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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder Email Volunteers

The people listed below have volunteered their email address for information and/or support. Feel free to write them.


Disclaimer

Self-help is useful, but it is not a substitute for professional assistance. Emotional and behavioral problems can be debilitating and dangerous.

Please seek professional help: 

if you have thoughts of killing yourself or harming others;
if you feel depressed, anxious, guilty or down on yourself frequently; 
if you are abusing substances; 
if your performance or interpersonal relationships are impaired.

"Our purpose is to give information. We cannot, and are not, assuming the role of your physician or therapist in any of our replies. 

We also do not know your other medical problems and psychiatric diagnoses, which usually have a dramatic effect on medication (and other treatment) recommendations. You must make a medical and treatment plan with your physician and therapist(s)."

Volunteers

1) My name is Katy and I'm 21 year old Christian living in South Dakota with my husband and two cats Dax and C.J. (They are my children, lol). I am a recovering addict and have been diagnosed with borderline personality disorder , DID, bipolar 2, PTSD due to several types of abuse growing up, anorexia and bulimia, chronic depression, agoraphobia, and panic disorder.

I was abused by family from a very early age until around fourteen. I began self harming to seek attention and to call for help, and was hospitalized numerous times. I felt safe nowhere because no one in my family protected me. By the age of sixteen I was heavy into drugs, become a prostitute, and ran away from home several times only to end up coming back. I soon hated myself, and felt there was no way out. Thankfully I decided to get help. 

I love my family dearly in spite of their many problems, but I had to step away and find my own sanity and sense of safety. I'm active in therapy and a twice a month depression group at my hospital where I often lead/ moderate discussion. I also help run NA, AA, and SA groups in my local town. I've gone through DBT and found it to be quite helpful, as well as other therapy classes (Courage to Heal, etc.). 

Anyone who needs or wants to talk can contact me at k8tymarie@yahoo.com

2)  Hi, I am Cathy.  I am the mother of two boys and married for a long time. But, before I was married, my life was a living hell.  I was abused physically, mentally and emotionally by my family.  In addition, I was sexually abused by my father and many of his friends and "uncles", from the time I was three until I was 19 and left home.  After that brutality, I didn't know how to have a normal relationship with anyone, so I fell into relationships that were equally abusive and horrific.  Thus, the alphabet soup of PTSD that I live with now and have for most of my adult life. 

PTSD is an "interesting" series of ups and downs, ins and outs, but it is survivable, can be healing, but we all need someone to hear us out and listen to what we have to say.  I want to be able to be that someone for those who have no one else to talk with.  I answer all mail, and check in with you to make sure that you are doing okay.    clbj_36@hotmail.com

3) My name is Rachael and I am a 34 year old married woman. We don't have  children, but we have a cat named Isaac. I work as a grant writer/fund developer at a substance abuse agency. 

I am diagnosed with PTSD, Bi-polar II, EDNOS, and Personality Disorder NOS. I have been hospitalized five times, and have been on a host of medications to try and stabilize me. I have tried DBT (bad experience) and a Women's Trauma group (good experience), in addition to twice weekly talk therapy. 

On PTSD: About 9 years ago, my husband and I were attacked in our bedroom by an intruder. We were both stabbed multiple times and hospitalized for several days. After the hospitalization, we spent a month recovering in my parent's house. We then returned to NYC to try and live and work again. It didn't work. Although we moved to a different apartment (one with a door man), my husband slept with a baseball bat and I had to tour the entire apartment when I would come in to make certain no one was there. Eventually, I got fired from my job because I just couldn't concentrate on it anymore. We next moved to Vermont and took whatever jobs came along to try and forget. 

A few years later, we moved to New Haven, CT as my husband was accepted at Yale Divinity School. My PTSD symptoms had mostly disappeared. Then they came back with a vengeance. I wanted to die. I wanted to kill someone. I spent a lot of time drinking. A friend recommended a therapist who specialized in PTSD and I made an appointment. I have been working with her ever since. In our last session, we talked about the stabbing, how I locked my self out of the apartment as I went to get help from the neighbors, as my husband struggled with the intruder, alone. It is the one thing I will never be able to forgive myself for doing. It's the one thing that probably prevents me from moving on.

Bi-polar: As my PTSD symptoms raged, I was referred to a psychiatrist for meds. We started with all the usual. An anti-depressant (Paxil) which I hated, then Trazadone, which was okay except for the thirst. Then, I went on a spending spree, became hypomanic. Was diagnosed BP II, given depakote. In between, I got addicted to Klonopin, smashed my car up because I fell asleep on the highway on the way to Law School. I also fell asleep in therapy, was taken to the hospital, and then institutionalized for a few days as I slept off the Klonopin. 

I am a rapid cycler, and my moods are mostly down. I had a psychotic episode and was "papered" and put on zyprexa. I gained lots of weight. I have been hospitalized five times. Twice by my own doing with my therapist for suicidal ideations and three times -- Klonopin, Psychotic episode, Suicide attempt (lithium overdose) against my will.

Now, I take Effexor, Lithium, Klonopin, Sonata, and Synthroid for my underactive thyroid.

Eating Disorder: Two years ago, I was diagnosed with EDNOS when I stopped eating and got down to 110 pounds. That incident may have precipitated the psychotic episode (my therapist would say yes, I don't think so). The Zyprexa made me gain back the weight I lost and then some. I was seen by a counselor at the Yale Center for Eating and Weight Disorders, and later a nutritionist.

Today, I eat less than 1000 calories a day. I am back at the Eating Disorder Clinic. Because my metabolism is all screwed up, I have lost much weight. I am in starvation mode, and my excessive exercise doesn't seem to be helping me lose weight, either.

I am fortunate to have a supportive and loving husband and family. I have a supportive work environment. I have a fabulous psychologist, a great psychiatrist, an interesting eating disorder therapist, a great nutritionist. Somehow, I have managed to put together a great treatment team. 

I struggle with my illness everyday, but with self education, therapy, medications, and the support of a loving husband and family, I manage to get up everyday and go to work. Write me and I'll respond as fast as I can. 
EMAIL me at: rachaelba@yahoo.com  Thanks 

4) Hi, My name is Terri and i am a 41 year old female who has been through the rampant of the mental health illnesses.  I live in Ohio, and have a house filled with animals, to me they are good therapy, and i also have a very supportive husband.  My illness have consisted of Major Depression, panic disorder, anorexia, OCD, which is under control for about 10 years now, Schizoaffective bipolar and alcoholism.  I was once misdiagnosed as borderline personality disorder, i had a bad experience with that diagnosis, a misinformed doctor.

At this point in my life i battle mainly with the schizoaffective bipolar and also PTSD from childhood abuse, which i forgot to add, sorry.  I have been managing my panic disorder and am not longer practicing any anorexic behavior in 15 years.  One thing i have been doing for a long time is researching all of these mental illnesses and others to find out as much as i can to help myself and keep up on new treatments.  I have spent time in the hospitals, mainly the Veterans Administration hospital, I was in the Air Force for 6 years where I began to drink heavily to cover up the depression and anxiety i was feeling.  I have also been going to college for a long time studying social work and psychology and am at a senior level but the courses don't go towards one degree and i do not have the money to finish.  Someday i know i will.

At one point in time i was a drug/alcohol counselor in the military, if you can believe it and a peer counselor when i got out.  By the way i no longer drink for a number of years.  It was strange, but once i finally got the right treatment i just quit drinking, i never tried to quit, it just happened, and now the smell of it makes me sick.   I am here to answer the questions i can, and if i don't know i will try and find them for you, or if you just want to chat about an mental health issue also.

We all need to become knowledgeable of mental health issues so society will hopefully someday remove the stigma that still exists. With that have a good day. Wicketbears@aol.com

5) Call me Doc O. I am 55 years old, married, have two children, three step-children and seven grandchildren.

I was an Army medic. (For those of you who were not in the military, all medics and corpsmen were called Doc). I was drafted in 1965, a week after I turned nineteen. The Army decided I should be a medic. This was during the time of the build up in Viet Nam. One third of my training company went to Viet Nam. I was assigned to headquarters of a helicopter battalion as an ambulance driver. My duties were to provide medical support during operations at the airfield, in case of a crash. We also held clinics at the local villages (hamlets). Those were known as MedCAP clinics. Medical Civic Action Program.

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After I left Viet Nam I worked on Recovery Ward at an Army hospital. As a medic I saw quite a few people die. Most of them did not bother me at the time. For the next thirty five years, I felt that nothing bothered me. In August of 2001, I started having problems with my memories. Everything was bothering me. Much of it was caused by ďsurvivors guiltĒ. Why did I live, when so many others died? I got counseling at the local Vet Center and after five months I was able to handle my life very well. Iím one of the fortunate ones, as most vets donít come back that quickly. I knew I had to talk, so I didnít wait until the problem got too big to handle. I will always have the memories, but now I know how to handle them. I have learned the importance of being able to talk about the past. That is one of the problems of the vets of all wars. When we returned, no one wanted to talk about it, so we kept it inside and moved on.

The reason Iím here as a volunteer, is that I care about people. Itís just the way I am. If I can help make anyone's life better, that is my reward. Itís worth more than any medal given for service by the military. I donít care if you are a vet or not. If you have a problem and need to talk, Iím here. We should all be able to sleep through the night.

doc145thcab@hotmail.com

6) Hi, I am Mickey. I am a 38 yr old female. I am a single mother of three. I am a survivor of childhood sexual, emotional and physical abuse. I am also a survivor of adult rape. I never understood why people called me a survivor. I certainly did not feel like one. 

After trial and error with several therapists I finally found one that was right for me. I have been in intensive therapy for 2 and a half years.

Life is worth living and I am important. The nightmares, flashbacks, anxiety attacks and all the self doubt have been very much a part of my life. One thing I found, to be the most helpful in my journey through this (it is an on going process) is to find people who truly understand. Sometimes just a listening ear is what it takes to get you through one more night. I would now like to be that set of ears for someone else.

You may contact me at Mickey3hud@aol.com 

7) I am 33 years old. I was a witness to the events of 9-11 in New York City. At first, my emotions were anger and fear. I worked in lower Manhattan and, within days, had to go back to work in the dust and the horrible smell. Military personnel and equipment everywhere, no cars, everyone walking around stunned. For weeks and months the constant immediate reminders kept me in a state of shock and provided me with what I thought was the reason for my continuing feelings of sadness and stress.

My work started to suffer. I got angry very quickly at little things. Basically my emotions became skewed. My general level of feeling was indifference, marked by extreme levels of anger or grief. I lashed out at other people. I cried at night. Simple things like the color of the sky or the temperature in the air would bring me back to that day and would send me into extreme anxiety or panic attacks. I had nightmares on occasion, mostly involving the feeling of running away from war situations and losing those around me.

By January of 2002 I was in therapy. By the spring I was on medication for depression and anxiety. Things have been up and down since then.

PTSD is a roller-coaster. The feeling of being out-of-control can be overwhelming and very frightening. One of the biggest obstacles I overcame eventually was the guilt I felt for feeling bad. While so many people died on that day, who was I to let these feelings intrude on my life and my relations with other people? I overcame this with a lot of internal reflection and also with a good deal of help from other people on the PTSD boards. Sometimes just talking and having people validate your feelings and provide everyday but easy to overlook suggestions to the daily struggles of PTSD can be a huge help. I hope that this is what I can provide.
smhppp@suscom.net 

8) My name is Barbara and I am a 51 year old survivor of emotional, physical and sexual abuse, the have mostly amnesia for the first 20 years of my life, until I got married and moved out of that house. I remember very little, but my sister have told me stories of the abuse I suffered at the hands of my mother. 

About twenty plus year ago I went to my first therapist mostly for marriage counseling issues, my husband lasted three week i stay about 8 or 9 years, I told my therapist that my mother had slapped us around some and that my step father had molested my sisters (we did sleep in the same bed) he was the first therapist or person that told me i was an abused child, i got so mad at him that I walked right out of the office and didn't believe him, when I did go back I told him that abused children where children burned with cigarettes and locked in closet, of course not having any of my own memories other than the fantasy world I created, it did make me start to question my sisters and other people involved in our lives. We live pretty isolated because I guess my parents didn't want anyone to know what was going on in our house. 

I have been married 31 years to the same man and the second therapist we went to was once again for marital problems, my husband worked with the therapist about a year and then i worked with the therapist on my own about 7 years, he told me that I suffered from PTSD i always just thought that i suffered from anxiety and depressed, but I could never figure out why i was depressed i have a husband who I love three wonderful grown children, but always depressed.

I had stopped therapy this past January because I thought that we were going nowhere and I wasn't always connected to myself anyhow and figured I would try life on my own. Some days I realized that I lived in a dissociative state, I had ask therapist number to test me and he told me "no" it wasn't necessary.

In May I left work and wasn't feeling well, I came home upset and crying from a very stressful job and I couldn't deal with any more, I stayed at this job longer than I wanted too, because our older daughter was getting married that May. So three weeks before her wedding I became very sick with an inner ear infection, Doctor had to really drug me up to help me stay on my feet for the wedding (But it was a beautiful day) after the wedding i collapsed and stayed sitting in a chair for weeks i could stop the vertigo, after that i developed a sinus infection and had to have surgery, developed asthma, and not to mention all the drug induced dancing at my daughter's wedding (LOL) made me not feel the pain i was having in my foot, ended up have surgery on three toes. so it was about four months of all these different illness and i thought that i was about over everything and getting ready to return to work, when i became so tired i could barely move, back to the Doctor to fine out that I was now suffering from Epstein Barr and I have been out of work now for six month, I have lost my job and I have had to apply for SS and will meet next week with my lawyer because Chronic fatigue Syndrome can take a long time to go away, and here is where my problem really comes into sight. With therapist # 2 we had figured out wherever I was in pain or tired it would trigger my PTSD and I could be so depressed. 

So I am now seeing many medical doctors and an acupuncture and I also decided I should also find a new therapist, for my depression from being sick so long. I figure I would research and find a therapist who dealt with trauma and abuse survivors, plus I wanted to be tested for the dissociation, The last two therapist helped me a lot, but either was able to help me stay connected. I also wanted to try a woman therapist the last two were men. So i been going about five weeks and she tested me the second visit with the DES test for dissociation and it turns out that I scored very high and I have a DD a Dissociative Disorder which has never been really treated plus there is a very big possible that I also have DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder) the new name for MPD (Multiple Personally Disorder) and I used to think having the PTSD was terrible. So that is my story and I am lonely and scared of what is ahead for me. I have check out this therapist since finding out this new diagnosis and she seems to have a good background in dealing with kind of disorder.

I just that God that I was able to hold it together until my children were raised, I still have two living home but they are adults. So if anyone wants to write to me I will welcome the mail.
BMessano@aol.com 

9) Though I am only 24 years old, I feel I've had quite a bit of experience in the field of mental illness. Diagnosed with Major Depression and Bipolar II disorder in 1997, I am also in recovery from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (a survivor of both childhood physical and sexual abuse), A.D.D. as well as several compulsive and addictive personality disorders around food, sex and self-injury.

My one suicide attempt occurred while attending one of the most prestigious Universities in the Country -- so I can relate very much to school and work pressure, perfectionism and failure.

Since my diagnosis I have had the opportunity to attend several treatment centers that specialized in addiction, mood disorder and most recently Trauma. It was at these centers that I was able to forgive my family for their part in my distress, learn to accept their love and support, but most importantly, identify myself as something other than the victim I had recklessly become-- a survivor and a space-taking deserving, powerful human being.

Of course I still struggle here and there- I work a very stressful job on the Stock Exchange, live alone in New York City and even find myself having difficulty getting out of bed on rainy days; But every day I learn something more about my true self.. and this keeps me away from falling to the demons behind me.

I hope I can be of some use to your service. I am very open and willing and would feel very grateful to help in any way that I can.

I look forward to hearing from you as well as answering any questions you might have.

kristina555@gmail.com

10) My name is Anita. I survived molestation before age 5, by my step-grandfather and in my church yard, by my PREACHER. I was raped three times by my brother-in-law, age 13, 14 and 15. I had a baby at 16 from the last attack. I had been taught by then, don't tell because we will just ignore your needs or your traumas. so at age 45, it all came crashing back and I had to begin healing. I went through 18 yrs of marriage to a beater who denied it. The final straw was when I found he had touched my daughter at 9 yrs of age while I was giving birth. 

After the healing process from that began, I was stalked by an officer, and became involved in a worst than hell relationship and only found out when too late what he was doing. I would NOT do things this man wanted and was physically and mentally abused and told how sick and warped I was and repeatedly set up for arrest by him and his partners.

I am healing. I will listen to you and be here for you in your journey back. I look forward to being there for you. 

destinycalledthruthefire@yahoo.com

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