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Too scared for therapy, and sinking in drinking.

answered 03:30 PM EST, Thu March 01, 2012
I was sexually molested as a child. I have never told anyone about it in real life. Not even my parents know about what happened. I don’t know how to talk about what happened. Now I am 24 and I have real problems with depression and anxiety and drinking. My doctor is recommending antidepressants but I feel like if the way I am feeling now is all caused by the shit I went through as a kid how is taking a pill everyday going to make that all disappear? I feel like if I could get rid of some of the rage and shame I have I wouldn’t need to drink to pass out every night and I wouldn’t feel so scared to fucking talk to another person that I don’t know. How do I get free from this so I won’t need drugs just to feel OK?

Ari Hahn Says...

You are absolutely right in assuming that a pill will not help you get through this mess. No pill will make you feelings go away, just as the alcohol is not fixing your emotional turmoil. I think you really have a good idea of what you need to do, but it just seems too damn scary to do it. I don't believe that you are "depressed" in the sense that you have a medically caused depression, even if you are displaying all the symptoms.

You clearly state that you want to talk to somebody to get rid of the rage and shame. But talking to a stranger feels very wrong. That's OK. It's natural and naturally healthy. It is just not very helpful for you in your particular situation. You will need to go to a therapist, but you are not ready to spill you guts out to a professional. And it would be counterproductive if you wind up with a therapist that is not right for you. (If you wind up working with a properly sensitive therapist, it would work for you, but it is hard to know if he or she will be right until you've done some work.)

I would suggest that you first get used to talking in a support group of people who have suffered like you. I have two practical suggestions, although I am sure that there are many more. The first one that I am familiar with is on facebook. There is a group called complex PTSD and is "A non judgemental support group for trauma associated with C-PTSD including sexual abuse (especially child sexual abuse), physical abuse, emotional abuse, domestic violence or torture." There are about 200 members who share their daily struggles. You will learn that you are not alone and that other people can understand you.

Since you used alcohol daily you can also be considered an alcoholic. I do not know whether or not you think you are, but it can be used to your advantage. If you adopt that label you can join AA (Alcoholics Anonymous.) These 12 step programs are the only places in America where you can get unlimited 24/7 emotional support without anybody passing judgement on you. Of course, it is far from perfect and you still need to be careful in how you use their system, but done right it can be invaluable for a person like you to begin to learn how to use a support system. AA has "open" meeting where you can visit before you join, just to get a feel for it. Also, there are many many groups, and each one has its own "personality" so you would need to visit a few before you find one that seem like it might become comfortable (if the sounds like an option at all for you.)

Those two steps are only preliminary because you need to begin to experience how other accept you for who you are and who you think you are. You will need to do good therapy. It can be a difficult process, and you need to have a good therapist. You might consider tele-therapy where you can be flexible with hours, and might feel safer since there is no direct contact. (I can help you with this.) You might feel better working in a face to face format. I need to constantly be aware that you are ultimately in control of this process and in control of your life.

I would very much like to know how you are progressing in solving this. I have seen many people recover from situations like yours and I know that you can do it. If you can, please contact me in two weeks to tell me how you've progressed. Or what obstacles you've encountered. You are likely to experience both.

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Page last updated Mar 01, 2012

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