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You were victimized. You’re tired. You feel damaged. You’d rather sleep than jump out of bed and enjoy your day.

What’s there to enjoy, right?

You feel ashamed. You feel depressed. Some of us even feel bipolar and/or borderline.

You have exhausted all of your inner resources. You can’t seem to snap out of this indifferent state of being.

And because you keep reading websites and books, you’re convinced you suffer from PTSD and are depressed or bipolar or borderline.

So you contemplate visiting a doctor whose job it is to diagnose you in order to fix you.

You think if you get that diagnosis, you can be prescribed that pill that can fix you.

(Really? You think a doctor who doesn’t know you can figure you out in a single session, prescribe you a medication and then you’re magically fixed? Does that ever work?)

For many of us, the diagnosis, the label placed upon us by our doctor, can often be our downfall. We initially think getting labeled will relieve us and that taking that pill will get us through our day.

I think the opposite is true. I think being labeled can destroy our psyche even more. I think in our search for empowerment, we become even more disempowered and dependent, because once the diagnoses hits our ears, fear sets in. Receiving the diagnosis and prescription can act as triggers in many cases.

So what do we do? We need to know what’s keeping us stuck and how we can get unstuck. We desperately want answers and a solution to our pain.

I think it’s as simple as changing our expectations and accepting that the diagnosis, whatever you discover it to be, is temporary.

We must stop relying solely on what that first doctor tells us and what that first doctor prescribed.

We must stop defining ourselves using the diagnosis as a mental crutch:

>>You aren’t anxiety; you suffer from feelings of anxiety.

>>You aren’t depression; you suffer from feelings of depression.

>>You aren’t PTSD; you suffer from symptoms of PTSD.

None of these diagnoses are permanent, and there are many alternatives to taking prescription medicine.

So first and foremost, don’t just go to any psychiatrist or family doctor. If you can, find a doctor or counselor who specialized in trauma as a result of relational harm and/or domestic violence situations.

And unless you absolutely can not perform simple daily tasks, reject the prescription. (You CAN do that!) Instead, ask your doctor for alternatives to medication. Ask your doctor about holistic approaches to treating your depression and your PTSD triggers.

Your doctor may be clueless! If your doctor is clueless, ask for a referral. But great doctors who are being continually educated on treatment methods and approaches will be thrilled that you’re open to something unconventional.

Search for holistic health centers or integrative medicine clinics or programs in your area.

If you take a medication that makes you feel numb, fuzzy and not yourself, talk to your doctor about the possibility of coming off the medication while simultaneously trying something more natural or holistic as a counter balance.

You may discover that simple changes to your diet, cutting out alcohol, experimenting with various forms of exercise or changing jobs can have an enormous, positive effect on your emotional health.

(Yoga and meditation have done wonders for me. Maybe Pilates or running or kayaking is your thing. Experiment!)

We are all very different and require varying degrees of care and attention. Some of us have many, many years of untreated trauma to wade through and medication is often necessary for the short term. It is!! Absolutely, it is.

But remember that this is your body, your mind and your future. When you feel like something isn’t working for you, tell your doctor. Don’t be afraid or intimidated to ask, “What else can I do to regain my emotional health?”

And don’t be afraid or intimidated to shop for a new doctor.

You’re not damaged; you’re temporarily broken. But with an open mind, a conscious effort and doctors and/or counselors you trust, you really can heal and become transformed.

Namaste!
~Paula

(Image source: http://piccsy.com/mobile/2012/06/picc-iqf6yoyt6)

Category:
abuse, Cluster B disorders, domestic violence, Emotional Abuse, Family, Fitness, Forgiveness, Friends, Health, Lessons, Mental Health, mindfulness, Narcissist, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Narcissistic Sociopath, NPD, Peace, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Psychopaths, PTSD, Rape, Recovery, Relationships, Self Improvement, Sociopaths, Spirituality, Writing, Yoga
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Join the conversation! 20 Comments

  1. It does take a long time, and there is no easy fix. And there are setbacks. Just recently the person who abused me, abused me again. He cornered me in a hallway. I was in a state of fight or flight. It took at least a week to realize that I was in “that” place again. My body reacted, physiologically and then emotionally. I was overcome with intense emotions. When I look back to this situation, it sounds like it was no big deal. Some might think “if he cornered you, push him out of the way and get away”. But it was not that easy. I was stuck in a place where I wanted to fight back, for my life and for all the things he has done and continues to do, just under the surface, to me through my kids. It was a reminder that when he doesn’t get what he wants, he forces it, he pushes it, he yells at it, he pours cruelty on it. It was a huge reminder of what I no longer live with. At the same time, I was right back there.
    Because of this threat and his harassment and intimidation, I was setback. I was reeling with fear, rage, confusion, panic….all the lovely emotions I have worked so hard to dilute.
    But I did what a good friend told me to do. I called the doctor, I called the therapist. I spoke about it. I phoned the police, I phoned the sheriff, I phoned my attorney. I did all the right things. Yet, I still felt horrible and shaky and scared and hopeless. Even after all these things. Extra medication does help as does everything else you try. It is a tornado of insanity.
    You have to learn to reach out and know that it is the reaching out that helps. Not the diagnosis or what people do. It is that you value your own life enough to ask to be helped and to be shown how to do it for yourself if possible. Never give up on yourself. The sociopath is trying to get you to.

    The Journey
    by Mary Oliver

    One day you finally knew
    what you had to do, and began,
    though the voices around you
    kept shouting
    their bad advice—
    though the whole house
    began to tremble
    and you felt the old tug
    at your ankles.
    “Mend my life!”
    each voice cried.
    But you didn’t stop.
    You knew what you had to do,
    though the wind pried
    with its stiff fingers
    at the very foundations,
    though their melancholy
    was terrible.
    It was already late
    enough, and a wild night,
    and the road full of fallen
    branches and stones.
    But little by little,
    as you left their voices behind,
    the stars began to burn
    through the sheets of clouds,
    and there was a new voice
    which you slowly
    recognized as your own,
    that kept you company
    as you strode deeper and deeper
    into the world,
    determined to do
    the only thing you could do—
    determined to save
    the only life you could save.

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    • Being corned IS a HUGE deal! Those of us who have been cornered absolutely get it and would never minimize the panic and anxiety you undoubtedly felt. Being cornered is what I lived with…repeatedly! It’s the most evil and subtle form of DV and abuse because there are no physical bruises left behind. When you corner someone, you’re caging them in. Pushing and trying to maneuver and squirm our way out of a cornered situation is torture. The abuser simply moves his arm lower so you can’t duck and run or moves closer in on you so you are essentially bound and unable to moved your feet. Couple that with the abuser who withholds something from you while he’s got you cornered…like your phone or a letter you were writing or a book you had the audacity to read instead of paying attention to him. To minimize being cornered is to minimize abuse because all acts of abuse are related to cornering, restricting and blocking…all forms of control which is abuse.

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  2. I take medication for depression. I don’t think it’s a bad thing because it works for me. But – like you said, you should be able to have some trust in your psychiatrist first. If you want to try other things, they should be supportive of it. The problem with say, exercising, is that if you are so incredibly depressed, you literally cannot make yourself get up to exercise. It might help once you start, but if you can’t start, it can’t help you. And sometimes the pills can get you there.

    On the other hand, if you are suffering from a trauma, you don’t necessarily have clinical depression. I have still heard of people who have taken meds temporarily and then been able to go off of them. It might be the tiny boost they need. But I don’t discount the side effects – there are many, and it can take a long time to find the right fix for you. Everyone is different, of course.

    I have found yoga very relaxing. I used to actually go to class, and I have lots of videos, etc. I admit I haven’t done it as much as I used to, but I do still use the relaxing poses such as “Child’s Pose”. I’m not sure why, but that one really helps me calm down. Perhaps using a combination of things is the best way to go? I don’t know. I do remember my psychiatrist once telling me when I worked for demon boss “you need to get a new job.” I was like, really genius? Like I haven’t been trying to do that for years? Lol. That’s why we have to take charge of our own health, both mental and physical, and use the doctors as tools, not masters. Which I guess is what you’re saying, huh?

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    • Hehe…yes! That’s all I’m trying to say. I was on anti-depressants for a while, too. But they just numbed me. It didn’t work. I know now why, because it wasn’t depression from which I was suffering; it was trauma. Since coming off the meds 18 months ago and focusing on practicing yoga and writing and spending more time with my family and encouraging myself to make new friends, I feel a real change in my peace and my emotional state. It certainly didn’t happen over night. It took a lot of mental gymnastics and focus to transform my natural state of being into something even and calm. You obviously know what works best for you, too. And you don’t have to commit to such long bursts of exercise at first. Just 10 minutes here and there are effective, too. 🙂

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    • There are some people who have a chemical imbalance and need medication to stabilize that imbalance. I do not believe there are as many people with an imbalance as are taking medications. Like Paula, I went on meds for a few months but found they just numbed me and therefore didn’t help anything. I wanted to get better, not live in a numbed state for the rest of my life. I went off after only about 4 months and dealt with the issues. It wasn’t easy and involved a lot of tears but now I’m healthy. Had I stayed on meds I doubt I would have gotten better because I would not have had to face the root causes.

      I preferred to deal with the cause not simply treat the symptoms. For me it involved being healthy physically and recognizing when I was beginning to repeat old patterns. When I saw myself getting into an old pattern I immediately turned it around. As an example, when under stress my old reaction was flight. Now I stay and work through to the other side of an issue. It means my old crazy life of change and moving and relationship after relationship is now a life of the same job, the same house, the same husband. And… a life of peace and contentment instead of anxiety, fear, and uncertainty–without medication.

      I tend to not reread my posts so I hope this makes sense.

      Signed,
      Healing somewhere in Canada

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    • I think all of us experience a chemical imbalance in our brains due to the trauma, stress and abuse. The degree to which we were affected definitely comes into play when medication is being considered, especially if bipolar disorder is a generic factor. And I’d just like to add that there are studies that have been conducted proving that yoga alone can help rewire and rebalance the neurotransmissions in our brains that the abuser so effortlessly knocked off course. But again, depending on the severity of one’s symptoms, medication can help people get to a place of activity and routine. 🙂

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  3. Hi, have just read this post.I am in the the uk But I think that in the USA this subject is understood a lot better .After 3 yrs ,and this guy has moved along way away he pops up every now n then walking past my shop when he visits his family.I live in a small town in Devon .Still trying to intimidate me ! It’s been a nightmare as I lost my friends .It affected my family and my business , slowly slowly getting better.Three steps ahead two back .i have symptoms of PTSD but have not got it because there’s something inside that says NO Even started to take on his persona ? Then I stopped and thought NO!! I’m nothing like him *the devil* lm differant yes ! I’more pure of heart x no one understands here unfortunately .trying to rebuild my life and it’s hard especially where I am .Im lonely and introvert and not trusting.Before I was bubbly and happy slowly coming back to me ! Nxt few yrs am going to be just fine! Just me my son and my little dog who he hated @ working on building bridges .Be strong and sending lots and lots of love xx

    Sent from my iPhone

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    • Jacqueline,
      People in the US aren’t exactly openly talking about this type of abuse on the streets. It’s more reserved for small discussions among those of us who have lived it. And most of those conversations take place online, in blogs and Facebook discussion groups.

      Believe that you are NOTHING like the person who emotionally and spiritually raped and abused you. You are not evil. Any out-of-character reactions you had to his abuses are natural. You were struck by something very abnormal and outside of your understanding of love and care. Of course, you were inevitably going to snap and respond with hate and contempt toward him.

      But you’re outside of that now. Accept your part and learn to love and respect and trust yourself again. It’s ossicle and worth it for yourself, your child and your little dog. 🙂 ❤

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  4. I frequently feel all of these things and have implemented them all; MD’s, counseling, everything. I believe my feelings are the reason I blog. A cleansing of sorts and in the process I hope others can identify with some of the things I went through and are going through as I believe to help others is to help yourself. Thanks for sharing.

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  5. yes! excellent point. Sometimes these labels can keep us “stuck” as if they define our lives. I like how you point out that these feelings/symptoms are real and should not be denied. However, they are but one step in a life of transformation. we can learn aspects about ourselves through these labels, but the labels do not define us.

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  6. This is an excellent post, Paula. I sought out a psychiatrist in hopes of being diagnosed with something so that I could just fix that and therefore fix the whole situation. What I discovered (ok, there were 5 psychiatrists) is that I don’t have a mental illness at all. It really is simply that I’ve been dealing for so long with a difficult person and a difficult situation; been the scapegoat for so long, that I was exhibiting symptoms. Now that I’ve been told that no, I don’t have a mental illness it gives me incredible strength. No drugs, no therapy anymore. Just determination, strength, and resolve to never go back where I was emotionally.

    Signed,
    Healing somewhere in Canada

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  7. Excellent advice!

    In particular I think it’s important for folks to understand that not all therapists are the RIGHT therapist for you! If they haven’t dealt with predatory relationships, they probably aren’t.

    And for people who have difficulty affording therapy, most large metropolitan hospitals have low or no cost mental health clinics where therapy and even prescription medicine (if you need it,) can be made available to you.

    Joyce

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