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by alolson87 on Mon Oct 22, 2012 7:46 pm


I've seen a therapist for about six or seven months last year and that's been pretty much all that I've had to address my mental health issues, although that was really helpful. I'm a survivor of various forms of abuse (mental, physical, sexual, etc.) and suspect that I may also possibly be on the autistic spectrum (probably having Asperger's). My mother has borderline personality disorder and I'm not sure what my biological father has but it involves psychotic delusions/beliefs that he was sent to Earth by God and my mother was sent by Satan to destroy him. I grew up with three half siblings, two who sexually assaulted me, and all of who despised me (and I don't exaggerate. They bullied me so frequently that my first actual words were "Stop It" and they threw rocks at my mother's stomach before I was born). I was also born with a congenital brain malformation that causes hormone deficiencies. I currently take cortisol, thryroid medications, oestrogen, and injectable growth hormone. My not making oestrogen, I've been told, can be classed as an intersex condition and since I do identify as genderqueer, I also identify as intersex, which I'm afraid most doctors won't respect/recognise. I also practise non-monogamy and am worried that will be seen as contributory toward my mental disorders.

I've had what I believe to be anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and paranoia all of my life. It's gotten better since I was younger. When I was younger, I used to believe there were cameras in shower heads watching me, that if I didn't say a certain phrase before going to sleep at night someone would come kill me, that if I flushed the toilet and stayed in the bathroom a monster would come out of the vents and eat me. A lot of times when I was younger I'd invent stories in my head about monsters and they would end up scaring me so bad that I would start to do compulsions to prevent the monsters were coming. At other times I'd fixate on something and obsess over it. Like I'd learn about fire safety at school and I'd become obsessed with trying to learn a fire escape route. Or I'd learn about the Heimlich maneuver and I'd convince myself I had the chew my food 20 times before swallowing it, or swallowing would become very difficult. I had a bad flare up 2 years ago where I thought I was going into anaphylaxis (I've never been allergic to anything in my life) and had frequent panic attacks and obsessed about what I ate and whether I was having an allergic reaction to it. I still have a hard time watching medical shows that show anaphylaxis happening and if I eat something new, I notice myself obsessing about it.

My overall anxiety has improved now that I am no longer living with my mother and have access to regular healthcare. My therapist that I had briefly helped me realise that most of my anxiety has operated as a coping mechanism for me. Growing up in the environment that I did, I believed I developed anxiety as a way to create challenges and obstacles I felt I could actually control or master with compulsions to compensate for the fact that I was dealing with so many things I couldn't control. I'm going to pursue a diagnosis for Aspergers and am currently seeking therapy through ELOP. It's hard for me to tell the difference though between what could be part of anxiety, part of growing up with a borderline parent, part of being on the autistic spectrum (I do have a lot of rituals, texture sensitivities, problems processing social situations, etc.), or what could be due to hormonal abnormalities. It seems like my OCD could be caused by any number of things or at least these thing may contribute to them. I'm worried about finding a therapist who will understand not only OCD and anxiety issues, but also know a bit about people on the spectrum or people who have borderline parents.

Now, my anxiety is having an effect on my relationship. When my partner expresses anger, I have a hard time not taking it very personally and assuming he hates me. I obsess over trying to find clues that he secretly hates me. He has a hard time communicating when he's angry, which only exacerbates my issues. Because I cannot read any non-verbal cues he gives me, I make my own answers. I catastrophise and assume the worst, sometimes acting on that. I know couples fighting is normal, but it feels like every time we have even a simple argument, I feel like the world is going to end. I don't want him to feel like he can't get mad or express frustration without me freaking out. But I don't know how to stop feeling like everything's going to hell when we have an argument. He's promised to seek counselling to help him communicate when he's angry and I clearly need to address my anxiety more so that it stops affecting me so badly in our relationship.

I'm very new to therapy and it took me a long time to accept that it could help me. My mother is also bipolar and when she sought therapy, the medications they gave her turned her into a depressive zombie and I worried the same would happen to me. I was terrified for a long time that if I went to therapy they would lock me up because of my brief history of suicidal thoughts or that I was crazier than I actually am. I'm still very wary about taking medication. I don't know anything about all the types of therapies out there and feel very overwhelmed with trying to address all of my issues.

So my question is... what if any advice could you give me? What types of therapies would best address my combination of issues? Should I focus on one thing at a time? And if so, what?