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Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4414
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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For doctor Z only,,, hi dr Z, I will start with the good news

Customer Question

For doctor Z only,,, hi dr Z, I will start with the good news & that is that I was actually hungry tonight , I just had a really big craving for chocolate & so I w ent to walmart around 11 which has never been a problem before, so when I came out from the store to the parking lot I suddenly had all this anxiety,, there were these 2 guys just standing & talking by a car but I had to walk by & I think I just had a panic attack,. It was lit but not very bright & for some reason I was really afraid of them, I was practically running to the car then, this never used to happen to me.. now I’m really exhausted after all the anxiety but im afraid of going to sleep cuz its like I go thru being assaulted all over again when I dream sometimes., I did go to the ptsd book chap 6 today which is about flashbacks & nightmares & it said to change the ending of the night mares but im not sure how to do that to make it better if im being raped.?
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Dr. Z :

Hi Lauren

Customer :

hi dr Z

Dr. Z :

I am so sorry that you experienced this tonight, I think because it was dark, your eyes play tricks with you sometimes and that can cause anxiety too.

Customer :

it never used to do that

Dr. Z :

These are called illusions sometimes and these men may appear more frightening to your subconscious

Customer :

it was pretty dark though & not many people

Dr. Z :

This is called hypervigilance where minute and innocuous events can cause you increased anxiety and a startle response, thus possibly leading to a panic attack

Dr. Z :

Its like your subconscious is thinking its dark, there are two guys there, they want to hurt me. This is 100 percent true. When in reality it is not.

Dr. Z :

See now that you have gotten hurt, your mind is in an overprotective mode to prevent you from getting hurt again

Customer :

ok, that is interestinng, that makes sense

Customer :

but how do u make that stop

Dr. Z :

Well it does take time Lauren, remember it has not been 5 weeks yet since the incident. As you focus more on being objective these events will happen less and less. But the good news here is that you are responding to a trigger that we can identify and focus on. Most individuals who suffer from panic attacks do not know the trigger, which makes it difficult to treat

Dr. Z :

So during that moment, you have to think. not all men want to hurt me. They are just talking. I can still have guard up and my keys out just in case, but I will be fine. I will do deep breaths as I walk to help me too.

Dr. Z :

These are some ideas to help you not focus straight to the negative.

Customer :

ok , then this is good,, there is a way to make it better & yeah, it only happened not that long ago,,

Dr. Z :

I know it is difficult sometimes to fathom that it happened such a short time ago, but that is because of all the progress you are making and how much better you have gotten too.

Dr. Z :

Eventually though I am going to want you to confront this panic head on and try some of these objective thoughts during an attack to see if you think your way out of it. It will be hard, and we can do this later down the road of course.

Dr. Z :

But remember right now you are safe, there is no reason to panic now.

Customer :

ok,, yeah, & i feel safe again when i can talk to u, i calm down., but yeah later down the road would be good for the confronting part

Dr. Z :

Good, I am glad that I can help you feel safe :)

Dr. Z :

Maybe you should print out some of my sayings and put them in flashcards to keep with you to help you calm down when you get anxious, haha

Customer :

lol,.. actually i should print them out & post them up where i can see them constantly

Dr. Z :

Thats a lot of pressure on me, I better say some profound and meaningful things now, lol

Customer :

lol,.. nah whatever u say is good as far as i'm concerned., i did watch moneyball btw today, actually i think i own it now since its now in my video library on amazon for some reason, lol

Dr. Z :

Thats awesome, how did you like it?

Customer :

it was really good,, & now i think i can understand your pain, lol

Customer :

i actually didnt stop it once & thats how i rate how good movies are, so that was really good

Dr. Z :

Nice, I am glad my movie selections meet your approval :)

Dr. Z :

So I would like to ask you something and I keep forgetting to

Dr. Z :

Is it okay if we switch topics temporarily?

Customer :

sure

Customer :

yeah of course

Dr. Z :

Okay, I do not believe in all of our chats you have talked about your family. Why is that?

Customer :

im really only close to a few family members, but not really so much my immediate family, i have a cousin i'm close to,,, my brother is their favorite

Customer :

i mean they support me financially & all of that if i need it

Dr. Z :

But not emotionally?

Customer :

no not really, i couldnt wait to leave home & thats prob alot of the reason i was with my ex boyfriend, who they hate btw

Dr. Z :

And they have good reason to hate him more now. Did you tell your family about the rape or is it too soon for that?

Customer :

no i didnt tell them,, they would probablly say i told u so

Dr. Z :

Wow, they would say that! I am so sorry. I just was curious about your relationship with your family and to see if they could be a part of your support system, but it appears that is not a good idea at this time at least

Customer :

no & i dont think i could talk to them about the rape to be honest

Dr. Z :

I understand, I was just curious. I am not going to force you to do anything you would not want to do either. Also I trust your instincts and I think it would be bad for your progress to involve them

Customer :

yeah i like to leave them out as much as possible,, except like i said they do give me money, so i cant say they are completely bad or out of my life

Customer :

i wish it was more than that

Dr. Z :

That is nice that they support you financially and that will help when school comes around. You should tell them that you broke up with your ex-boyfriend and that you want to go back to school, I think they would be proud of you

Customer :

yeah taht is a good idea,, that would make them happy to hear that actuallly

Dr. Z :

I think so too, and you do not have to go into details of why you broke up

Customer :

yeah that should work,, i dont think they will press for details

Dr. Z :

I do not think so either

Customer :

They all live around here too, & i think i last saw them? its been awhile

Customer :

when i was with my ex boyfriend he didnt really want me seeing them so thats not really their fault

Dr. Z :

I know, maybe this can lead to you repairing the relationship with your family because your ex-boyfriend tried to control you so much and prevent you from seeing them and they did not like him at all.

Customer :

yeah thats true, its been so long that ive felt close to or a part of my family but youre right this could change that, atleast make it alot better

Dr. Z :

Well take it slowly, I do not want to push this on you. I was just curious about your relationship with your family

Customer :

yeah i will probablly start by talking to my brother

Dr. Z :

I think that is a good idea. Obviously your family still cares for you by supporting you financially, so I think this can help

Customer :

thats true,, all ive heard for so long now is all the bad things my ex had to say about them but youre right if they didnt care they wouldnt be supporting me at all

Dr. Z :

Good, I am very happy for you, I hope you can really reconnect with your family :)

Customer :

:) me too,, esp now that it is getting closer to the holidays, i have felt bad not seeing them esp then

Customer :

so now i have to find a way to sleep tonight,, after last night

Dr. Z :

Yes very true, what do you have as techniques that you can do to help lessen your anxiety and sleep better that have worked for you in the past?

Customer :

well sometimes i stay up so long i completely exhaust myself & pass out finally,..but listening to music & reading helps

Dr. Z :

Yeah lets put the staying up late enough to exhaust yourself as plan B. There are also the progressive relaxation exercises too. And of course you have the Ativan as well.

Customer :

yeah thats true i always forget about the medicine,..& yeah the relaxation exercises, i have a very stupid question,, are you supposed to be reading through them while doing them so u remember what youre supposed to be doing?

Dr. Z :

You can do that at first, but hopefully they will become more of a habit to you. Here is another link for other relaxation exercises too

Dr. Z :

Also if you are concerned about the medicine and its addictive properties, you can try buying an over the counter Melatonin to help you sleep. I use it and I think they are great.

Customer :

ok , i will try that,, its not so much the addiction im worried about as the fact by the time i remember to take it its so late & then im tired from it the next day

Dr. Z :

Well try to take it earlier then

Customer :

for the most part i only use the ativan if im really scared or panickd or when i happen to remember it earlier when i cant sleep,,, it makes my thinking slow down so much

Dr. Z :

It will be hard to remember, but maybe you can set an alarm

Dr. Z :

Yeah that is one of the side effects unfortunately, but this is why you use at night when you do not need to think efficiently

Customer :

an alarm is a good idea, i will set that on my phone so i will remember

Dr. Z :

Good idea, that will help you

Customer :

i have to get up sort of early tomorrow but maybe if i take an ativan now this is early enough to be ok?

Customer :

right now im still pretty wide awake, i guess still from the earlier anxiety

Dr. Z :

You can split the pill and still be tired to go to sleep and not groggy in the morning

Dr. Z :

Most likely it is from the anxiety, but also I think you are a night owl too

Customer :

ok yeah i didnt think about being able to cut it,, & yeah thats true, lol, u caught me

Customer :

i guess that explains why mornings are so hard

Dr. Z :

Well I am a night owl too, so I know the signs, lol. I think splitting the pill will still give you the benefits of lessening your anxiety and helping you sleep

Customer :

ok,, i will go cut one then & try lying down, maybe, & maybe listen to music

Dr. Z :

Good, what music do you usually listen to?

Customer :

usually the kind u wouldnt associate with sleep, but it puts me to sleep,.. if u have XM radio its channel 51, club music mostly

Dr. Z :

I used to have XM radio actually for my car, but then I got a new car and now I can plug in my ipod and voice activate all my music, so I just got rid of the XM radio, but it is good. Well if the music puts you to sleep then by all means listen to it :)

Customer :

yeah thats nice,, the music on my phone is almost all the same as i listen to on XM, so its sorta redundant, lol

Dr. Z :

Haha, well redundancy is not always bad. We all have our own taste in music, its just part of our uniqueness as human beings

Customer :

can i ask, what do u listen to?

Dr. Z :

Sure you can ask that :) I absolutely love Bruce Springsteen, even though I am way too young to like him, lol. I also listen to acoustic alternative music a lot too like Glen Hansard, Joshua Radin, Cary Brothers. I like listening to music people have never heard of, lol.

Customer :

lol, well thats cool, that is usually the best kind,,, im not sure why mine puts me to sleep but it does.., well i hope u have a really good rest of the night, i have kept u again a really long time (sorry) , & hope u have a great day tomorrow as well :)

Dr. Z :

You never have to be sorry Lauren! I enjoy talking with you and I am always happy to help you. I hope you have a great night too and a great weekend. Feel free to keep me updated to this weekend as well. Enjoy your music and I hope you fall asleep soon :)

Customer :

:) thank u,... goodnight dr Z

Dr. Z :

Good night and pleasant dreams Lauren :)

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4414
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.

Thank you very much Lauren for the positive review and very generous bonus, I really appreciate it a lot! I hope you sleep well tonight, and that your weekend goes splendidly for you :) Feel free to contact me at anytime you like, I am always here to chat with you and help you through anything.

Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi dr Z,, I never needed this much sleep in my life but today i slept in & then have been sleeping on & off for much of the day.., i was up long enough to take a shower & go to Sonic but that has been it? i was only able to eat alittle bit,, its like after i had those flashbackcs last Sunday.., anyway i hope your day has been nicer than mine, i hate feeling this tired & run down all the time it feels like lately..., i am going to try to watch something funny tonight maybe that will hhelp..
Lauren

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.
Hi Lauren , I am so sorry that you have been this tired today. Well i am glad that you are eating though and getting some food in you, this is very positive. In addition to watching something funny, you definitely have to do some of those new things that you find enjoyable to keep you active. I am not sure about the weather out there, but bike rides are good like you were doing or even going to the gym and taking a spinning class too :) I know that you feel like you have low energy, but even forcing yourself to go for a walk for 10-15 minutes a day will be good for you. So far my day has been slow, which is not too bad, I got some errands done today. I hope your night improves and that whatever movie you watch is absolutely hilarious :) Good night Lauren and pleasant dreams to you
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi dr Z,, i just wanted to let u know i took your advice & have tried to make myself be more active,. it was actually beautiful out today, sunny & like 75 degrees so i wouldve felt guilty if i hadnt.., so i went on another bike ride with a friend. But a spinning class is a really good idea too, i do belong to a gym but havent been there since forever & when I was there i was using it for tanning, lol.
So far my ex & his friend hav been leaving me alone so that is good too.., i hope it stays that way when things with the court get closer, i have some anxiety about that,, i do think the lexapro is helping though..


I hope youre having a great day too & that its been nice & quiet :)


Lauren

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.
Hi Lauren :) I am so happy that you got a chance to go out today for a bike ride that is good. So funny that you only used the gym for tanning, lol. I do not really tan myself, I have an everlasting farmers tan from my days of playing soccer,but other that I usually burn, which is not so much fun. Definitely try taking advantage of spinning and other exercises at the gym, I think it will be a lot of fun for you.

That is great news about your ex and his friend, I am glad that they have finally gotten the idea that he cannot control you anymore and that you independent and free from him. Hope your night watching funny movies was good too, if you have any must sees that you think I would like, you are more than welcome to make some recommendations to me, I can rent them on Netflix of Amazon. My day has been going well, just church in the morning and watching football for most of the afternoon, with a few errands here and there.

Yeah the Lexapro will start to be more effective for you and probably by week 8 of its use will be the maximum benefit from it, so you should start to see more and more benefits from it in the near future and less symptoms of anxiety/depression. I hope you have a great rest of your night and I will talk to you soon :)
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi dr Z,, I guess I have been slacking to tell you the truth.. I haven’t been pushing myself probably like I should but the past 2 days have been hard,. I know you said it would be like this some days & I’m sure it will get better as it always has. I’ve just been having some more flashbacks & I’m not exactly sure why, which makes me just basically close myself in this room where it is safe.. I saw on the news about another girl who was raped, not here but in another state, & it was a complete mess & the guy is getting away with it, which made me sort of break down again.. I’m trying to be strong, I really am, as much as it probably sounds like im not..


Also, my ex has some pictures that he took of me that I know now he is showing his friends, I guess to prove I’m a s--- or w---- or whatever word you want to use. I’m not completely naked but they were only supposed to be for him to see of course, can he somehow use those against me in court?? Its really too much for me to think about right now


Anyway I just wanted to give you an update,,, I need to talk to you probably, I would like to in any case so I will be back later if you will be here,, Lauren

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.
Hi Lauren,

Its okay, I do not want you to feel guilty if you do not tell me everything, I completely understand. There are many possibilities for why you may be having more flashbacks and that the 2 days have been rough for you, but instead of focusing on the possible causes, lets look at solutions and what we can do to help stop these bad symptoms from occurring. Remember with the flashbacks, you have to try to bring yourself back into the present by focusing on things in the here and now. I know it will be tough for you sometimes, but I am always here for you if you want to chat, when it gets too difficult. I also know that you have a lot of great inner strength in you, and you are lot stronger than you think, so rely on that strength when you get those flashbacks. The flashbacks try to bring you back into a time when you were a victim, but that is not real, you are not a victim anymore, you are stronger and more independent now.

I think I know what rape case you were talking about (the one Missouri)and that has to deal with minors first off, and also there was corruption within the police and DA's office I believe who knew the well connected family of one of the boy's being accused of this rape. So this does not apply to you at all and your case is very different. Also what you are reading on the news happens in less than 1 percent of all cases, so you should not think this will happen to you at all.

Regarding the pictures, nearly every couple sends these types of pictures through email, text, etc...it is perfectly normal relationship behavior that will not be used against you at all and I am sorry that he would be showing these private intimate pictures to others, it just shows that he is the monster that we both know he is. Also these pictures and any past sexual behavior cannot be used in court under the Rape Shield Laws. Here is a link describing it for you, to help put your mind at ease that these pictures will not be admissible in court.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rape_shield_law

I hope that you are having a better night tonight and that you are relaxing and trying to keep yourself calm to not over stress. And of course I am always here when you need me Lauren.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.

Hi dr Z,,, so I do have some good news to tell you about first,,. so I ended up telling my brother what happened. He was of course really angry, I mean not at me, at my ex boyfriend,, but he was pretty upset that I hadn’t told him & that I was just now telling him.. Anyway he thinks that I should tell our parents but he did promise me that he wouldn’t tell them himself. He is being really supportive so I do feel kinda bad since we had always been really close up until I got together with my ex.,, he feels guilty too but there was nothing he could’ve done since I was the one who sort of pushed him away, or let my ex push him away from me..


I really read and re read what you said about the flashbacks & youre right I’m not a victim anymore., so today Im getting out of here & going for a bike ride :) Also maybe watch some more funny movies or shows. I meant to tell you Identity Theft & The Heat I thought were both funny,,, I think Melissa mccarthy is really funny & she is in both , if you haven’t already seen them..


I hope your day is going great & is not too crazy :) And I will talk to you soon..


Lauren

Expert:  Dr. Z replied 9 months ago.
Hi Lauren,

I think that is great that you told your brother and I know it must have been very emotional for you to tell him and everything else you talked about with him, but it seems like you and your brother are slowly reconnecting and becoming closer together again, so that is great news. On telling your parents, that is definitely up to you and do not feel pushed into doing so, if you want to tell them then do so at your own pace.

Yay for bike rides!! I am about to go for my daily 15 mile bike ride in around an hour, so I am all for bike rides. I hope you slept better last night too and that what I wrote yesterday brought you some relief too. You are definitely not a victim anymore, focus on the progress that you have made and that will be your evidence on how much stronger you have become.

I like Melissa McCarthy too and I have seen the Heat, but I have not seen Identity Theft yet, so I will have to check that one out, thanks for the tip!! My day is going well so far, its a little slow, but that happens. Hope you have a great rest of your afternoon and I will talk to you soon :)



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