invincible summers

in the middle of winter I at last discovered that there was in me an invincible summer. (albert camus)

Dr. John Breeding on trauma March 17, 2009

I found this video at the lovely and very helpful beyond meds at ning website. Unfortunately, I’ve been sick the past several months and haven’t been able to spend as much time there as I would like. Anyway, this video left me feeling confused and intrigued:

I am interested because today I was reminded of my rape. It’s not an unusual occurrence-it’s a past traumatic experience that is almost always there lingering and sometimes taunting me or shutting me down, etc. Today, some of the many memories came up again. the gravel driveway. my head banging against a tire. the sound of my underwear being ripped off of me. the rest, mostly a blank. a bathtub. my friend holding my hand. blood. wearing nothing but a t-shirt. I was fifteen and then suppressed the events of this evening for nearly four years.

Three key things Dr. John Breeding mentions in this video in regards to healing past trauma(s) are:

take care of yourself
go slow
allow expression

Well, the first two, I don’t know how to do. The third, not a problem. Although I was raised in a home where I felt loved but misunderstood. But, and most importantly, there were rarely any expressions or emotions allowed-we didn’t talk about anything of substance. Pretty much everything was swept under the rug. If you’ve seen the beautiful film “Ordinary People” you’ll have a better picture. I don’t blame my parents for this-I have forgiven them-they were raised this way. My parents also tried to find a quick fix which is what led to my first psychiatrist visit at the age of 13 after I showed signs of depression and voiced suicidal thoughts. Again, I don’t blame them. I imagine they were doing the only thing they knew to do in that situation. That first visit led to over twenty years of psychiatric medications to include: Celexa, Lexapro, Paxil, Prozac, Zoloft, Effexor, Abilify, Seroquel, Remeron, Wellbutrin, Xanax and Lamictal. These are the ones I can remember. And, not one of them worked for more than 2 years. Actually, Lamictal was the only one that seemingly worked that long. I saw many psychiatrists and therapists over the years following my first visit at thirteen. I even checked myself into a mental hospital. NOTHING WORKED. But during all of the above visits, I was always labeled with something-depression, double depression, borderline personality disorder, bipolar-and given meds and ridiculous tools from therapists that never worked.

Here’s where I’m going with this. So, I was raped at 15. But, what happened BEFORE that? Is there a trauma that I’m still blocking/suppressing after all of these years? I’m nearly 36 now. I know why my parents brought me to see that psychiatrist at 13-I repeatedly told them I wanted to die! But, why?!?!? I have absolutely no clue and this concerns me. How does one face and heal from a trauma that does not exist in their mind? My maternal grandmother was deemed mentally ill and spent a lot of time in mental hospitals, she had shock treatments, she was medicated most of her adult life. She died fairly young, due to complications of diabetes, during a very difficult time in my life. I was heavily medicated and we had never once had a discussion about her illness or her life. As I mentioned in a previous entry, I always assumed that I had inherited her “mental illness” but is that what she had? Is that what I have? My grandmother, for example, I know after much digging around and asking my aunts lots of questions, I know that her father burned to his death when she was around five. I’m don’t know anything about her mother, my great-grandmother, I don’t recall ever meeting her. But I do know my grandmother lived in orphanages and foster homes. I’m pretty certain she was sexually abused. So, for some reason, after my great-grandfather died in that fire, my grandmother did not stay at home. I remember my grandmother’s mysterious sister showing up at her funeral and everything was hush hush. Now that I think about it, I believe my grandmother also had a brother and he was not at her funeral.

My grandmother’s life, what I know of it, reeks of trauma. Which is exactly why this video caught my attention. I must blame some really bad doctors and therapists for not addressing and treating the trauma but instead labeling me with whatever they felt suitable, medicating me and moving on to their next patient.

Regardless, I’ll be heading to the library to check out some books while I can’t afford therapy or acupuncture and facing the trauma I know about. First on the list I suppose will be Trauma Through A Child’s Eyes by Peter Levine and Maggie Kline.

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comedy pt. 2 February 13, 2009

and this is comedy at its worst, script style.
(A true story, in fact, this happened today)

EXT WAITING ROOM-DOCTOR’S OFFICE

A WOMAN in her mid-30s sits waiting. She is lethargic, depressed, tired of it all. This is nothing new to her. She’s spent more than half of her life waiting, waiting for her doctors. SEVERAL PHARMACEUTICAL REPS enter as she waits for nearly 40 minutes. Her HUSBAND, by her side, *coughs* whenever they pass by and says, “drug pushers!”

I/E WAITING ROOM-DOCTOR’S OFFICE

A bored NURSE opens the door.

NURSE: Ms.____________?

The WOMAN rises. The usual. Weight check. Blood pressure check. The NURSE shows the WOMAN to her room.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE

The woman takes her usual seat and she hears…

NURSE: The doctor will be right with you.
WOMAN: (sighing) Thank you.

The WOMAN is waiting, flipping through a magazine. She thinks, will this ever end? Finally, she hears a lot of chatter outside the door and it opens. Her DOCTOR enters.

DOCTOR: Soooo, how’s it going?
WOMAN: Oh, well, the usual. The Celexa is horrible, just as I suspected. An antidepressant with side effects of depression symptoms. Oh, by the way, I heard your husband died in car wreck. I am terribly sorry.
DOCTOR: (looking down) Thank you.
WOMAN: So, anyway, I cannot deal with these side effects. Especially the loss of libido and constant lethargy. One cannot get out of a depressive state when you are on a drug that brings on more depression or depressive symptoms. I have no desire or energy to go anywhere. The anxiety is still there. Am I better than three months ago? Absolutely. But this is not my idea of a life and I want my life back.
DOCTOR: Okay, let’s try something new.

The WOMAN rolls her eyes as her doctor scrolls through her computer looking for a cheap, generic alternative. She’s having a hard time finding the generic.

WOMAN: May I ask which drug are you looking for? As you know I’ve been on most of them.
DOCTOR: Wellbutrin
WOMAN: Sorry, I’m allergic, should be in my chart. Bad rash. Hospital. Out of the question.
DOCTOR: Oh shit, that’s right. So, let’s try Effexor. I’ll be back, I’ll grab some samples and go over everything.

INT. DOCTOR’S OFFICE-MOMENTS LATER

The DOCTOR enters with a 14-day supply of Effexor XR. She sits down and faxes a prescription via her computer to the WOMAN’S pharmacy.

WOMAN: I think I’ve been on Effexor before. In fact, I am positive I have been. Although, thanks to memory loss from the numerous medications I’ve taken over my lifetime, I cannot remember a thing about it. I have one question for you, does Effexor have the side effects similar to Celexa, those I am so desperately trying to escape?
DOCTOR: Look, I know you’re more well-versed on medications than most of my patients. I know you do the research. But I will tell you this: with Effexor XR you will have no weight gain.
WOMAN: Great!
DOCTOR: No feelings of lethargy. No loss of libido or other sexual side effects.
WOMAN: (unsure, but willing to give it a shot again) Okay. I’ll try it out.
DOCTOR: I’ve also refilled your Xanax.
WOMAN: I’m happy you mentioned that, I’ve read numerous studies, heard and read horror stories on Xanax withdrawal, when I get to that stage, I’d like to meet with you and discuss the best possible withdrawal scenario.
DOCTOR: (behind schedule and not really listening) Okay, no problem.

INT. WOMAN’S CONDO-ONE HOUR LATER

The WOMAN sits at her computer furiously researching Effexor XR. This is what she finds. Common side effects of Effexor: headache, nausea, dry mouth, sweating, sleepiness or insomnia, and diarrhea or constipation, weight gain, loss of libido and a host of other sexual dysfunctions. Most everything but the weight gain and sexual dysfunctions usually goes away within a couple of weeks.

The WOMAN stares blankly at her computer, really not surprised at the information she has found. She wonders to herself, “Someone please explain to me, why am I PAYING this doctor?”

FADE TO BLACK.