Please help. Tue, Jul 22nd 2008
First a little background. I know I was suffering from some pretty serious depression about two years ago. My brother had passed away, and I was deployed to Iraq shortly afterward. I fought with all of my friends. They no longer speak to me. I drank to the point of blacking out. I cheated on my husband. A year of this later, I had debilitating headaches. Migraines and Tension headaches so bad that my hair hurt. I slept about 2-3 hours a night. I went to see a counselor and he diagnosed me with PTSD and serious depression. There were a few OCD tendencies that came with it, but went away over time, and with treatment. While going through this counseling, I began having flashbacks of when I was 5 and was molested by a 14 yr old girl at my babysitters. I spoke with my mother about it to find out more info as I had blocked it out for 22 years. At the same time as the headaches began, I was supposed to have gotten out of the military (stuck in Iraq due to stop-loss), and I was promoted. I had some serious issues. Growing up I had tendencies of eating disorders. I would throw up my food, I counted my calories, limiting myself to 900 a day if possible. I was continuously worried about upsetting people. I was raped twice while I was in college (most likely because I was promiscuous due to the childhood thing). I still have a very low self-esteem. The medicine worked for awhile, but my life over the past three years has been a series of nothing more than major events. I returned from Iraq, got out of the army, moved back to the US from Germany, found a new job, and moved again all within a 6 month period. I was feeling okay, and stopped taking my medicine. Which lead to what my mother calls "crashes." I was able to recognize the symptoms this time, as I had studied depression in hopes of trying to get off the meds. Over the course of the past year I have quit the meds four times, and consequently crashed each time. In April, my husband and I divorced. I wasn't happy, and couldn't find a way to be happy. Not unhappy just with the marriage, but life in general. I moved to a new state and started a new job, where I travel continuously, so I don't have to deal with people for very long. I can't prevent these major life events from happening, but how can I cope with them better? I am still on anti-depressants, but lately I fear they're becoming less effective. I have major fits of rage over the smallest things. I am paranoid, and wonder what motives people have for asking me questions or why they do what they do. These can last from a few minutes to a week. I KNOW when I am angry, I don't know what triggers it. In my mind I can tell myself to stop saying mean and hurtful things, but they happen anyway. I am a successful woman, and I have worked very hard for what I have, but I am afraid that I am working very hard at making myself worse by trying to ignore the root of my issues. What is wrong with me? How can I control this? I am trying to maintain my control over my mental health, but I really feel like my body is tired. I am definitely not suicidal, nor do I want to hurt myself. I just want to be happy. I have acknowledged my issues, so how do I get past them?
THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION WILL NOT BE DISPLAYED UNTIL YOU HAVE INDICATED YOUR AGREEMENT WITH THE DISCLAIMER PRINTED JUST BELOW. CLICK THE 'I AGREE' BUTTON TO AGREE TO THESE TERMS AND SEE THE RESPONSE.
- Dr. Schwartz responds to questions about psychotherapy and mental health problems, from the perspective of his training in clinical psychology.
- Dr. Schwartz intends his responses to provide general educational information to the readership of this website; answers should not be understood to be specific advice intended for any particular individual(s).
- Questions submitted to this column are not guaranteed to receive responses.
- No correspondence takes place.
- No ongoing relationship of any sort (including but not limited to any form of professional relationship) is implied or offered by Dr. Schwartz to people submitting questions.
- Dr. Schwartz, Mental Help Net and CenterSite, LLC make no warranties, express or implied, about the information presented in this column. Dr. Schwartz and Mental Help Net disclaim any and all merchantability or warranty of fitness for a particular purpose or liability in connection with the use or misuse of this service.
- Always consult with your psychotherapist, physician, or psychiatrist first before changing any aspect of your treatment regimen. Do not stop your medication or change the dose of your medication without first consulting with your physician.