My life in a nutshell: Living with chronic health conditions, healing from trauma, deprogramming from and leaving AA, and dealing with a pet’s illness.

My life has been an interesting one. I grew up in an alcoholic, abusive home, but I did not know how abusive it really was until I started dealing with the abuse at the age of 33. I’m 36 now. One day I abruptly started the process of dealing with repressed memories, most of which were of abuse that I never knew consciously that I had gone through. I knew that my Dad had yelled and that my family was dysfunctional at that time, and it turned out that earlier in my life I knew that my parents were abusive and was much more aware of the abuse. The longer that I didn’t deal with the abuse though the more that I forgot about it.

I used a number of coping mechanisms, good and bad, to deal with the abuse. I drank and used drugs habitually throughout college and my first year of graduate school. At times I was a compulsive exerciser, and at times I exercised in a healthy manner. Friends were always very important to me, and I had a lot of them in order to boost my fragile self esteem. I was also a perfectionist and excelled at college, graduate school, and any job that I had.

My life always had challenges though. I daydreamed, was fidgety, and got in trouble in school for a number of things including skipping class, not doing my homework, threats to other students, etc. Despite this I always scored high on exams. In late high school I got my act together and got into college, where I went on to get a Master’s Degree in Experimental Psychology.

Things started to go downhill for me in 2005 after I was raped and severely assaulted. I developed severe PTSD (which I had also been diagnosed with at the age of 13) and was also diagnosed with bipolar disorder. At the time, too, my parents sent me to outpatient treatment because I had been drinking at the time of the assault. I did take an alcohol assessment at the time that showed me to be alcohol dependent but to this day I don’t know how accurate it was for a few reasons: I took it two months after the rape/assault, it was done due to strong victim blaming by my parents, and I was extremely traumatized when I did it. I have always been the scapegoat of the family and because I was scapegoated into this drug and alcohol assessment this leads me to not really know whether or not the diagnosis given to me was accurate. I do know not to drink though since genotype testing has shown that I have the gene for addiction.

As part of treatment and my parents insistence, I went to AA. It was really nerve wracking for me to go for the first 6 or 8 months until women started reaching out to me and helped me to feel comfortable. This helped to boost my self esteem because I gained a lot of friends. The problem was that I was very vulnerable due to my childhood abuse and recent assault. A woman who was known to be hard on her sponsees and to sponsor vulnerable women picked me up as a sponsee and went on to sexually assault me. She also set me up with a very abusive man, who I got into a relationship with at about two years of sobriety. The two of them put me through something called ritual abuse where they did terrible things like give me alcohol or sexually abuse my cats in front of me in order to “see if I would stay sober” and was “working my program”. I was also raped repeatedly by them and forced into sex rings. All of their abuse centered around the program itself and spirituality/religion and/or included people in the program. It was terrible and out of fear I still have not turned them into the police. This is also partly because I didn’t remember most of this until years after the relationship and abuse ended. In addition, I have received a lot of abuse from AA members when I have spoken out about this so that perpetuates my fear of going to the police.

After I broke up with that boyfriend a registered sex offender from AA raped me and coerced me into a relationship with him. I had known him for years but his involvement in AA made him trust me more; even with my history of abuse at the hands of members I still trusted people in AA due to the environment and conditioning that I was getting by AA members. This relationship lasted four months until I ended it.

A week and a half after this relationship ended another abusive man from AA zeroed in on me. He was extremely sexually and psychologically abusive and isolated me over time. When I tried to talk out about his abuse to AA members most of them stopped talking to me, telling me that I was doing something wrong or wasn’t working the program due to this abusive relationship. There were more forms of ritual and religious type abuse in this relationship as well based around Christianity. Finally, after 8 years of abuse at the hands of AA members in total, I got out of this relationship.

Two years this I started having repressed memories of the abuse I’d gone through throughout my life. I learned that I went through ritual abuse that revolved around Christian ideals as a child in my immediate and extended family, and in a church that I went to. The abuse included psychological abuse, sexual abuse, physical abuse, among other things. Even though the abuse was terrible, having memories of the abuse was the hardest thing that I have ever gone through because I had to experience my emotions for the first time. Also, I became aware of the fact that I was dissociating and had multiple parts to my personality, and a year later got diagnosed with Dissociative Identity Disorder. The bipolar label was removed but still stays on my chart until this day.

I was suicidal starting the second year that I was having memories. I’ve been in a committed relationship now for four years and the suicidal thinking was set off by some boundary intrusions by my boyfriend’s family. It has taken me a long time to work through what happened with them because I too busy dealing with my trauma to process those events very well. I am working through it now and my boyfriend and I are doing well, but the whole situation started a series of events that led to a couple of suicide attempts and two hospital visits. I have read though that it is very common for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to have suicidal thoughts and tendencies as they work through the abuse, but mine was accentuated by events that were going on in my life that I was simply unable to process well at the time that they were occurring. I was overloaded and overwhelmed. I was also going to AA at a time which worsened my suicidal tendencies.

A couple of things have happened in the last few years: 1) I left AA, which has immensely benefited me and caused positive changes in my life 2) I’ve gone through a lot of medication changes as physicians and counselors have tried to pin down my diagnoses. Most recently I have been diagnosed with autism and ADHD. I just started Ritalin two days ago and it is actually already changing my life for the better. I am more focused, calmer, am already sleeping better, and my depression and anxiety has lifted somewhat. I honestly had no idea how much ADHD was affecting my life until yesterday when my thinking started clearing up.

I did have a psychotic period after going off antipsychotics in June 2018 and had to be hospitalized in November 2018. I’ve done some reading and found out that psychosis can be caused by antipsychotic withdrawal, and since I was on them for 13 years it makes sense that my withdrawal symptoms would be significant. I was put on Zyprexa and then Vrylar for a couple of months, which I am now off of. I am no longer psychotic but other withdrawal symptoms are still lingering. I finally took a battery to see if I’m bipolar a few weeks ago with a new Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner (I was diagnosed without any kind of actual testing) and I am not bipolar. I hope that this will finally take the diagnosis off of my chart but that diagnosis I’ve noticed tends to stick around even with evidence to refute it.

Another thing that happened to me during the time that I was having repressed memories is that I had a lot of interference from spirits. Even though I didn’t see them at some point I realized and accepted that they were there. What I did in order to dispel the spirits (and I dispelled all of them, including the helpful ones due to some that were around) was 1) I put up a scattering of crystals around the house 2) I used my intention to clear it myself 3) I put up three banishing pentagrams around the house and 4) I talked to the spirits and told them to leave. I was able to resume the practice of Witchcraft and Shamanism that I started in 2005 (AA disrupted it) and contact my spirit guides intentionally. The other thing is that I stay in light magic, keep my thinking as clean and positive as possible, and try to really work on myself so that I’m not vulnerable to spirit possession or activities. It all seems to be working. I did not do a sage cleanse because of my cats and I’s allergies and asthma.

In June one of our cats passed away of cancer, and in August another one’s cecum (part of his large intestine) ruptured during a routine colonoscopy. He was diagnosed with inflammatory bowel disease, which had really damaged his cecum. The veterinarians also found that his cecum had been cancerous and coincidentally was the only region that was. He is now cancer free, however, in September his brother was diagnosed with intermediate cell intestinal lymphoma. He is undergoing chemotherapy now and is doing pretty well. They both are. We currently have four cats: Patrick, Lucifer, Perdi, and Tempest. Patrick is the one with cancer, and Lucifer or Lucy is recovering.

My immediate plans right now are to learn Reiki and to do it on myself and my cats. I am signed up to learn I and II in March. I also plan on taking Shamanism courses and to relearn some of the skills and information that I gained throughout my life and then lost due to trauma. My Amazon wish list contains some books about grammar, spelling/punctuation, math, and also some spiritual books. One day I would like to become a writer; I am still unsure about which type of writing I want to do. I also might become an animal communicator and do some psychic work. We’ll see.

In the last few months I have been reading a lot of books about spirituality, which has been helping me to break the conditioning that I went through in my family, church, and in AA. I’ve realized that I have a lot more control and choice over my life than I thought. It feels nice and I feel a lot more empowered after realizing this. My family, the church I went to, and the group of people I was involved with in AA all had cult like characteristics so I am doing something called breaking mind control by reading these books and contemplating new ways of thinking. Overall, I am feeling much more in control and just feel better about things. It turns out that it takes a lot to work through the kind of trauma that I have been through; I’ve done all of these things plus I am practicing Yoga and reading some self help books as well on trauma and sexual abuse.

One last thing about my life is that in addition to mental and developmental health problems I have some physical ones as well: Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Interstitial Cystitis, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Asthma/allergies, and Chronic Epstein Barr Syndrome. All of these issues are impacted by chronic inflammation and stress, which can also be linked back to trauma. Everything is connected: the body, mind, soul, spirit, the Universe, and you and me. So while I work hard to help my mind and emotions I also take care of my physical body.

Thanks for reading. I hope that you found something in my words that sparked an interest, thought, or emotion for you- good or bad!

2 thoughts on “My life in a nutshell: Living with chronic health conditions, healing from trauma, deprogramming from and leaving AA, and dealing with a pet’s illness.

  1. Oh my, you have been through so much Meryl. I am happy for you that you seem to be emerging from all this with happiness and good health in front of you.

    Like

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