Q. What caused the memories.
A. I had always had flashbacks when growing up. When I was working at 25 years old, I had memories of sexual abuse that I could finally start dealing with. I was living alone in California and far from my friends and family in Texas. I cried a lot and had feelings of alienation from God and people. That was when I started attending a sexual abuse recovery group. It was very stressful trying to keep the job and deal with memories. I felt very different from my coworkers. I was desperate for relief from the disturbing thoughts one night. Then I remembered a childhood neighbor telling me about how Jesus will take your burdens away and watch over them and baby them and love them as if they were his problems. I imagined giving the sexually abused memory of myself at 13 to him to look after while I went to sleep. I checked in with Jesus in the morning and imagined giving her a kiss on the cheek and then gave her back to Jesus to watch while I went to work. I was able to work just fine with no mistakes and when I got home I thanked Him and took her back so I could remember the rest of the abuse. I felt remembering once and for all very important. I had no therapist.
Q. What caused the onset of mental illness?
A. I could not handle the reality and magnitude of all the sexual abuse I had suffered.
Q. When did I finally accept my diagnosis?
A. I was 30 years old. I believed that I had paranoid schizophrenia as the doctors had been telling me because I heard a voice named Og from the Underworld. I realized it was in my head because the radio had been turned off. That’s when I started taking medication.
Q. Where did you live when you were discharged from the hospital?
A. I stayed a month in the hospital and afterwards lived with my stepfather and mother.
Q. How was that?
A. Okay. I was able to rebuild trust with my mother and have a place to stay. Mom insisted that under no circumstances was I supposed to live indefinitely with her and my stepfather. I understood because she had been divorced from my father since I was 5 years old until I was 26 and I did not want to cause them problems. I think that was the best thing because so many people with mental illness depend and live with their parents and this causes immense problem for the parents as the sick child stays for years. I stayed for 5 months and according to my mother, that was too long.
Q. When did you know you had a problem with alcohol?
A. I saw Aerosmith’s lead singer, Steven Tyler, on a talk show and he said he was sober and had written the Foreward for a book called Being Sober. I immediately ordered the book on Amazon and read it. Dr. so and so wrote about self-medication of the mentally ill with alcohol to increase their levels of dopamine. I realized how much energy I was devoting to this and how dangerous and harmful it was to my organs, body, face, skin and finally personality. People with schizophrenia have an overabundance of dopamine and their medication reduces it so they can function normally. Being an alcoholic, I chased this dopamine high with wine.
Q. How did you quit?
A. I checked into a detox center and I immediately stopped drinking with my husband’s support and started going to a recovery group that I found online. I have been taking medication for my schizophrenia for twenty-two years and have been without alcohol for a little over 9 months.
Q. What medications have and have not worked for you?
A. I passed out twice from a significant decrease in blood pressure when I was on Melleril. I was on Wellbutrin for a good 15 years and now I see it caused me to be in a brain fog the entire time. I liked Zyprexa but am no longer on it. but have been on Fluphenizine 20 mg. for 20 years. It has been very good but not enough strength to keep delusions away. I have now been on Latuda, 120 mg. for the last 4 months and love it. I am very happy. I became very delusional on Risperdol and Seroquel and wound up in the hospital 15 years ago.
Q. What do you like better, drinking wine or not?
A. I like being sober better. I now have close friends I can talk to from my recovery group instead of drowning alone in my problems. My husband understands more than ever how important this is for me.
Q. What caused the memories.