About a year ago I was diagnosed with Stage 1 Kidney disease. This was largely due to over-medication by psychiatrists. However, my parents actually played a large part in how I developed this diagnosis by manipulating me to ask psychiatrists for more medications when I didn’t need them, perpetuating psychiatric diagnoses and discouraging me from questioning the misdiagnoses that I had, and actually communicating with my providers in order to influence them to put me on too many psychiatric medications. I believe that they did this due to a need for control, and to keep me from talking about or recognizing abuse in our family. I also think, too, that they simply don’t want me to lead a good, healthy life.
I was diagnosed with treatment-resistant depression by my new psychiatric nurse about a month ago. I was really glad to have this diagnosis as it has helped me to understand why I am not responding well to both counseling and medications. A couple of weeks after that I was diagnosed with treatment-resistant anxiety, and now my provider even thinks that my PTSD may be treatment-resistant. This all sounds kind of crazy but as I’ve shared before on my blog, it is due to repeated trauma in my life and the mismanagement of psychiatric medications, as well as misdiagnosis.
The main misdiagnosis that worsened my already treatment-resistant conditions was that of bipolar disorder. In actuality, I have moderate to severe ADHD and autism. The truth behind why these conditions were not diagnosed earlier traces back to neglect by my parents.
As a child, I was very delayed in my language development. I didn’t talk until well past the developmental age for verbal communication. My parents talked to our family doctor about this, and eventually took me to speech therapy. Once I did start talking, I developed a language for me and my sister. Developing one’s own language is a trait of autism. This was addressed in speech therapy, but even with a couple of years of speech therapy I did not stop using this language. I just learned how to understand the English language and use it.
My speech therapist told my parents that I have language delays, but they refused to actually acknowledge this. Instead they called my language twin talk, and minimized the whole thing to the fact that I’m a twin. They also said that the reason why I didn’t talk at the appropriate age was that I allowed my sister to talk for me, and that I needed to learn to talk on my own without her help. Our family doctor actually seconded this idea. Then, according to my parents, they made me ask for a strawberry when I wanted one and said the word strawberry. My parents claim that all was solved after this and I went on to speak just like any other child.
For years my parents told this magical story to everyone around them and they still do. I was a child so I believed them as did everyone else around me. Really though, the story was just make believe. After I said strawberry I still went to years of speech therapy because of severe language delays. Yet somehow my parents convinced me and everyone around us that they solved my language problems with a strawberry.
I also had a lot of problems socially when I was a child. I was hyper-sensitive to criticism (a trait of ADHD) and was bullied quite a bit. I also never really felt like I had a best friend until middle school and felt lonely much of the time. I just never quite knew what to do or say in order to make long lasting friendships. But my parents made sure that I had plenty of friends anyways by involving me in sports, music, and by creating a group of friends for me by having us hang around their friends’ kids. In other words, even though I was having problems socially, my parents did everything that they could so that I would appear normal to the outside world. This only resulted in me never really understanding or being taught quite a few things regarding social behavior.
By the time that I reached the 7th grade, I almost failed my classes because I refused to do my homework. The reason why I did this is that I was getting 100% on every test that I took and found that I didn’t need to do anything other than listen in class to ace every test or quiz. So, I just didn’t do my homework. It made sense to me at the time. But, when my parents found out, I was grounded for a long time and had to make up all of that homework, because even with 100% test scores I would have failed due to not doing my homework. When I look back I realize that this is the type of impulsive thinking that is due to ADHD.
Despite these warning signs and others, my parents would always make up reasons for why I was having issues. Their usual default was that it was because of situations around me. They tended to cling to the fact that I was having issues because my Uncle was murdered when I was five and another committed suicide at the age of 7. Even I believed their stories on this up until a few years ago, when I realized that even traumatic deaths like that do not result in the types of symptoms I was having. But my parents had me fooled for years. And they even convinced any counselors that I had as a child that this was the reason for my difficulties along with the fact that my mom had cancer when I was in middle school. It helped them to get away with abuse and really confused me. It’s kind of sad that my mom used her struggle with cancer in order to gaslight my counselors and other people around them in order to cover up the real reason why I was struggling: severe abuse. When you really think about it, this is quite sickening.
When I was misdiagnosed with bipolar disorder in college, my parents decided to jump all over this diagnosis. For them it was a way to explain away all of my behaviors. They also would commonly use it to scapegoat me by simply saying, “You’re manic” instead of actually trying to help me when things got rough in my life. They perpetuated this idea to me and to the psychiatrists and counselors that I went to for years. They would convince me to up my bipolar medications when I got anxious or whenever I started to actually think for myself. This was not just to cover up abuse but they also did it because they didn’t like to deal with me when I was upset. So they just threw more medications at me, hoping that this will keep me from interfering with their lives by asking for help. They also have influenced me to get on more bipolar medications whenever I talked about trauma in my life (these medications cause brain fog and cognitive issues and for a long time kept me from thinking or dealing with trauma). My mom and my sister have even called up my counselors without my permission and tried to convince them to get me to stop talking about the abuse in my family numerous times, claiming that the reason why I was talking about abuse in the family is because I’m bipolar and manic. They really messed up the relationship that I had with the counselor that I saw for two years up until this past June by doing this. After numerous phone calls from my family she became convinced that I really was doing poorly and needed more bipolar medication, and that they were just so concerned about me. She basically just didn’t believe me at some point when I told her about how abusive my family was because they kept leaving voicemail messages where they sounded like some wonderful, supportive and concerned family members.
And even after I was diagnosed with ADHD and autism by two different providers my family denies that I have it. They continue to say that I am bipolar and that my flashbacks and traumatic memories are hallucinations even though I have been diagnosed with PTSD. They also say that I am delusional when it comes to the abuse that I went through including trauma in my adulthood that they had no part in. But of course, if they were to accept that I am not bipolar and actually have ADHD/autism, they would not be able to continue to discount my stories of abuse. And the sad thing is that my sister, some cousins, and a friend from middle school can all corroborate my stories of abuse, yet still my family members somehow side with my parents anyways. My family also denies that I have Dissociative Identity Disorder even though many clinicians believe that I have it, and of course blame all of my symptoms on bipolar disorder.
Another area, too, of my health that my parents interfered with was my diagnosis and understanding of my alcohol-use disorder (alcoholism), if I even have it. They really influenced me to think that my drinking was a lot worse than it was. For example, my parents convinced me that I was drinking more than I actually was during my last year of drinking. I’m not quite sure how they did this, but they did. Over the last year I’ve been able to realize that somehow they planted ideas in my head about my drinking before I even had my drug and alcohol assessment. Because of this, I’ll never actually know if I have or had alcohol use disorder or if I was just a normal college drinker who was being manipulated and scapegoated by her abusive parents. My parents basically crapped all over this idea that I’m an alcoholic, and I even brought their faulty ideas about my own drinking into AA. Because of the manipulation by a sponsor in AA that made me think that again my drinking was worse than it was, I went to AA for 12 years. I very much regret that today. I still refer to myself as an alcoholic and in sobriety/recovery today because it is a habit and it is easier than trying to explain that I have no idea as to whether I’m an alcoholic or not due to my parent’s meddling and a sponsor’s control of me. But because of my health issues, particularly my kidney issues, I don’t drink anyways.
I think that a lot of the reason why my parents blame everything in my life on “bipolar disorder” or “alcoholism” is largely to keep me in denial about the abuse that I went through as a child. Eventually I somehow overcame my parent’s conditioning and began to have repressed memories in 2015. Since then, I’ve been looking back at my life to try to find out what the heck happened. What I see is a lot of manipulation and neglect by my parents surrounding my healthcare. They obviously want me to stay sick and not get better.
On top of all of this, I actually have developed Stage 1 Kidney Disease due to over-medication over the last few years. Of course my parents play a huge role in causing this by continuing to manipulate me into taking high doses of psychiatric medications. But, they don’t seem to care very much because up until I cut contact with them a few weeks ago, they were still trying to convince me to go back on unnecessary medications that contributed to my development with kidney disease.
The last few times that I talked to my mom she was questioning whether or not I should be on Ritalin and trying to convince me to go back on bipolar medication, stating that I was manic, delusional, and hallucinating. I told her that I am not any of those things, and that none of the professionals that I’ve seen in the last few years think that I am any of those things, except for some terrible doctors that I had at Compass Health who misdiagnose everyone with bipolar disorder. I told her, then, that the only people who think that I’m bipolar, manic, etc., are her and other family members. I said to her straight out that none of my providers think this.
A few days later I realized that I just couldn’t take it anymore. I sent my mom a text message saying that I can’t deal with the family anymore and that if I want to talk to them again that I will contact them. However, even since then she has continued to try to contact me and she and my Dad even sent us a St. Patrick’s Day Card. Even though this seems like a nice thing to do, in my parent’s case it is just another form of gaslighting.
It’s been a few weeks now since I talked to anyone from my family. I will admit that it is difficult, especially because I am dealing with so much right now. Part of me wants to call up my mom in the hopes that I will get some support from her. But I know that even if she gave me support when I initially called, within no time at all she’d be back to gaslighting, manipulating, triangulating, and probably would try to convince me to go off of my ADHD medications and get on dangerously high doses of mood stabilizers. Having contact with her actually puts my life in jeopardy because of this.
Overall, I just am continuing to pull apart this mess that my parents created. I appreciate you listening to another story of abuse. I have a lot of them. I realize that this is another one of those stories that is difficult to hear and that might trigger some thoughts, feelings, or memories for the people who read it. Take care of yourself after reading this or other stories of abuse, as they can be re-traumatizing or triggering. Thanks!