You have had what many would consider a very traumatic childhood. Your parents couldn’t be there for you when you needed them because of their drug and alcohol issues. You witnessed dramatic scenes of violence, intoxicated parents and were placed in unsafe situations. Almost anyone faced with that set of circumstances would be negatively impacted.
In order to learn to trust others, one needs safety, consistent caregiving and unconditional love. When that doesn’t happen, problems can arise.
The types of early experiences you have described are considered traumatic by those who study abuse among children. The phrase used most commonly in the research literature is adverse childhood experiences (ACES). These experiences include sexual and emotional abuse, divorce, loss of a parent either through abandonment, death or dysfunction, bullying, neglect, drug abuse and alcoholism, parental incarceration, and others. All these issues take an extreme toll on one’s mental health and left unaddressed, can cause problems in one’s adult life.
In all likelihood, your symptoms are the result of a chaotic and unsafe home life. Your symptoms seem to be consistent with a potential panic disorder and/or posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), both of which are categorized as anxiety disorders. Please know that I can’t diagnose you over the internet. The only way to know if you have a disorder (if at all) would be to be evaluated by a mental health professional, in person. If you have the opportunity to consult a mental health professional, in person, you should. Currently, we are in the midst of a pandemic and thus it may be difficult to see a professional in person. Many professionals have moved to telehealth services which could suffice for now.
You are a victim of your parents. You didn’t ask to be raised in chaos yet you are now faced with the aftermath. Thankfully, there are very effective treatments for the symptoms you have described. Two treatments that are highly effective include cognitive behavioral therapy and exposure and response prevention therapy. Both are good treatments. They could help you immensely.
Medication is not something you may be open to given your paranoia about being drugged, however, it could help to diminish your symptoms. It’s important to believe in reality. How much fear one should exhibit in any given circumstance should be dictated by the probability of that circumstance occurring. The probability of you being drugged is so low, as to barely register on the probability scale. Believing in facts can help you to stay grounded in reality.
You have symptoms that are highly treatable. I hope that you will consider seeking help. You shouldn’t suffer with symptoms that are treatable. Good luck and please take care.
Dr. Kristina Randle