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Elliott, LPCC, NCC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience:  35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
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Yes I did leave a great review and you did help me with my

Customer Question

Yes I did leave a great review and you did help me with my dilemma. Here's the new one that I find myself in, as of late: How do I live now? Such a broken person. I once had nipples, but now I don't, I didn't have scars but now I do...I was once normal but now Im not. How do I move on, how do I live, normally, with such a burden.
A mother who was SO preoccupied with my getting pregnant because of my large breasts, that she decided to let a surgeon operate on me at the tender age of 15.

Quazimodo is what I am!

On top of that, I was cajoled, denigrated and hit almost daily. Where do I go? How do I survive when my mind can't focus on job hunting, much less living. I on my last leg of finances and I try to send out resumes and do what I know to be right...but Ive been diagnosed as Bipolar with PTSD. How can I possibly lead a normal life with such an abnormal past.

TEll me that and I won't kill myself
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Seeking expert counseling is a sign of strength. A personal relationship with a caring professional is proven clinically effective.

Dear friend,

People get over their pasts. You have had great trauma, and thus you have PTSD. You have been severely abused and have been emotionally abandoned. It would not be surprised that your bipolar disorder was really Borderline Personality Disorder.

Nevertheless, there have been, to my great sadness, many innocents have have been victimized my monstrous people or who have randomly been involved in horrors beyond their control.

Many of these people want to take their lives, and cannot bear to be alive, until they get proper treatment which is mostly talk therapy, from therapists who specialize in PTSD and other traumas . You too can be helped.

Your life is a precious gift. It is not renewable and is all that we really ever own in this world. Everyone sinks to the depths of despair sometimes, and it is our duty to overcome our suffering and get through to the other side of our depression.

There IS another side, and there is happiness and fulfillment somewhere down the road. It is made all the more sweet by going through the pains of life to get there.

You will destroy not only your life when you do this, but will destroy others who care about you. When someone your age dies for any reason it is a tragedy. If they die by their own hand, then it is an act that destroys others' lives forever.

You must be brave and keep suffering. You can get help to help you ease the pain, with both medication and talk therapy. Taking your own life is the ultimate failure, and the mark of a person with little courage or strength. A short life blotted out by suicide is not the way to go. You must find a reason and a way to move ahead with your life.

I don't know you, but I truly care about you and ask you with all m heart to save your life and find the help to move yourself forward in life. Don't throw away this gift.

God give you strength. Find a caring therapist to help you get past this deep depression. There are so many paths to take to get help, and one or some of them will help you. Please honor your life, for yourself, and for all of us who love our fellow humans

Warm and caring regard,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Didi you read the dilemma that I wrote before and that Dr.Levang answered to?

If you did Id say right now, what you suggest, of me getting through this seems insurmountable. My life is torn apart and I don't know how to put it back together, if at all ot was together to begin with.

Christ what did I do wrong to deserve such? How do I survive such a cross? If you don't have it , I will happily supply the previous questin and answer on my profile.

Please tell me, how do I move on? Be content, since happiness is humanly impossible. How do I make the transition?

J
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear Williana,

No, I did not read your letter to Dr. Levang, nor his answer. Please send it to me and I will do my best to help support you. Please note that it is midnight where I live, and I shall get to this question tomorrow morning.

My prayers are with you, and I shall read what you have previously written, and then reply with my very best effort.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi again
This will all appear on google search for everyone to see but I don't really care at this point. Im searching for healing and if my (true) story can help someone else then so be it, here is a link to my first question and answer. Dr.Levang did a good job, as Im sure you will, just a new day presenting new doubts and obstacles.

Here goes:

I am a young woman, 30 yrs and African-Caribbean heritage.
I endured severe discipline and sexual abuse at the hands of my Mother. I have survived 3 sexual assaults as an adult. I was never able to fully realize why they didn't and still don't seem to bother me as much as the "washing" I received from an infant (which, arguably is normal to be washed as an infant) till the mature age of about 12 or so. I can't exactly remember when it stopped because I blocked it out.

In my culture, parents are regarded as demi-gods. Parents always know what's best, XXXXX XXXXX told as an infant till your dying day. So therefore they are not to be questioned or disobeyed. In effect, when I tried to assert my independence and my right to not be touched, I was told that I had to succumb and allow myself to be "washed" by whomever wanted to do so. When I confided in a female relative (who was not subjected to this inappropriate washing), she only laughed at me. I can type this, but I can barely articulate it. On nights when I can't sleep, I have constant flashbacks. I have a repulsion, sometimes toward sex and other times I yearn for it. I suppose you could say I have an ambivalent relationship to sex.

Discipline was dished out almost daily. I was a bubble-wrapped kid, who was made to kneel down and whipped with belts, 2x4 pieces of wood or whatever else she could get her hands on. I have a permanent scar on my chest, from the last beating I got at 17. Wunderbar! I don't want to talk about this part too much because, painfully my Mother could not remember why she lost her temper. I dunno if it was psychosis or what. At 13 I was beaten, slapped and yelled at in front of my peers. To this day, there are people who will recount that embarassing day to my face to humiliate me. People humiliate me and I say absolutely nothing, why am I so scared of people and confrontational situations. Im so lonely, still to this day, I find myself spending eons of time at home alone, cause I don't want to have to deal with people and their asnine behaviour, without any empathy when I tell them what Ive been through.

What I do know is at this moment, I am angry. I have a rage in me, from all that was done to me and yes I'm willing to leave it in the past, albeit, its affecting my present and playing a part that I don't want it to play such a huge part. Please help me! Teach me how to speak up for myself. Teach me how and when to "put" people in their place.

Ciao

In short, things are so bad with me right now, all i can think of is suicide. To permanently escape this living hell, the flashbacks, the poor relationship partners ive had in the past (emotionally abusive), having to figure out who I am (at 30 no doubt) and finding the courage to speak up for myself. Im defensive, moody and cranky all the time. All of these traits are against my nature. Everyone knows me to be jovial and very charming. not the past few months, I haven't been.
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
http://www.justanswer.com/mental-health/6mtnl-young-woman-30-yrs-african-caribbean-heritage.html
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Dear Williana,

I have read your letter (but not the link, not yet). I will read it, sleep on it, and get back to you. Please wait for my answer even if an interloper tries to answer ahead of me.

I do know that you are a highly articulate person of great intelligence and great ability with words. You are much too valuable to waste yourself on suicide, depression, or the many debilitating symptoms of PTSD, which can be cured with talk therapy, and perhaps a few adjunctive medications for depression and panic attacks, if you have those. (They are very typical with PTSD).

I will get back with you tomorrow and try to come up with something positive and useful that you will find productive and not just empty nice words. I do want to help.

Warm regards,

Elliott
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
OK thank you very much.
I understand its late and I very much look forward to speaking with you tomorrow. Please I ask that you help me hide my true identtity and refrain from using my real name.

A plus tard

W
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Bon jour chere amie,

J'espere que tous va bien ce matin.

I have read and reread your entry, and your correspondence with Dr. Levang, who gave you excellent advice and genuine encouragement.

You have to get the notion of suicide out of your head. You are much too valuable a person for the world to lose. There are potential friends and perhaps a real mate or partner for you, that you have yet to meet, because you are still in need of gaining the self-assurance that you need.

As far as standing up for yourself and not letting yourself be pushed around, you need some assertiveness training. I believe that, as a woman of intellect, you could learn from these two books:

Too Nice for Your Own Good: How to Stop Making 9 Self-Sabotaging Mistakes by Duke Robinson

AND

The Assertiveness Workbook: How to Express Your Ideas and Stand Up for Yourself at Work and in Relationships by Randy J. Paterson

These two life-changing books are available at www.amazon.ca and elsewhere
Dr. Levang was very impressed with you, as am I. Despite your pain and the anger that you feel, you are able to maintain very clear and rational thinking, recognize and accept good advice, and not let your vision be blinded by the emotions and low self-esteem that you feel. This takes an exeptional person and it means that you have the intelligence and clarity to break through all of the ties of the past.

I was part of a psychodrama group in Europe, many years ago - the Swiss-based Treteaux Libres de Geneve, using sounds and touch (not really talk) that helped the body and mind integrate. There are places in the brain that need to be awakened and they do not need words to reach.

The work we did was parallel but independent of the work done by Pesso Boyden, who have refined this technique into an art. I back up Dr. Levang's thoughts about following this technique. Go to the website he recommended, www.pbsp.com, and go through all of the nooks and crannies of the site, especially the videos.

The movie that features PBSP, "State of Mind: Healing Trauma" is superb. Perhaps you can rent it or get it through a CanadXXXXX XXXXXbrary, as it is too expensive (US$298.00), available at:

http://icarusfilms.com/new2010/som.html


If you can get into as PBSP group then you could use the opportunity to create an "alternative mother" - an ideal one to replace the one that let you down. This one would never let you down and you can learn to replace the old one with the new. Some therapists (as I do with my background of psychodrama) employ role playing and encourage group participation in order to create new patterns of interaction within ourselves.

There are no PBSP centers in Canada, but there are some in norther USA just below the border, which might interest you. They are:

North Central Psychomotor Society
Jim Amundsen, Ph.D.
2388 University Ave, #201
St. Paul, MN 55114
Tel:(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr/>

New England Center for PBSP
Katherine Stevens Westmoreland, M.S., M.Ed.
5 Nasons Court
Suite #6
Kennebunk, ME 04043
Tel:(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr/>

and the home base:

Pesso Boyden System Psychomotor
Diane Boyden-Pesso and Albert Pesso
780 Boylston Street
Boston, MA 02199
Tel:(NNN) NNN-NNNNbr/>www.pbsp.com

I would love to be able to do more for you, but I cannot give you therapy on line, only encourage you. You are quite exceptional and need to stop making bad choices about the men you hang out with.

Not contacting your mother is fine until you feel so much strength and control that you can, with grace, be immune from her control. Since she tries to hurt you with words, you are better off without her. You need to replace her, either in your mind, or with new figures. I volunteer in a nursing home and there you can meet some remarkable, loving, and accepting people who can become significant and dear in your life. Be a little patient and they will let you in, and you will let them in.

I wish you great success. I will also contact JA and ask them to remove your name that I wrote in to an earlier text.

Warmest regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Elliott, LPCC, NCC, Psychotherapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 7662
Experience: 35 years of experience as a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor, National Certified Counselor and a college professor.
Elliott, LPCC, NCC and 3 other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Elliott, LPCC, NCC replied 2 years ago.
Thank you so much. I appreciate who you are - a very lovely and valuable person.

I have written to JA to get your name XXXXXXed out and they will do it.

Warm regards,

Elliott Sewell, LPCC, NCC, CCMHC
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Hi again
Please have my first name removed. It is unique and very revealing...

What I forgot to mention is that I was made to undergo plastic surgery for a breast reduction at 15 yrs of age and now bear the scars, after all these years, from having had keloids where the incision was made. Especially around the nipple area.
This ordeal has been the source of much emotional distress for me. At times I am able to go ahead with my days, but sometimes the mind wanders, especially when watching a film with romantic subtext and a tremendous sadness washes over me. That's what I meant when I said Quazimodo - I feel like my apartment is the Cathedral of notre Dame. If I could I would stay there all day and night and rarely venture out.

Job hunting is a joke. I can barely do that, because Im SO caught up with strange feelings of being overwhlemed. Not sure if its the BP disorder acting out in response to all this stress or what, but I become frozen and find it hard to move on, although I know I should.

Any pointers?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.
Relist: Answer came too late.
I added another question more than 16 hours ago and the previous therapist has not bother to respond. I need someone else to weigh in on this issue
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

You've experienced a tremendous amount of trauma, and it's completely understandable that you would have so much sadness and difficulty.

The first thing to do is to keep in mind that the trauma is going to affect all of your current relationships, even brief, on-line relationships like you had with Elliott.

One important skill that you can work on is to learn how to look at current situations realistically (for what they are) rather than looking at them through the grid or lens of how you have been hurt.

This is only a very, very small example --but I'm hoping you'll be able to apply it to other interactions in your life.

Please re-read over the transcript that you had with Elliott and really notice how he has responded to you-- was it very caring and supportive? Or dismissive? Did he give you short, curt responses, or thoughtful ones that took time?

Then ask yourself "How did I feel at the time he was helping me?" Some of the clues about that are written right in your responses.

After that, ask yourself, "How do I feel about Elliott right now?"

I'm guessing you're not too happy with him based on the reason for your re-list:

"I added another question more than 16 hours ago and the previous therapist has not bother to respond."

I am wondering if you feel abandoned by Elliott because he has not responded to you in more than 16 hours. If I am right, then you are looking at him through the grid of your trauma, not the grid of reality (which is what I had you do first).

Now -- list all the reasons you can think of that perhaps Elliott has not responded. Which reasons are realistic (not personal to you but can explain why he hasn't responded) vs. which ones come through the grid of your past hurts ?

An excellent book for you to get is: Growing Beyond Survival: a Self-Help Toolkit for Managing Traumatic Stress

http://amzn.to/N7xrKI

This book can help you determine when you are seeing current relationships through the grid of trauma.

It's a long road that can only be taken one small step at a time, with great care, compassion, and patience for yourself.

Regards,

Dr Fee

Customer: replied 2 years ago.
I understand what you've said but the fact remains about my scars. How am I to live (happily) looking the way that I do? Its affected me more than I care to relay online for fear of divulging my true identity.

I suppose a further reason for my dissatisfaction is that Im endlesslessly looking for therapy, but seem to be encountering dead ends. Ive always considered myself a Realist, so your response gives me a lot to think about in regard to that. It seems I also have a lot of reading to do too.

Ciao
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

Hi --I think the scars are a challenge to address because they are physical reminders, even if you can manage to "forget" for just a moment.

Two thoughts: I don't think you will find satisfactory therapy on the internet -- it is far too limiting in many ways. It can be a great way to start to make human connections, but they can't go as in-depth as you do in person --plus as we say in numerous places, this site provides "information," and not "therapy."

You really do need to pursue long term in person therapy --I know you can not be anonymous there, but when you see a professional, we are mandated to keep your confidentiality -we can't reveal to anyone who you are or any details of your life without your written permission. The only exceptions are imminent intent to harm one's self or another (so not I "feel" like doing it, but I am 'going to do it now" type of thing), suspicion of child abuse (current children), and elder abuse. Everything else must be kept private.

Yes, I know you've been given a lot of reading --I will give you something else --that could help with your scars -- EMDR (www.emdr.com) It's a therapy to help re-process trauma so that the effects are not so "current." You don't forget, you still feel sad, but it does help not have the past be so very, very "present." It's possible that EMDR could help you look at your scars and feel sad but not disfigured. You will still get angry but hopefully not paralyzed.

It sounds like you've made a good start --and yes, I do think there can be a lot of dead-ends and re-lists before one gets on a more straight road towards healing, but hopefully even with those you've gained something.

Keep at it --you sound like a woman of determination and fortitude.

Regards,

Dr Fee

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