One “illness” that a lot of survivors of abuse suffer from is depression – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_depressive_disorder .
As I am not a mental health expert, I’m not going to delve into why it is this way, however, as a generic link, I’d like to quote the abovementioned Wikipedia page:
“Such a link has good face validity given that it is during the years of development that a child is learning how to become a social being. Abuse of the child by the caregiver is bound to distort the developing personality and create a much greater risk for depression and many other debilitating mental and emotional states”
Personally, I think I have always been depressed, yet when I was younger and in my teens, I wasn’t aware of it, and none of the mental health professionals I encountered ever discussed or suspected this condition to affect me. It wasn’t until I was in my first year at university when shit hit the fan and my world crumbled, that I was diagnosed with it and put on antidepressants.
Looking back, I think it was probably the best solution for me at that point in time- I wasn’t aware of the abuse back then, and medication seemed like the way to go forward to get me out of that mental black hole that I had fallen into.
I was on them for a little while and quit, and it wasn’t until my first flashback, when the doctor that I saw for post-traumatic stress disorder, put me back on them. Three years went by, and last year I finally decided to get off of Citalopram while living in East Africa. Somehow the surrounding culture, nature, and the beautiful experiences I had helped me feel blessed in life and lifted my mood.
But now, as I juggle with a highly stressful sales career, a new relationship, my best friend moving out of the country, and so many other things, it has come time to get help from that little daily pill that lifts me from the bottom of the dark cave that my mind so often goes to. It is like first aid to my mind; it doesn’t take the cause away, it just helps me to keep things together so I don’t completely lose it. I was partly relieved and partly scared to get on it again, but my doctor didn’t let me leave the appointment without promising to get on the medication as I was distraught and couldn’t stop crying. I guess pharmacological aids are her speciality, and I can’t blame her.
The industry is making big bucks from the pharmaceuticals designed for the modern human who tries to survive in this fast-paced 21st Century world, yet I don’t think it is the ultimate answer for a survivor of childhood abuse who battles depression due to the trauma. I firmly believe it enables you to hide the true reasons for your mental health problems without taking away the cause; only therapy can do this.
So as I wait to find a good and understanding therapist (still got my free NHS CBT therapy every now and then…), I might as well pop that pill just to help me live on.