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I was diagones with ptsd as a child who experienced sexual abuse as well as physical abuse. I am almost fifty and decided to go back to school to get degree as a bsw. I have been diagnosed 6 month ago with bi polar disorder which everything Ive read does not relate to the symptoms Im experiencing. I have constant migraines, go days without sleep, cant wind down from studying, which some symptoms are associated with rheumatoid arthritis which I have been diagnosed with. I realize that most ppl who have been abused as a child become abusers themselves, yet the symtoms I have are not those of that which statistics suggest. I have five children and always check constantly throughout the night scared if they will be taken from their sleep. I think all the time how to help others with social issues seeking direction, money, a listening ear etc. I never drank done drugs or caused bodily harm to others yet feel often that I take on the problems of the world. Now as always I feel that I have a purpose yet others try to hold me from endeavors. I try to pretend that I am aggressive yet when Im alone I cry, and I feel they look down on me as though Im crazy. I finally opened up and asked for help stating that seroquel and ambien does not help me sleep and I go to bed at 2 and wake at 4. I was told today I am manic and I was abusing my meds after one assessment. I replied take me off then and fix me or give me the help I need. What illness does this sound like and should I seek help elsewhere

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Hi Racing Love and Welcome

 

Firstly, I'm so sorry for what you had to go through as a child. No child should have to suffer what you did.

Secondly, please don't believe the 'hype' about those suffering abuse becoming abusers. That falacy comes from the statistic that around 60%* of child abusers were abused as children themselves (*this stat comes from the UK); however, many more children are abused than there are abusers (most, if not all, child abusers have more than one victim) and the majority of them will NOT go on to abuse others.

 

Why do you debate the diagnosis of bi-polar? Can you elaborate on your symptoms and how you believe they may not fit in with bi-polar? Reading what you have said, I wouldn't rule it out, but I would need more info on your symptoms. The on-set of bi-polar is usually between the ages of around teens to late-30's, so your age at diagnosis doesn't neccessarily fit the textbook on-set age, but tbh, that doesn't mean a lot!

From what you have wrote, I would certainly say you suffer with an anxiety disorder and you are under a great deal of stress. Is that surprising when you are doing a degree and have five children? I'm assuming that in the years leading up to you going back to school, you felt okay. Did you have periods of depression and high anxiety before you went back to school?  

I'm going to group the symptoms you've mentioned.

"I have constant migraines, go days without sleep, cant wind down from studying"  "I go to bed at 2 and wake at 4."

These are physical symptoms synonomous with stress and high anxiety. Your migraines are quite possibly caused by your lack of sleep and the physical tension your body is under. You mention you have arthritis, which will exasperate the symptoms of stress and of course, get worse when you're under stress (it's just one big circle really!).

 

"I have five children and always check constantly throughout the night scared if they will be taken from their sleep." "feel often that I take on the problems of the world" "I feel that I have a purpose yet others try to hold me from endeavors." " I try to pretend that I am aggressive yet when Im alone I cry, and I feel they look down on me as though Im crazy."

These symptoms are behavioural and emotional symptoms of stress and high anxiety. Because of your past experiences, you're fearful and anxious that harm will come to your children. You are distrustful of the world, yet at the same time, you take on the problems of it because you desperately want to make yourself feel better. Your unconscious thought schemas are saying "Well, if I can heal others, in the process, I will be able to heal myself".

 

You also tend to have, what is known as, an external locus of control. In other words, you attribute blame (good & bad) to situations, feelings & behaviours to outside forces or others. I'll demonstrate-

"I feel that I have a purpose yet others try to hold me from endeavors." "I feel they look down on me as though Im crazy." " I replied take me off then and fix me or give me the help I need."

You need to change this way of thinking. Who is trying to hold you down? What are they physically or mentally doing to 'hold you down'? It's good to believe that we have a purpose in life, yet doing something for ourselves should also be a 'purpose'.

Who looks down on you? And what do you mean by that? If these people, that you feel are against you, are trying to keep you from doing something and belittling you for what you are doing, they are not worthy people, so why should you care? Do what you want to do anyway. If they don't like it, take joy in that you've p*ssed them off! Does it matter that they think you're crazy? Why do these peoples opinions matter? It's YOUR life- do what you want to do and don't pay mind to others with little time on their hands! Take back some control. 

Given what you have written, I would suggest you ask your doctor for a second opinion and enquire about cognitive-behavioural therapy with an emphasis on stress management or another type of cognitive-behavioural therapy, REBT (rational emotive behavioural therapy).

I think you would benefit more from therapy, than you would medication, as it's clear you can set goals and manage life without pills or else you wouldn't be age 50, doing a degree and raising 5 children. I'm honestly not surprised that someone in your situation is suffering with your symptoms- you must have to cram two days in to one to cope!

How is your time management? Do you plan study times, family times, chores? If you do, you also need to remember to plan your relaxation and 'Me' time. Stop taking on the world and it's brother and remember your health. If you don't plan- I suggest you do. It helps immensly when trying to juggle academic work and raising children. I was a mature student also- I graduated a few years ago and I had to juggle motherhood, a part-time job & full time studying. Planning helped greatly- I planned everything from household tasks to sleep hours.

You said the medication doesn't work- have you tried anything else? How about herbal rememdies? Changing aspects of your diet? Relaxation strategies before bedtime? Consider these, if you haven't tried them yet. With persistance, the natural ways can be better than the medical ways.

Last, but not least- "I replied take me off then and fix me or give me the help I need."

You will need to seek the help you need and help yourself. The person diagnosing you can't see in to your head and instantly know what's wrong- you're the best person for that. Mental health issues are not as straight forward as physical issues- there are no x-rays for faulty thought schemas- and you may go through a lot of pills before you get the right ones or a combination of the right ones. Most of us are suffering for years- decades even- without being prescribed the right meds. If you're only on month six, count yourself lucky it's not year six when you are asking these questions. You're educated and reading for a degree- incorporate some psychology in to your research, then you can go to your doctor and tell him what you need and how he is going to get you what you need.

I would highly reccomend you look up the theories of a guy called Aaron Beck. Have read through some of his papers on how well cognitive-behavioural therapy works and talk to your doctor about refering you to someone.

 

Good luck & loads and loads of best wishes for your degree. You deserve a massive pat on the back for what you are doing. Also take some time out and treat yourself at least once a week. You deserve it! And keep that ultimate day in mind- that day when you're wearing your cloak and mortar board and your five kids are watching their clever mum pick up her degree. That feeling will be worth all the stress and anxiety you're going through- believe me. You are building a fantastic future for yourself and your children, and you are setting them the best possible example. Be very proud of yourself. 

 

V

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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