Email of the Day: Listener Ryan on coping with his trauma
I am 40 yrs old. My last memory of feeling normal was at about age 5. That day a neighbor asked me if i wanted to come see his train set, and i naturally obliged. Not until age 26 did i start to remember. Although the actual sexual events by this pedophile remain murky in my mind, the terror or trauma that seemed to displace my real self is very memorable. Escaping from the situation and then being confronted again and being told by my abuser that he would kill my mom if i told anyone. I still feel the disassociation, murky grey,mind haziness from that day. I believe this was the genesis of at one point disabling depression that would hit me about 5 years later. From about age 10 onwards i was abused at school, and emotionally “tortured” by a couple of relatives—the perfect storm—at too young an age—the recipe for mental disaster. I was no angel either all the time, but i tried to be good to everyone and please them. For many years starting in my late teens i read books etc, and worked out daily to relieve this anxiety stress i always felt. Shortly after high school, having no friends, and anxiety, bi polar depression – i though i would end it by taking up smoking and drinking as a life habit as i felt no where, with no hope and no chance for hope, except in substances. Being too prideful to ask for help, i unknowingly, by trying to solve it on my own, became paranoid, defensive, angrier and happy to be my own worst enemy. Putting cigarettes out on my hands felt good. Cutting my face so people at work would ask me what happened made me feel good. Telling myself ugly things about myself felt good. I told myself for years that i am alive because of alcohol-the only thing releasing me from my pain. I eventually worked to what i thought was a more balanced person. Yet, no one would have anything to do with me and if they did, i quickly destroyed it. My depression felt being locked in a steel box, chained to the floor with a pin hole of light i would see maybe once a month or so. I would use positive visualization etc to no avail. The only thing was alcohol. It was my best friend. I have destroyed to date all potential / relationships outside of family-even my extended family does not like me. I didn’t like me.
All this buried stuff i guess came to ahead last year as i suffered the most terrifying experience that made 30 yrs of depression look like a vacation in comparison. I cracked and now heard a voice telling me to do horrific things. Images of demons and faces in my minds eye appearing from no where. Anxiety in full bloom i took to Internet where my fears of being possessed threw me over the edge. No sleep for days, total disassociation. Feeling the same again as that abused little kid.
I have been on klonopin for some time and still drinking. Seroquel also helps to. Progress. I am doing better now after some research and having been in therapy. The biggest help has been to realize that the initial trauma as a boy, launched my brain into rewiring itself. I am not my thoughts, my brain, and certainly not the false self-aka the ego. I didn’t even know i had an ego and how much of a prick it is-wanting to protect but too dumb to help. Since age 5, i have been living as my false self- under total control of ego, one i never knew existed. Since making this realization i would have to say i feel much less depressed and anxious. I now KNOW i have been re-enforcing my brains neurological pathways for some time, and i know it will take time, work, and perhaps more medication, to return to my real state. The only thing real in the universe, is love, i think. How that manifests into we know materially etc – only the source of it knows- and its love. With ocd thoughts, i know they originate from an anxiety ridden brain, from associations of the past. Time to forgive and be grateful and realistic and know that if it doesn’t come from love-its not real, it doesn’t exist. I know people have been through much more horrific things than i have and have made it thru. Thank you for being an inspiration.