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#122135 - 10/28/06 08:28 AM Symptoms of abuse=abuse?
ambientdischord Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 2
Hey, I wasn't sure where to post this question and I'm not sure that this is the place to ask, but- well perhaps I should give a small introduction first.

I've been in therapy for some time now after I was suicidal in high school. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and have been told by two different psychiatrists that I might be borderline. The therapist I was last seeing (I stopped about two months ago for reasons I won't go into) revealed to me she suspected I might be a victim of sexual abuse.

I had considered this before- I was, as a child, very obsessed with sex, and have memories that may or may not be true of, let's say, compromising situations. While I don't remember anything in particular that is innately sexual (sort of), these memories (not really flashbacks) fill me with shame and apprehension.

Thinking about this with a new level of seriousness after my therapist said what she did, I began to look at what the symptoms of sexual abuse were- short term and long term. Shockingly, I seem to exhibit nearly every symptom I could find. I lack flashbacks, I think (I don't know exactly what the experience of a flashback is like) and I don't have nightmares so much as extremely odd, highly metaphysical dreams.

I have a list from Campus Blues Campusblues.com that includes pretty much every symptom I've found. I won't go through the entire list, but let's just say that I pretty much agree with most of these. One thing I didn't see much of on here was anxiety- I've got a terrible anxiety disorder too.

My question, then, is: If I'm exhibiting all of the symptoms of childhood sexual abuse, does this necessarily mean I was abused as a child? What else might cause these types of symptoms- both the immediate and later-in-life ones?

I apologize for both my grammatical errors and lengthly letter. I'm up very late and in a not-so -great frame of mind. I didn't know where else to go- I happened to find your site through Wikipedia.

a-d


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#122136 - 10/28/06 02:54 PM Re: Symptoms of abuse=abuse?
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
No, symptoms do not "necessarily" mean you were abused; nearly any highly traumatic event in one's childhood has the potential to create them. However, they certainly indicate that the matter needs looked into. What you need to do is see if you can work on validating some of those memories independently.

I don't have flashbacks, either, so that may be unimportant. I think you should just keep working with your therapist, and see what comes of it. I know this answer might not be the definitive "yes/no" you want - but I'm sure you understand that in such a weighty matter, it's important not to rush around.

_________________________
Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

Oprah's resources for male survivors

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#122137 - 10/28/06 03:41 PM Re: Symptoms of abuse=abuse?
ambientdischord Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/28/06
Posts: 2
I figures I wouldn't have a definitive answer- it's not exactly something that, well, can be answered without knowing a lot about the person in question (among other things).

Basically I'm just curious to know what else could cause these, er, conditions. The thing I have trouble with is that if something happened how will I know I'm not making it up? How to I uncover a repressed memory?

And the last thing is, what if I'm just crazy- what if nothing happened to me? Is that possible, or does something have to cause this particular (and consistent, apparently) set of conditions?

Just to clarify- I'm not exactly going to take what someone says here and say, "Well, that's it! That has to be the answer! Ok, glad I solved that one!"... I'm merely trying to figure out what sorts of things could happen.

I'm in the process of finding a new therapist because (a) the one I was seeing is unlicensed and this sometimes means she is a little less informed than I would like, and (b) we just didn't jive well- I like her, but it was friendly and not progressive.

Oh- the last question- can I ever overcome these things that are really holding me back? I mean, the anxiety that keeps me from being able to perform and get gigs to play in, the depression (and mania), my self esteem and body image problems and eating problems, the numbness? I mean, I'm on medication(s) and doing therapy- things don't seem to change.

a-d


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#122138 - 10/29/06 12:07 AM Re: Symptoms of abuse=abuse?
melliferal Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 11/03/05
Posts: 1159
I think it's unlikely in the extreme that a crazy person would suffer early-abuse-related pathologies or hangups for no reason - but hey, I'm not a shrink.

People are different. "This" child, say, could wake up in the middle of the night for some water, briefly see someone else in the house watching a pornographic video, and be debilitatingly scarred for life by the imagery; whereas "that" child could be (for lack of a better word) violently abused and grow up relatively well adjusted. There's absolutely no way anyone can tell simply by the number or acuteness of your symptoms exactly what could've happened to you. Unless someone had been suggesting that you were abused before you started having these "image fragments" (i.e., unless you have specific cause enough to think they might just be figments of your imagination), the best way to find out what happened to you is to treat them as real memories and concentrate on developing them into something more concrete. I don't mean making stuff up to fill the gaps as it were - but with the right therapist, I'm sure things will begin to clear up. It may certainly be nothing at all - or it could be something.

Lastly, yes - those things CAN be overcome, all of them. It will not happen overnight, and it will take work, but it CAN happen - doubt it not!

_________________________
Children cannot consent; they can only comply.

Oprah's resources for male survivors

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