Hi LadyTiger - It must have been hard to leave at 16, even if you went somewhere safe (and I hope you did). A year of counseling can help (depending on the counselor), but if the abuse was severe and long term, you probably need much more therapy. A lot of child abuse victims need to be "re-parented" by a therapist - that means a long term solid relationship with a therapist who can fix some of the emotional damage and help you re-build a good sense of yourself and your boundaries. If you are still crying and can't talk about it, I suspect you need more counseling. Hope you have insurance that covers it. If you go, be very, very careful because there are a lot of not-very-good therapists out there. You might contact an association that deals with abuse and get recommendations from them. Also, if you don't feel comfortable with a therapist, don't stay, keep looking for someone you feel safe with. You need to "get it" not just in your mind, but in your heart and soul, that what happened to you was NOT YOUR FAULT.
Also, you need to learn skills so you will not be victimized again. People abused as children are very vulnerable to repeated abuse as adults because they think this behavior is normal - it is not. Please get it straight that it is okay to talk about being an abuse victim (when you feel comfortable). You'd be surprised how many abuse victims are walking around in silence. The people who abused you were the REALLY sick people. You deserve some loving kindness and some help. There are a lot of resources online.
I don't know how much you know about science or medicine. If not much, then you must find some kind of health professional to guide you. Sometimes a CRNP (Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner) is better than a busy doctor. They can be primary care providers in some states, and nurses are usually better trained at listening and patient care. They are sometimes better about working with you to find the right referrals.
When I said on my other post, take in information to the doctor, I meant when you find information online that especially hits home with you - where you go "Oh, that's exactly how I feel! Those are my symptoms!" and there is also some helpful medical information attached to it - print those things off. For example, you might google "child abuse and adrenal exhaustion." I just did that, and there is a lot of good reading there.
I copied the following information from the site at e-fibromyalgia, run by a chiropractor. Sorry, this is long, but I include it as an example of information someone might take in (IF it matched their symptoms) because it has some history of the condition and also some ideas for testing and treatment. Maybe others will find it interesting too. (I take DHEA every day and feel better with it. You should get your DHEA level checked by a blood test first, and work with a health professional to take the right dosage, if you need it.) Here's the post from e-fibromyalgia, but I can't include his URL:
"Retrospective studies show that the stress of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood increases the future risk of developing certain symptoms or illnesses. These illnesses include many of the same symptoms associated with fibromyalgia , including fatigue, poor sleep, chronic pain, chronic viral infections, anxiety, and depression.
Apparently, for some children and adolescents, too many traumatic or stressful events de-condition their normal homeostatic stress coping abilities. Thus, stress and particularly traumatic stress, early in life, may alter the set point of the stress response system, rendering these individuals prone to stressful events later in life.
The other insightful point about this subject matter. This most likely occurs from over-stimulation and depletion of certain stress coping hormones including serotonin, norepinephrine, cortisol, and DHEA.
Let me proceed with this short article. Research shows that patients with fibromyalgia have genetic tendencies that cause them to be affected more drastically by the ups and downs of stress. Fibromyalgia patients are also more likely to report a history of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse during childhood and adulthood, compared to other patient subgroups.
Sadly, I find that many of my fibromyalgia and CFS patients have experienced physical, emotional or sexual abuse as a child.
Stress is the main culprit in low adrenal function as well.
The Adrenal Glands
The adrenals are a pair of pea-sized glands located atop each kidney. The adrenal gland consists of 2 sections: the medulla (inner portion) and the cortex (outer portion). The adrenal glands release certain hormones that allow us to be able to deal with immediate and long-term stress. These glands and the hormones they release allow us to be resilient to day-to-day stress…... Second only to restoring consistent deep restorative sleep, optimal adrenal function is crucial for over coming low thyroid and or fibromyalgia.
Adrenal fatigue is known to cause:
O hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
O hypotension (low blood pressure)
O neural mediated hypotension (become dizzy when stand up)
O decreased mental acuity
O low body temperature (also a sign of low thyroid function)
O decreased metabolism
O a compromised immune system
O decreased sense of well-being (depression)
O hyperpigmentation (excess skin color changes)
O loss of scalp hair
O excess facial or body hair
O vitiligo (changes in skin color)
O auricular calcification (little calcium deposits in the ear lobe)
O GI disturbances
O abdominal pain
O muscle or joint pains
The adrenal cortex is primarily associated with response to chronic stress (infections, prolonged exertion, prolonged mental, emotional, chemical, or physical stress). The hormones of the cortex are steroids. The main steroid is cortisol…...Chronic over secretion of cortisol leads to adrenal exhaustion, which accelerates the downward spiral towards chronic poor health. Once in adrenal exhaustion your body cannot release enough cortisol to keep up with the daily demands. Eventually you become deficient in cortisol and then DHEA.
Chronic headaches, nausea, allergies, nagging injuries, fatigue, dizziness, hypotension, low body temperature (low thyroid), depression, low sex drive, chronic infections, and cold hands and feet are just some of the symptoms that occur with adrenal cortex exhaustion.
Abnormal Circadian Rhythm
Cortisol levels are affected by stress and the body’s circadian rhythm (sleep-wake cycle). Cortisol secretions rise sharply in the morning, peaking at approximately eight a.m. After its peak, cortisol production starts to taper off until it reaches a low point at one a.m.
The next interesting subject close to this study. Fluctuations in cortisol levels can occur whenever normal circadian rhythm is altered (a change in sleep-wake times). Traveling through different time zones (jet lag) changes in work shifts, or a change bedtime can cause drastically alter normal cortisol patterns.
Therefore maintaining or reestablishing normal sleep/wake cycles is crucial for optimal adrenal health.
Not Enough DHEA
The adrenal cortex, when healthy, produces adequate levels of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA).
O sex drive
O resistance to stress
O self-defense mechanisms (immune system)
O general well-being
And helps to raise:
O cortisol levels
O overall adrenal function
O cellular energy
O mental acuity
O muscle strength
Chronic stress initially causes the adrenals to release extra cortisol. Continuous stress raises cortisol to abnormally high levels. Then the adrenal glands get to where they cannot keep up with the demand for more cortisol. As the cortisol levels continue to become depleted from on going stress the body attempts to counter this by releasing more DHEA. Eventually they cannot produce enough cortisol or DHEA. Aging makes holding on to DHEA even tougher. Even in healthy individuals, DHEA levels begin to drop after the age of 30. By age 70, they’re at about 20% of their peak levels.
Stress and DHEA
…. DHEA helps prevent the destruction of tryptophan (5HTP), which increases the production of serotonin. This helps provide added protection from chronic stress. Studies continue to show low DHEA to be a biological indicator of stress, aging, and age-related diseases including neurosis, depression, peptic ulcer, IBS, and others.
Testing for Adrenal Fatigue
Ragland’s sign is an abnormal drop in systolic blood pressure (the top number) when a person arises from a lying to a standing position. There should be a rise of 8-10 mm. In the systolic (top) number. A drop or failure to rise indicates adrenal fatigue. Example: Someone takes your blood pressure while you are lying on your back. The systolic number is 120 and the diastolic number is sixty (120 over 60). Then take your blood pressure again after immediately standing up. The systolic number (120) should go up ten points (from 120 to 130). If it does not increase ten points, this indicates adrenal fatigue.
Reducing stress, boosting adrenal function with a good multivitamin and DHEA will help you build-up your stress coping abilities. There are several good adrenal supplements on the market, just visit your local health food store.
About Dr. Murphree. Dr. Murphree is a board certified nutritional specialist and chiropractic physician who has been in private practice since 1990. He’s the founder and past clinic director for a large integrated medical practice located on the campus of Brookwood Hospital in Birmingham Alabama. The clinic was staffed with medical doctors, chiropractors, acupuncturists, nutritionists, and massage therapists. The clinic combined prescription and natural medicines for acute and chronic illnesses. He’s the author of five books for patients and doctors, including “Treating and Beating Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome,” “”Heart Disease What Your Doctor will not Tell You’” and “Treating and Beating Anxiety and Depression with Orthomolecular Medicine.”
So, Lady Tiger, IF you found an article like this online, and you thought it just hit the nail on the head for you, and explained how you were feeling, it would be helpful to print it off and take it to your healthcare provider. If you have any more questions, let us know…. wishing you well. You can get better! There are many treatments for fibromyalgia, you have to figure out what works for you. And, do not take DHEA (which is a hormone) without getting a blood test and working with a health care person.