Thanks for reaching out to us, Randi. We really appreciate your willingness to share your experiences. The good news is that you are responding well to the medication and finding relief from your anxiety. It is painful to look at an emotionally abusive/neglectful childhood, but it may indeed help you understand and change some of your adult struggles.
Although, we are not licensed to make a diagnosis (and we do not have enough information about your situation), Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) can result from an abusive childhood. In fact, it is often referred to as Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) when a person has been traumatized over a long period of time. And, while you did not call your childhood abusive and neglectful, your mother’s silent treatments and father’s abandonment would absolutely be classified as traumatic.
As children, we learn how to feel safe with other people and in the world mainly from our parents and other caregivers. Many people who have been emotionally abused or neglected do not recognize their own traumas because abuse is often thought of as only physical or sexual. However, emotional abuse can be just as difficult and destructive. You sound very aware of your issues and ready to work (and it is hard work) to change some of the destructive patterns in your life.
In addition to talk therapy and medication, the following are some other paths to healing from PTSD:
- We often “hold” trauma in our bodies, which results in various symptoms such as stomach distress or chest discomfort. Many people find that working with the mind and body helps lessen the “hold” and consequently some of the stress they feel in their bodies. There are particular teachers that specialize in yoga for trauma related issues, and this can be a powerful tool in PTSD treatment. In addition to yoga, there are meditation teachers, massage therapists, and acupuncturists who have experience working with PTSD/trauma issues and can be extremely effective.
- Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) is a relatively new type of therapy that is focused on trauma. The theory behind EMDR is when we experience a traumatic event (or a series of traumatic events), we store those memories in a part of our brain (the limbic system) that does not have access to language. Therefore, we are unable to use talk therapy alone to work through trauma because it is not available to the rational language part of our brain. EMDR aims to focus on the limbic system through the use of eye movements (although this has become less prominent), vibrations, and sounds. Bringing these memories to the forefront in a non-verbal manner helps to work through the trauma and rebalance the brain around those memories. While EMDR is conceived as a short-term therapy, people with C-PTSD may need a longer course to safely and fully deal with the long-term nature of the trauma.
- Another treatment for PTSD is called Tapping Therapy (sometimes known as The Emotional Freedom Technique), which is a form of self-performed acupressure to help deal with panic and anxiety. Tapping is a great tool because you can learn it easily and use it anywhere. For more details about EFT and how to perform it, click here.
To answer your last question, Yes! Many women have shared similar experiences and diagnoses and lots of them are in recovery. You are on the right track and your Anxiety Sisters are here to support you.