It is always my prayer that my trials never have to be gone through by someone else if possible. So it is with that in mind which I share with you part of my story and what I have learned along the way.
In no way is this advice or what you should do. It is simply my experience and what I have learned and experienced. I encourage you to seek professional advice for any treatment you need.
When I first recalled my abuse the counselor I saw was in communication with my primary doctor since I had been having so many unexplainable medical problems. Once the trauma surfaced the unknown medical problems made sense.
Trauma presents itself in pain and stomach issues, and other areas of your body if it is stuffed down and not worked through and that is what I was experiencing. I still experience it now since I haven’t worked through it all.
My counselor and doctor shipped me off to the hospital to see a psychiatrist and get on medication. “This is what you need to get better.” I was assured. “They will help you.” I was told. So I went. I got medicated and the story began.
From 2008 until now I have seen a psychiatrist and counselor. It took me until January 2010 to find the counselor that fit best for me and knew how to treat trauma as severe as mine. I thought I had a good psychiatrist and I THOUGHT I needed him. Every time I went and told him new memories were coming up, nightmares I was having, more anxiety, depression, whatever it was he added more medication.
I THOUGHT he was treating my PTSD. I was so wrong. He was medicating my symptoms. I became so foggy and sleepy I would fall asleep on my way to my counselor. My first several years in counseling were a wash because I was so medicated. I hardly remember them at all.
You cannot medicate PTSD. Yes, you can medicate the symptoms, depression, anxiety, insomnia, but it DOES NOT treat it. The only thing that treats PTSD is actually processing through trauma with techniques such as EMDR, Sensorimotor therapy, or havening. I tried to put links to them all as I cannot explain them well. There may be other ways I don’t know about too. But talk therapy I know will not do it. I know our bodies have to process out the trauma. This I have learned.
I have also learned I cannot connect to my trauma while medicated. Benzodiazepines especially block connection to trauma. These are anxiety medications. Klonopin, Xanax, Valium. I am now working off the last bit of the 4 mg Of Klonopin they had me on. Yes, 4 mg. Way too much. I went off 3 mg. last year and I’m going off the rest right now and let me tell you what they don’t let you know.
Your body becomes addicted to these medications whether they are prescribed or not and now my body has to re-acclimate to how it deals with anxiety causing severe withdrawal that has heightened anxiety, severe burning and stomach pain, vomiting, suicidal thoughts, and so much more. For months and going on over a year and a half now.
If I could change one specific thing about my journey in recovery I would go back and never go on medication right away. I realize that may not be the case for everyone, but for me I would not do it right away again. It fogged my judgement and I bought into it too fast. It caused me unnecessary lost time and pain.
It has taken me 3 years to get to the point I’m down from 8 to 4 pills and soon 3. It has to be done so slowly it is making recovery even harder and more painful. I have at least two more years to get off the rest of my medication. I don’t know if I will be off all medication, but I want to be off the medications interfering with my therapy. One day I hope to be off all of them.
This has been the hardest thing to learn. I so wish someone would have told me. The side effects of the medications I’ve been on over the years brought so much trouble and pain. Weight gain and depression and suicidal thoughts and so much more. What I thought was helping me was hurting me.
I have honestly lost my trust in doctors. I still have a psychiatrist because I have to have one. She has to sign my disability paperwork and obviously help me work off my medication. She is different from the one I saw for so many years. I switched last year to find a doctor willing to work with me to get off medication and so far she has.
I realize this seems like I am completely against medication. I am not because obviously I too still take it. I simply know it will not solve my trauma and what I have been on is interfering with me getting better.
I believe if someone truly needs it then that is between you and the professionals you see. However, I was told I needed it and what I really needed were tools to deal with my anxiety and my depression because I need to work through my trauma. I could have been working through my trauma had I not been so medicated. It has been a vicious cycle.
However, I can be mad and angry or look at this as a way to educate others and the medical community about trauma and about what we really need. I believe God can take this and use it for His good. I do not wish the physical and emotional pain I’m experiencing from medication withdrawal on anyone. Especially those already on this difficult journey. It adds an extra load we don’t need to bear.
So this is part of my journey. I hope learning about what has been my experience will help you as you discover what is best for you. I urge you to pray about every decision you make in recovery. I will tell you I didn’t. I never prayed about going to a psychiatrist or to go on medication or what to do when this all started. I trusted people.
And though I do believe God puts people, especially professionals, in our lives to help us He wants to be our ultimate guide. Now, I do my best to pray. So remember to keep seeking Him on this journey and I’ll keep you updated as to how I’m able to connect to my trauma as I get my brain defogged from the medication.
Note: Again, this should not be seen as a professional advice as I am not a professional. I encourage you to seek professionals for your care. This is simply my experience and my choices.
© 2019 Susan M. Clabaugh. All Rights Reserved.