Monday, September 26, 2022

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  • Bravo Carlton,
    For telling your story. I think you have a lot to teach other people, and I hope there is more to come for you, in terms of people paying attention to your deep and hard-won wisdom.
    I can relate to so many aspects of your story, (although not all of them).
    You…I can listen to.
    I tried to have something published here last year, but it was considered too long. I am glad the editors have altered their standards. Some lifetimes cannot be represented in a quick, condensed fashion. All of that pain, and all of that wisdom, needs to come out the way it needs to come out. What a mighty effort. My heart breaks for what you went through. And sadly, the system fails people every day.
    I deeply relate to ‘years meaning nothing’ and ‘not knowing if I was even in withdrawal’. Time gets lost, and it becomes simple survival. That’s all that’s left. You don’t know what’s up and what’s down. I understand your gratitude for having a home of your own, but also, on some level, for not being too ‘attached’ to your life, because of what you have been forced to go through before.
    May your days remain safe, comfortable, and happy. xx

  • Ah, you beat me to it—wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your comments! Incredibly validating, thank you.

    Yes, although there is a marginalization in AA of folk with “too much” of a “psychiatric thing” going on, general use of meds. like antidepressants is accepted as medicine. Perhaps the only psychiatric drug I saw questioned were benzodiazepines, since many have known them to be highly addictive.

    I left AA for several reasons, but it was during a time where I began (still in it) my years-long detox. off psychiatric medications. There was no one there who even remotely understood how I got on them, how sane I really was, how excruciatingly difficult they are to come off…AND, how the detox. revealed deep layers of trauma and grief that made me appear somehow “unsober” to them
    (vs. none of you are able to nonjudgmentally support me, none of you have met your own deeper wounds).

  • Speaking as someone who is 8 years off of all opiates, who has been on both Methadone and Suboxone in the past, and who spent many years in AA, the main issues I experienced with each are:
    – AA views addiction as a brain disease, and commonly denies the idea of it involving the self-soothing of pain (especially trauma) in ways that were either learned, or discovered by default.
    People may say it at times, but there is a tremendous, unspoken, collective “shaming” that goes on of anyone who speaks too much of trauma, harms, and childhood…this is seen as either self-pity, or “inappropriate” other than in a private conversation with a sponsor (especially if you utter the word incest).

    -Way, way, WAAAY too many people are placed on drugs like Suboxone (which by the way are entirely possible to abuse), because it is easy, appealing to the addicted person, less time- and money-intensive than a detox. (and doesn’t require inpatient), and because it is a profitable (customers for life!) industry. It’s one thing to use it for someone with a years-long heroin habit, who has tried other ways to get clean but could not, but quite another when it’s given as a first-choice solution for countless teens and young adults, and people with shorter-term abuse histories.
    They are not generally presented as step-downs, but as permanent, lifelong solutions.
    And similar to psychiatric drugs, the taper off of Suboxone is challenging because available dosages make it hard. The desire is for lifelong customers.

  • Mslilith,

    I agree with you on several key points:
    1. Psychiatrists are not generally trying to torture people, or because they are evil.
    2. Without offering alternatives, simply dismantling psychiatry services could strand many people in the short-term.
    3. Alternatives have to be widely available and affordable to those of us who have profound struggle. I am such a person. Mine is the residue of profoundly severe trauma. I’m counting on neuroplasticity. But the helpers I need and use (and will for some time) are expensive. If I did not unexpectedly find available funds a couple of years ago, I’d be dead. Unlike the author, my struggles do not all go away as I’m coming off these medications.
    4. I think one’s experience with psychiatry varies with money, geographical location, and lots of other things.

    I don’t think trauma and it’s effects are diseases, though…just injuries. I refuse to ever say again that i was the ill one. I never was. And unfortunately, psychiatry was no different than my family, in convincing me that I was.

    I feel the pain and heart in your letter, and your passion as you write. I’m glad you opened this conversation.

  • Fiachra,

    For me, I need healing relationships…it’s actually part of the healing…you know the saying, “we are wounded in relationship, we heal in relationship”. I need the human connection, mirroring, brain syncing. My traumas have been severe, and my ability to connect to others has been greatly affected. I still do various things on my own as well, though.
    But it would never be sufficient.

  • Where I live, the best body-inclusive trauma therapies for trauma are expensive, and the practitioners don’t take insurance. Same with alternative help, largely. It’s a challenge if your trauma history is prolonged, complex, began early, and…includes many later layers of trauma at the hands of practitioners “helping” you with trauma. Not an overnight process, not your average “trauma”.

  • This story has many similarities to mine…a sh*tshow of labels, drugs, addictions, overdoses, suicide attempts, institutionalizations, poverty, isolation, and serious medical problems and surgeries…which I plan to write for MIA at some point. I also lost 30 years (and i entered the system with an MSW, no less)…and I’m here to tell you, it’s not an unusual story for trauma survivors, especially if they entered the system in years past. The unusual part is that we made it out and are able to speak about it…or that we are alive at all.

    I don’t attribute everything that happened to me to the meds., but also to how we fail to meet (in my case) severe developmental traumas, and poor early attachments, as they need to be met. I could also add to that, the lack of understanding of highly sensitive people. They mostly saw “borderline”, and life was never the same for me.

    I’m sober now from opiates, Klonopin/benzos., and alcohol. I’m still detoxing off multiple, long-term meds., still healing…with some good trauma care, that I’m able also to afford, for the first time. I feel like it’s “too soon” to write…but maybe not? There are a lot of people like this, who have no voice or support at all, whose healing is so prolonged and gut wrenching, that few if any stand by their side with hope. Personally, my higher power has held my hand most of the way, as well as a few treasured practitioners.

    Bless you, Sandra.