TRIGGER WARNING: MENTION OF SUICIDE ATTEMPT, EATING DISORDER
So I've been dealing with a lot of challenging information this week with regard to my mental health.
In 2000, when I was 15, I attempted suicide. I'd had an aggressive eating disorder for about 2 years at this point - that continued until I was 24 or 25. My parents got me a little bit of counseling after the attempt, but they mostly swept it all under the rug. Then, in 2002, I had what they classified as another "depressive episode," which caused them to send me to a psychiatrist who prescribed antidepressants (Wellbutrin). No therapy support. I was away at college at this time.
I realized this week that I probably attempted suicide not because of my own horrific depression, but because of the experiences I had with narcissistic family members.
I don't think I'm that messed up. I think that I suffered some serious trauma in childhood that led me to some desperate acts because I was a kid and didn't know what else to do.
Instead of pushing for therapy and getting me better coping mechanisms, my parents took me as a minor and essentially forced meds down my throat. They told me I would never be able to function without medication because my depression was so severe. They also beat the idea that I had a neurochemical imbalance into my head as a child.
I'm seriously pissed about this.
What I'm trying to get at: I think it's possible that I'm not seriously mentally ill. In fact, I think it's possible that I'm not mentally ill. I think I was a teen trying to deal with a crappy home life, and it was easier to "check out" because I'd been intentionally isolated by my parents and couldn't talk to anyone about what was happening at home.
Yes, I engaged in some self-harm - but it was only because I couldn't find even a tiny bit of control in my life. I felt like a spectator watching my own existence float by because I wasn't empowered to make my own choices.
I was diagnosed with Seasonal Affective Disorder in 2002. For some reason, the psych thought it was okay to put me on permanent medication, and no one else seemed to question this decision. Fifteen years later, I've been through a panel of psych meds from scores of docs. Some of those meds left me with horrifying side effects.
Frankly, I'm just angry.
- I'm angry that my family gets the convenient excuse of "Oh, you're mentally ill," any time I have a legitimate concern about our relationship. Everything can just be dismissed *poof* because "your perception of reality is distorted." That's the ultimate mechanism for gaslighting - a narcissist's DREAM.
- I'm angry that I've been medicated for nearly half my life because of this ongoing rhetoric that says I'm just not "good enough."
- I'm angry that I've allowed myself to be sedated and convinced that there is something deeply and fundamentally wrong with me ... when the medication just made me more convenient to deal with. They masked my feelings and led me to years of self-harm because I never dealt with the underlying cause.
- I'm angry that the meds made me manic and caused more problems for me in the long term.
What could I have done with 15 functional years? What damage has been done to my brain? Is this why I've found it impossible to build real relationships with other people and actually hold down a job?
I feel dismay and regret that I bought what everyone was "selling" and told myself that I was sick. I'm afraid to trust my own brain now, and that makes me even more upset. My world view is toppling, and I'm working through it with a counselor, but this just feels like betrayal from the people who should have been helping, not hurting.
Thanks for letting me vent. I'm seriously looking forward to getting opinions and input from everyone on this forum.