I'm only 16, and my mental health has taken an alarming turn to the delusional.
It started out as a series of dreams. I learnt a lot about myself and others. Then it became an undying obsession. I was addicted to the dreaming. It took over my life. Much of my waking hours was dedicated to analyzing these thoughts. Then, I started having almost like visions or daydreams of these dreams, which were all interconnected ever so complexly. Then, I got to the point that I was no longer able to recognize my subconscious- the builder of these dreams and the sender of these amazing messages, as myself. I became infatuated with it, my own mind. I fell in love. My mind became a totally separate entity from my conscious mind. I was obsessed. He was abusive. He shouted at me whenever I refused to participate in the games and puzzles that he planted into my dreams. I managed to figure out that I could shut him, my subconscious, up with narcotics. Percocet worked well, as did darvocet, both of which I have in abundance due to me having knee surgery and severe migraine headaches. I threatened him with them, but it felt wrong. I felt like I had to submit to him. I then agreed to play his games and I won. I solved his puzzles. For about two weeks, I was happy. He was quiet. He seemed not to exist. I had no dreams at night. My life was great. I didn't crave pills. I did exceptionally well in school. I was focused on all the right things. Then, slowly, the dreams came back. I fell back in love, and became completely out-of-touch with reality. Here I am now, doped up on oxycodone just so I can type these words coherently with a trace of logic behind them. Here I am now as myself, with him locked away in the shed for three hours or so, trying to make sense of my life. Here I am now, desperate for help.
I want help. I want him to go away. I want him dead. But I love him, or at least I do when I'm sober. You have to realize that going for help is like telling somebody to kill their spouse- it won't feel natural. If I go to a hospital now, my parents, who will totally force me into doing anything they want me to do because of my age and mental status, will have to be my medical proxies. That thought scares me more than dying, to be honest, and I'm not exactly fond of the idea of dying at the age of 16, so that really says a lot. I want help, but I want to be respected as a person who can make their own medical decisions despite my age. I just want to be aided, and because I'm a minor, that has to wait. I'm stuck at home with the parentals for another year and a half, and I turn 18 in around a year and a few months. I just want answers. I want to talk to somebody. Medication is something I'd be okay with if I'm not forced to take it. I only really trust one person in real life, and everyone else at school is COMPLETELY off-limits, mostly because they talk too much to their parents, who will in turn talk to my parents. I have no clue what to do. I'm actually considering withdrawing all of the money from my bank account and running away to some type of home that can give me free psychiatric help without a proxy, but that would mean jepordizing(sp?) my whole education and my whole future, so I probably won't do that. I'm thinking that I might just keep taking narcotics (again, I have a prescription that says "take as needed", so my use of them in no way is illegal) for this year and a half in low doses (3.5 mg of oxy does the trick, which is a far cry from a dose that is at all toxic, and I don't drink so my liver is in good condition anyway), and when I go off to college as an 18-year-old, I can seek proper professional help. All I know is that I need to do something about this and I need to talk to people, and that Nerdfighters usually give spot-on advice for stuff because you people are smart.
So yeah. Help?
Thanks. I hope there's a clinic nearby. I know that there's a home for battered children in my area that offers free counseling, but I don't know if it'd be appropriate for me to go there, since I'm definitely by no stretch of the imagination a battered child. Oppressed by controlling parents and in an unfortunate situation? Yeah. But I kind of would feel a bit off/guilty if I went there for help, because some kids who actually are battered could be in need of that same help. Do you think it'd be inappropriate for me to go there for counseling?
I haven't read that series but I've heard it's really good. I'm a bit tied up with school right now (science fair, APUSH, and physics labs), but it's towards the top of my summer reading list!
This looks to be turning into an iterative process. I hope you feel you're getting good support and maybe some usable advice here.
You didn't say who this trusted person is, although it doesn't sound like it matters much. I can very much relate to your parental trust issues. The obvious conventional answer is "Just talk to them. It will be fine. You're being childish". I in no way believe that. It sounds to me like your decision is based on hard evidence and not teen angst. So I won't mention anything about them again. However, as you alluded, without insurance your fairly limited options are dramatically reduced.
I do not know if there is doctor patient confidentiality for psychiatric care of a minor, I suspect not. You could check your state laws. If there is, explaining that in 18 months you will be filing a formal malpractice suit and a complaint with the Department of Professional Regulation (or whatever they're called in your state) would likely make a therapist actually take notice. Still this doesn't sound all that promising.
The battered child center is a fairly terrible idea. Step in the door and you will be descended on by a dozen police officers each with 4 social workers in tow. There is not the slightest possibility they will accept your assurances you are not battered - since that is exactly what all battered individuals (girls/boys/men/women) will say. It would be a wonderful way to have half the government employees of your county in your living room all at the same time. My gut feel is your parents would be less receptive to giving you the support you need after that little incident.
I think it is very worthwhile to examine in quite some detail this symptom free time you had. I also do not believe relief from your symptoms is a recognized use of the barbiturates you are using. This may be absolutely crucial! Examine carefully, even if you don't put in this forum, what other chemicals you are putting into your body. I'm not inferring you are a druggie or whatever. I chose the term chemicals carefully. For some reason the symptoms stopped and then restarted. For some reason a low level dose of basically a pain killer suppresses them. What changed? Do you consume 4 Red Bulls a day? Diet-Coke (Aspartame should be illegal.) Perhaps something is pushing your chemical balance over the edge). Are you taking some muscle relaxant for your knee that could be causing the whole mess? Even birth control pills. They dramatically alter your hormone balance. Think about this. CAREFULLY.
You are Very smart. Look for what changed. When it stared, when it was in remission, when it flared up worse. A painfully exhaustive analysis of this is the first thing a competent therapist would do anyway.
I never knew that aspartame can cause neurological problems. I've always been drinking diet soda, and most people I know drink large amounts of it. I might go without fake sweeteners for a week and see if I improve, I mean, yeah, I'm trying to do a low-carb diet, but I should be able to get by for one week without the Atkins bars and diet soda. I looked around online and I did see that a lot of the information on sweetners being deadly is a hoax, apparently, though, but after looking at some balanced websites on the issue, I found out that while there are some chemicals in the sweetner that could cause neurological damage in theory, they're metabolized so quickly and converted into chemicals that never make it into the blood stream and themselves are incapable of causing neurological problems (but can still increase cancer risk, though). Still, going sweetner-free for a week is something I might as well try.
I haven't seen any correlation between any anti-inflammatories for my knee and my condition, and haven't taken any of those in a while because my knee hasn't bothered me in a few weeks.
I'm on a low-dose birth control pill as treatment for polycystic ovaries. My condition definitely predates me going on birth control.
I do, however, have a family history of mental illness. My great-grandma was institutionalized for life not too long after she gave birth for a psychiatric condition. My dad doesn't know enough about her for me to say what she had, though, but I'm currently studying genealogy for a history project, and one of my goals is to find out what she had. Also, I know that there is a link between head trauma and the triggering of an underlying mental disorder. I've always had an anxiety problem, and around the time my problem started up, my head got hit with a lot of hard objects (I'm clumsy), and some of the trauma was bad enough that it caused considerable swelling in my head and neck and made me get chronic pinched nerves in my neck that cause migraine headaches.
I didn't know that the battered child home would have that kind of security and stuff. Thought it was more like an anonymous orphanage with a few therapists that work there to help the kids who run away and check themselves in. I did some googling and found some mental health clinics in my area that I'll definitely be able to drive to. I just hope that they'll accept me without a proxy because I'm a minor.
I do know for a fact that there is no confidentiality for minors by me.
The only think that changed in the good-time period was my thought process. I was able to analyze my thoughts as I'm doing now, only without the pills. This is how I usually think: Pretty much, in my dreams, my mind presents a symbol. I have to figure out what it is, what it does, what it means, and how it relates to me. Right before that time period, I figured out one of the big symbols and became aware of the fact that my mind and I both need closure regarding an old friendship of mine. I realized that this girl doesn't count me as a friend now anyway (we fought before and haven't spoken since), and I have to see it how it really is, not as us still being friends but just being distant, but as two people who are no longer friends with each other. I got better. But then, the dreams started coming back. Now, my mind is implying that I need religion in my life. I know for a fact that if I was religious, I would be institutionalized by now. I'm not religious, but I had been entertaining the notion of me possibly being possessed by a demon or something. I don't believe that I am, but if I was to convert back, I probably would believe I am, and I'd relapse worse than ever and possibly even act violently. Could my subconscious be using religion/the Church as a metaphor for something else? I don't know. I hope so. Because I don't really see religion as being a positive solution to my current situation, and I'm just confused, and hope that seeing a professional about this would help me figure things out.
I honestly can't wrap my head around your discussion of your sub-conscious. I don't think you're doing a bad job, I just have no frame of reference or training whatsoever. So I have to classify it as a black box sort of thing you're having mental problems. That's the main reason I am not trying to offer specific psychological advice. You'd be hard pressed to find someone less qualified.
Your "hick" town complicates matters a whole lot. But let me try some more thoughts. My response to your battered child center was because of the battered word. Maybe that one is different, but it just sounds like the sort of place that is circled continuously by "child welfare" police types. Maybe yours is different, I doubt it, but maybe.
Going utterly insane after childbirth, especially later in life (40s) is not all that rare and used to be even more common. It may not signify some great failing in your genes. 40 year olds have no business having children. Feminists may want it to be different, nature does not.
Honestly my leading hypothesis right now is moving more towards this head injury and ongoing neck problems. Concussions can cause all manner of problems. I don't know if it is too late for treatment and you have to wait for it to heal or what. CSF cerebral spinal fluid is very unforgiving to disruptions. If your vertebra are so subluxated that this is the cause of your migraines it is really quite good news. It would be fantastic if you could see an Upper Cervical (GROSTIC!) chiropractor. That seems like a remote possibility though. Most conventional chiropractors max out at doing barely more good than harm. Still it might be worth investigating. Assuming that doesn't work out, next best thing would be some neurological evaluations. You might be on much more comfortable ground trying to get your mother to haul you to a chiropractor or neurologist for your migraines and neck pain. Probably the worst they will do is prescribe you oxycodone :)
Only other thing I thought of is a menstrual based issue. Clearly you're not complaining of normal PMS, but your statement that you were symptom free for 2 weeks is a bit of a red flag (sorry no pun intended but I spent the last minute trying to reword that sentence.) And since this isn't new and you're 16, is there a relationship to when your cycle stabilized? It doesn't sound like that would have been years earlier? Maybe the GYN that gave you the birth control pills would have an opinion. Perhaps a different brand. Sometimes generics can have weird side effects. Just another avenue to pursue.
Am I helping at all?
The fact that there is a mental health clinic a few towns over definitely makes the battered-children home a less likely option. I admit that I know next to nothing about such homes other than that a child can go there without being questioned and they get counseling.
I have no clue how old my great-grandma was when she gave birth, tbh. My grandpa was raised in an orphanage and had limited contact with his father and almost none with his mother, so I don't know much about that side of my family, sadly. Hopefully, in my research, I'll get some answers.
I actually am seeing an upper cervical chiropractor! Her maniupulations get rid of the migraines and neck pain, but not the psychiatric issues. She's atlas-orthogonal certified, and she often does adjust my atlas, which helps a lot with the physical symptoms.
I was also in a car crash as a baby. It seemed to leave me unaffected, but may have also triggered some psychiatric condition, or have been the first trigger of it. My chiropractor verified some nerve damage at least in my left arm, so there may have also been some damage to my brain? I dunno. I had an MRI when I was getting diagnosed with migraines. I'd LOVE to get an active MRI done (those are freakin awesome and are huge helps in diagnosing psychiatric problems caused by neurological damage), but obviously I don't have money or a real explanation for one. They found nothing abnormal on my MRI other than just a bit of swelling from the pinched nerves. No masses or obvious signs of damage.
Thus being said, I did see a neurologist about the migraines. He said they were common and prescribed an antiepileptic. My family and I looked up the medicine, and after seeing how deadly and permanent the sideffects are, and how some of them contradict the purpose of me taking the medicine (a majority of people in one study suffered from severe headaches, fatigue, and dizziness as a sideffect), we all decided against it because it was a long and dangerous stretch to take just to get rid of some headaches. I had a migraine so bad that I was rushed to the emergency room. They were the first to give me the oxycodone. It helped a lot. The first time I took it, I slept for 18 hours straight. O_o Now I can take it and not feel excessively drowsy, thankfully.
I switched birth control brands a few times because some doses were giving me dreadful cramps and seemed to make the migraines worse, but like I said, the condition predated my going on the pills. I've had my period since I was 11, and it was fairly regular about 9 months or so afterwards. The condition was constantly bad before it went into remission with no parallels to my cycles. My grandma also had weird ovaries and she had a hysterectomy to get rid of them because they troubled her so much, and she didn't go through hormone replacement therapy, so she was post-menopausal by 40. Thankfully, in this day and age, I can manage to have sensible cycles just by taking a tiny green pill and not ripping out my whole freakin uterus.
You are helping, just because I'm able to talk about it and record what's going on for reference. That alone is a bit of help.
That is fantastic about the Chiropractor! You are very lucky indeed there, and I am not the least surprised that she provides real help for your migraines. I'm also not surprised with the neurologist diagnosis. If what you have is a hammer everything pretty much looks like a nail. He has a decade of training and whatever in practice that says bomb them with narcotics. Glad you managed to win that fight! You can see your tolerance to oxycodone has built up. This is the danger that drugs become ineffective and if you are not very careful you can end up taking far too much. A woman I worked with had her daughter actually die from an overdose of ASPRIN. Talk about freakin weird!
Sounds like no correlation to your period, but good knowledge you gained about how different hormone therapies affect you.
I would not use the words brain and damage in the same sentence here. Something seems to be affecting your brain, but it's not like it's broken or something. I brought up CSF and am not quite ready to let that go entirely. With such an excellent chiropractor I suggest you ask her if your condition could cause a CSF imbalance and what would be symptoms of that - in order to keep it from being a back door to your mom freaking out. I don't know that CSF can cause your symptoms, but I doubt many doctors would believe low level oxycodone is a treatment either. In my case I suffer all manner of sinus problems, the most annoying manifestation is sneezing - lots and lots and lots of sneezing. The best treatment for this has turned out to be chiropractic. Just saying we don't know as much about physiology as medical schools think we do.
That's about it. No great insights this round. Big Hug. Best Wishes.
Yeah. I just got back from seeing her, actually. My neck was stiff as hell this morning. I also have darvocet that I can take, and I plan on alternating the two so that my body doesn't get used to any one medication, and also I'm starting with such a low dose because I know that I might have to increase it up to maybe even two pills maximum (10 mg oxy with 500 mg acetaminophen, far from a dangerous dose) by the time I actually get help. You can technically overdose on anything depending on your body mass, the dosage, and how quickly you take stuff, as well as individual stuff like allergies to the medicines. I know a kid who breaks out in hives if he takes Tylenol.
Yeah. Knowledge is always good.
I'll definitely do a bit of research on CSF. It sounds plausible. Anything that my chiro knows is available in an unbiased form online, so it looks like I'll be up late reading articles and abstracts from random labs all this week. :)
Thanks! You definitely helped. I'll be doing my reading on CSF to see if it's possible that it has anything to do with my conditions.
Good luck! I have a radio club meeting tonight and won't be back on-line after this post. I won't even get home at a reasonable hour. And as they say in the "hick" towns I have to get up at a "righteously cow milking hour" in the morning to go sit in class. (no I'm not letting the hick town thing go, not yet)
I expect to be asleep by 10:00. But I'll set an alarm for lunch. This is why I actually always skip these meetings but I'm going to this one. I'm sure I'll live to regret it.