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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5809
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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Kate- Okay night, but I had a nightmare this morning. Oh

Resolved Question:

Good morning! Okay night, but I had a nightmare this morning. Oh well. At least I'm not having them every night. That's a good thing, so I'm not too upset about it.
I think the adderall is helping - both with my mood and with focus. I got a lot done yesterday. I didn't leave the office until about 8, but I got a few big things done that I've been sitting on. Have a lot to do today, too, and a few meetings. I am supposed to start taking the adderall XR today. I hope it works as well as the IR.
Debra texted me last night and told me she heard from her friend she had told me about, and her friend (who lives on Virginia) said she would be glad to talk to me if I wanted to talk to her, and gave me her phone never and email. Iigh email her today. But I'm not sure what to say or ask - it's just that she is the first real person I've heard about that dealt with it decades later like me.ade me feel a little more normal, when Debra said what difficult time she had too. Im glad to have her as a resource - but what should I ask her? I am nervous about it. Do you have any suggestions? I think it is really nice she I willing to talk to me.
Jim never tried to call me, so I don't think he will. I think he was just posturing because he was embarrassed and can't handle people challenging him.
We are planning to go to P's cabin this weekend in Colorado, but I'm not sure if we will end up going. Her brother and sister-in-law are supposed to come, but her sister-in-law broke her foot so we have to see what the orthopedist says today. If they can't go, we won't, because it's been shut down all winter and her brother knows better how to open it up and get the water and everything on. I fine either way, but we were planning to do a huge cleaning, which it needs and I was looking forward to. They are having a family reunion there in July. P'som was a pack rat, so it is very cluttered and hard to keep clean. It creeps me out staying there sometimes. I would like to get it totally clean and uncluttered. P and her brother an hi wife are all more anal retentive than I am, so we all wanted to do that. This is the only weekend I'll be able to go up and help for 3 days, so I hope it works out. But if not, a relaxing weekend here would be good, too. Or I can start packing up the office.
Tha new me is also helping appetite-wise. I've already lost almost 3 lbs since Saturday. It must increase metabolism or something, too, or water weight. I don't know. But I can tell a difference. D m said to try to drink a smoothie with protein powder ever morning, and I got an easy smoothie machine and started to do that, and it keeps me full all day. It will make me feel A lot better if I can lose the weight I gained in the first few months othe year, because of the other meds, and I would be even happier to lose some extra.
The propert manager about office told me yesterday that his sister and brother-in-law opened a new driving school business and could use my conference table and anything else I didn't want to take with me. That makes me happy. I know how tight things are opening a business, and so many people helped me out that way. I would be glad to help them out. Plus - I don't have to worry about trying to sell anything or moving it somewhere, because thy will come and get it.
Well, need to finish getting ready for work. Talk to you later?
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I am sorry to hear that you had a nightmare last night. I wonder if it was because of what we were talking about yesterday? It seems to be a trigger for you. It was pretty intense work and may have brought out some of your fears and emotions about it.

It sounds like the new medication is a good fit for you. Let me know how Adderall XR works.

That was very nice of Debra to hook you up with her friend. And it is also great that her friend is willing to talk with you. I would start off letting her know how much you appreciate her sharing her story. If you feel comfortable, give her a brief outline of what you have gone through so she knows where you are with your recovery. Then talk with her about your concerns with how you feel. You may want to highlight what bothers you most that you feel she may understand more than anyone else, like the guilt you feel, the anger and your nightmares. Just touching on one of those may be enough for her to talk to you about her experience. She probably will understand what you feel a lot more than you think and she may just lead the conversation. No matter how it goes, it is going to be wonderful for you to talk with someone who understands exactly what you feel.

A getaway, even for cleaning, would be nice for the weekend. I hope you do get to go.

You must feel so good to be able to lose some of the weight from the medication. I know that causes many people distress, especially when it is not caused by a change in diet but just because of the meds. It can be very frustrating.

It sounds like your move to the office is going very well and it's all falling into place. It has to be exciting to go back and be able to work with people you know again. And as you mentioned, it is going to save you work and money. That is always good!

I hope you are getting all your work done. Talk with you soon,

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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

Hi Kate. I am getting a lot of work done, thanks. My clients didn’t show up for their appointment this morning, which was fine with me, because I was able to get more work done. I find it interesting that people have a sense of urgency and must get in as soon as possible to discuss whatever, then forget their appointment. Oh well.

I can’t feel anything one way or another with the XR yet. I didn’t really have a problem with the IR wearing off too soon, so I think the IR will work fine. But I will try the XR for the 3 days, then them combined, as she told me to. Yes – I am pleased that hopefully I can lose this weight, because it is frustrating. I mean, really - I gained over 20 lbs in a few months. Not happy, because when I got out my summer clothes, most of them don’t fit. I have never weighed this much in my life. So I am psyched that the adderall will help with that, along with allowing me to be more productive.

So - I think I’m going to start out by emailing Debra’s friend. You think I should say that Debra shared her story, generally with me, and told me that she didn’t start to deal with it until much later, either, and that it was a struggle? I can tell her that hearing that made me feel somewhat normal – and like I wasn’t the only one. Debra said she told her I was attacked in college and just started therapy about a year ago, so she knows all that. I would like, as you suggested, to ask her if she felt some of the same things I feel. Our incidents were totally different (she was 16 [I think ?], it was her youth pastor, and it was not a one time thing. Debra said there was never any “penetration,” but I don’t think that would make a difference in how traumatizing it was, would it? And it happened to other girls in their church as well, and also, she thought she was in love with him and obviously it was someone she trusted). Do you think that makes a ton of difference in dealing with it so long after the fact? Do you think she will probably feel similarly even though it was different? I think something like that, when it is done as a child and repeatedly, and by someone you trust, and you are manipulated into thinking you want it — would add a whole other layer of issues. Don’t you? I have always been so glad it wasn’t someone I knew or trusted. I know the church “decided” that it was best for all the girls just to drop it and not do anything. I wonder how her parents reacted – if they just “dropped” it too.

You are probably right about our discussion triggering nightmares. So now I can blame you for my nightmares! :) awesome. I was thinking last night about the whole thing we were discussing. I don’t know whether to believe I could have died — it became more real when Dr. M showed me where some major arteries were and how the bottle used in that way could have punctured my bladder and other organs. But, still .... it was God’s choice. So if God wanted me to live, how can I say I could have died? On the other hand, I do understand what you are saying – that it is important to face that I could have died. But is that just because that’s what one is supposed to do in these situations? I mean, there is that over-used line that I hate so much: “whatever you did was right, because you survived.” But that wouldn’t always be applicable. Not all sexual assaults are life-threatening, are they? Does every woman who is assaulted have to face that she could have died?? I am just curious. Regardless, I do now recognize that mine was fairly violent. I keep thinking about how much blood there was. I couldn’t totally assess it, because it was dark and I don’t know how much was on the ground, and although i knew it was on them, I couldn’t tell how much. I was trying to figure out, with all that was on me, then with all that I bled in the shower and bath and towels, how much blood I was losing – I was trying to assess it in relation to the bags of blood they remove when I would give blood. It sure seemed like a lot more than that. Then it was pretty steady for days after, and totally stopped maybe 3-4 weeks later. Okay – that does seem dangerous to me. But if it was a lot, why didn’t I ever even pass out or anything? I did feel pretty weak in the weeks after, but there were a lot of reasons for that. Do you think my perception was just off – that because it was my own blood it seemed like a lot more to me?

I just can’t totally believe (in a feeling sort of way) that I might have died that night. I know I am distancing myself or using defenses, as you say. But why? Why would it be so difficult to face that? I mean, I know the outcome — I am alive and well.

I am so far behind on moving stuff. I haven’t really done anything yet, and I only have 40 calendar days. I think I am going to meet with Jamie and Austin after my meeting this afternoon, so we can come up with a plan of action. I am excited about going back – there are 3 people out of 6 that were not there when I worked there. But 2 of them I have dealt with a lot on my cases against LP’s clients, and they have actually called me to ask me stuff about stories Laura (LP's office manager, P’s niece, and my good friend) told them, and I know they are excited to have me there. LP’s associate attorney, however, is probably not too thrilled. She has issues with pretty much everyone there anyway. I am hoping I can smooth things over during the transition period. Because I won’t be part of that firm for a while – just subletting office space. We can’t merge the firms until our conflict of interest on that big case is resolved, and that could be a few months or a few years. We have no idea. But I think it will be good to have that period of transition (while, as you pointed out, saving money). Then, when our firms merge, I will make a lot more money than I am now. I will be doing a lot more work — but it will all be actual legal work – not the running-your-own-business administrative work. In fact, I will likely make more money before we merge, because (1) my costs will go down; and (2) LP will want me to do work for him, which means he will have to contract it out to me, which means he has to pay me directly, instead of my billing the clients (because they won’t be my clients). And I can certainly make sure I get paid by him, whereas clients aren’t that reliable. This is all such a good thing, I think. Now I just need to implement it!

Okay .... back to work. I like talking to you on and off during the day, though. :)


Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

I would let Debra's friend know what Debra told you about her situation. I am sure that Debra would not have shared it without permission, so I think you are safe mentioning it. And the rest of what you want to say to her sounds good too.

Her trauma might have been different, but she was still traumatized. She has factors that you did not and vice versa. You were older and on your own, she was young and was not protected by her parents which is another loss for her (trust of her parents would be nil after that), which in a way is also something you share. All of the elders in her church also protected the perpetrator so she might have major trust issues. There was no penetration for her, but there was boundary violations, both emotional (through manipulation of her by the perpetrator) and physical by his closeness to her. Your trauma was different in that your choice was life or death. Her attack did not come to that point because of the kind of assault it was. But she was traumatized sexually as you were. And there is never going to be an exact match to what you suffered.

Personality also plays into it. You grew up abused emotionally, she may have as well (as evidenced by how her parents reacted to her trauma). But how you reacted will be different than how she reacted because of who you both are.

Survivors often deal with their feelings long after the trauma. It is not unusual to deal with the issue many years afterwards, especially since you have to work through any repression and denial of having any issues in the first place. Everyone is different. Some deal right away, some after a while and some never. But the trauma and understanding of it remains the same.

Any sexual assault has the potential to be life threatening. The victim does not know what the attacker will do. He has already subdued her so she is already vulnerable. He could decide to hurt her further if he wanted. Yes, if God thought it was your time, it would have been. But that does not mean you should push aside the possibility that you could have died. Rationalizing it is one thing, but that does not change your feelings.

You are searching for proof, in a very logical way, that what happened to you could not have ended in your death. It is very understandable that you feel that way. Facing that is very hard. And it's frightening. Who wants to think they were even more vulnerable than they already were? It's not easy to feel those feelings. It may help you to ask Dr. M or Linda what they think. Or even ask another doctor if you want a very objective opinion.
It may help you take it in.

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