I think it would be so much more difficult if it's a friend, family member, or even an acquaintance. I would imagine I would have a whole other layer of trust issues if it had been done by people I thought I could trust. Of course, from what I have read, "date rapes" are less likely to result in serious physical injury. But I think I would choose the physical injury over the other issues.
Thanks Shay. It would be very nice to have had loving and caring parents and not to have gone through what I had to endure. But that is why I can say to you with all confidence that what you are experiencing now may feel like hell on Earth, but once you work through it you will find the peace you are looking for.
Yes, it does add another layer if the abuse or trauma was done by those you are supposed to be able to trust. But there are many layers to any kind of abuse or trauma someone experiences. I have met other childhood abuse survivors and all of us had different experiences. The only common one is that we survived and found our way through. And that is the same for you. You have a bond with others who have suffered traumas because of what you survived. It gives you a unique and deeper perspective on life.
Thanks. Again, I'm really sorry and I feel for you. But I've got to say -- I feel a whole lot more comfortable now.