I couldn’t let go of the fear about what had happened and that I did not want that to happen again. How could I prevent it if I didn’t even know what happened the first time? I began to become very aware of my actions and accounting for them and time. In doing that, I realized that I couldn’t account for a lot of time. Further, I knew that there was a lot that I couldn’t account for in my life…school, technical college, daughter’s birth, and even sometimes everyday cleaning. That was not as important as making it, though.
A couple of years later, when I was having extreme panic attacks and depression, I sought the help of my family doctor who sent me to see a psychiatrist for medication. My life was running me, and I couldn’t get a handle on anything it seemed. The psychiatrist diagnosed me with Depression and Anxiety/Panic Disorder. I took a variety of medications for over two years. Nothing really seemed to help except for the Xanax which curbed the panic attacks.
One day I went for my appointment to the psychiatrist and my mouth just blurted out almost on its own, “I was abused growing up…really bad.” He immediately set me up with a therapist there in his office. I went a few times and decided there was nothing really to talk about. My childhood had been rough, but I was OK.
I grew up the only daughter of a “lifer” in the Marine Corps. My childhood was spent growing up on Marine Corps air stations. There was never any extended family near. If we were lucky, we saw our grandparents once per year. After dad retired, we moved to Ohio where he began drinking profusely and became physically dangerous. Mom and dad divorced and life was hard, but we made it.
I got married, and pregnant, at 18. I was doing OK. I went a bit “off” for a few months, but other than that, life was OK. What was my problem? Why did I feel like people lied about the things I would do and say? Why did I feel constantly in fear for my life almost? Why would I not remember entire days? It had to be the anxiety, panic and depression. Things had been rough, but my life just “wasn’t that bad.”
After my daughter was molested, everything mentally that I had been holding onto by a thread slipped away from me. I remember handling everything to do with the prosecution of her abuser, and seeking help for her. I knew at the time that I was standing far back from it all and watching. I thought, “This isn’t right, is it?” Shortly after, I was losing time again. The thoughts in my head were so much that I could barely think. Medication wasn’t helping. I needed help, and I needed it quickly.
I sought help at our local community mental health center. My mother had gone there and they were treating her for PTSD due to her living with our experiences with dad. They knew the history. I wanted that. I wanted to deal with today. I didn’t want to deal with “the past.” I knew that I couldn’t. I couldn’t remember it.
My therapist diagnosed me with PTSD almost immediately. We talked about today and the issues that I was having. After a couple of years I was able to talk with him about my not remembering. I was able to tell him what I couldn’t remember much of my childhood. I couldn’t get much farther than that, though.