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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5839
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I've been seeing a psychologist for a while now, I've been

Customer Question

I've been seeing a psychologist for a while now, I've been depressed and had anxiety for a long time. We've been working on past traumatic issues and how to work through those. I was emotionally and verbally abused as a small child and neglected by my mother. I've had a hard time being able to give words to what I'm feeling or why and haven't been able to find a way to help ease my own tension and high anxiety. I've felt like I missed out on so much as a kid, I don't know what it feels like to be cared for, and honestly it scares me, I don't trust people much. I've been very anxious and depressed more so for the last 2 weeks and can't get to any why. I hate feeling this way and want it to go away. I've had fleeting thoughts of wishing I would or could die. And since 2007 I've had unexplained muscle spasms and pain. I've had vivid dreams of being sexually assaulted as a very small child, several episodes in 1 dream. And they have been worse lately, and I not only wake up at night with smells and pain, but I've been experiencing it during the day where suddenly I have the smell in my nose and have a lot of pain, which sky rockets my anxiety level. I hate this so much! I want it to stop. I want to be able to say what I'm feeling but I don't have the words to. I find it distressing too when I'm feeling depressed and having lots of dreams and the daytime stuff I wish for someone to comfort me like I've seen parents comforting children, it feels like a creepy thought to me, but still its a strong desire. Can u help me with any of this until I see my psychologist again? I don't know if she can get me in earlier and I'm afraid of being put in a psychiatric facility. Please help me.
Submitted: 5 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

First, I am sorry about what you went through as a child. Abuse is traumatizing and the effects can cause many symptoms. But you are doing a good thing by seeking help from a therapist and now on Just Answer. I would be glad to help you in any way I can.

What you are feeling is normal for what you have been through. It may not feel like it, but it is. You are not crazy. Just from talking with you I can tell that you are ok and that what you are feeling is normal.

When someone is traumatized, they usually develop PTSD- Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. The symptoms are wide ranging, but vivid dreams, anxiety and depression are common. Trauma can cause physical symptoms as well, like you described.

Wanting to be held and comforted like you should have been is a common feeling among adult children who have been abused. You crave that comfort and sense of security that you did not get. As a child, you have many needs. And when they are met with anger, abuse and neglect, those needs go unmet. They stay with you into adulthood until you can find a way to meet them.

You have already taken one of the most important steps in your recovery by seeking out therapy. That is a sign that you are emotionally healthy.

The next step is to rule out any physical issue you may have regarding the muscle spasms and pain you are having, just in case. Most likely, they are due to the amount of stress you are feeling. But it never hurts to be sure.

The next step is self help. There are many resources out there to help you to continue to work on your symptoms in between your sessions. I have worked extensively with abuse survivors and there are many resources that are very helpful in recovery that I highly recommend. Here are some to get you started. Let me know if you need more:

Adult Children of Abusive Parents- Steven Farmer

The book is very helpful in describing the symptoms and feelings you have as a result of abuse. Also, consider joining a support group either on line or in person. It will help you feel less alone. One of the biggest issues when you are coping with past abuse is feeling that you are the only one who understands. Having support can help you share and have support.

I hope this has helped. Please let me know if you need more resources or have any more questions. I am here if you need to talk.


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I have had extensive work ups in the beginning of experiencing the physical symptoms, at that time there wasn't much of any memory of abuse and I didn't accept of realize that my childhood was abnormal with the acception being remembering as a small kid and going over to a friends house realizing her mom was different than mine, but I didn't think more about it. I now know how narcissistic my mother is, and how much she traumatized me, and completely denies that any sexual abuse took place(her brother:(. The links that you posted do they have information to help those feelings of wanting to be comforted/held? Anything to help decrease this anxiety so I can get thru work without feeling like I want to come out of my skin? Do I need to try for an additional appt with my dr? I don't want to get to a more desperate place. I've had serious contemplation of suicide before, I don't want to be there, for what I already think to worsen.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

Unless the aches and pains you are having are new, then you are probably fine. It is always a good idea to be cautious since so many emotional issues can cause physical reactions.

Most children who are abused do not realize that anything is wrong until later or if they happen to notice it with their friend's families. There is nothing to compare your life to at that age and you do not have enough experience to know any different.

It is very typical that abusive parents deny any wrong doing. They usually lack insight. Because to acknowledge what they did they would have to face it. And most do not want to do that.

The Adult Children book I believe has a lot about the feelings of an abused child and inner child work, both of which address how you feel. Inner child work helps you learn to comfort yourself and "take care" of the child you were so you can feel loved and comforted. I'm not sure if you have touched on that yet in therapy but you can mention it to your therapist.

The anxiety you feel is probably due to the emerging feelings from your abuse. It does go away. But in the meanwhile, try relaxation techniques to help. Also, anti anxiety techniques also can make a difference. Here are resources to help:


Customer: replied 5 years ago.
I guess no easy way out. Gotta somehow find it in my own head what I didn't get to learn. This life sucks. Thanks for the resources.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.

You're welcome!


I understand your discouragement. It's not an easy path. But you are doing the best you can and that is all that is needed for recovery.


TherapistMarryAnn and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Yea. I guess. Thanks. Have a good day.
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 5 years ago.
You too! Take care