On the Otherside of PTSD

My Dear Friends and Readers,

Today I wanted to write about the drug Molly because I saw it on the television show Mr. Robot, but the show is far more interesting that discussing a drug which you can find everything you ever wanted to know about it on the Internet. Mr. Robot, for those of you who have never seen it is a tale told from the perspective of a man who is a technology hacker genius and schizophrenic. The main character, Eliot is played by actor Rami Malek  who exhibits none of the symptoms of schizophrenia except for delusions.  In his delusion  the character Eliot creates an alter ego who is his father who had died. (This is not a spoiler.) Eliot is a high-level cyber security expert and the character appears to be neat and well groomed and regularly visits his psychiatrist whom he hacks and lies to. Oh,  I almost forgot, the character Eliot is also a heroin addict- he snorts heroin and then mellows himself out with suboxone which is a prescription drug that helps people detox from heroin.

Just so that you get an understanding of this character here are some of the symptoms of schizophrenia.

  • Losing interest in everyday
    activities, like bathing, grooming, or getting dressed
  • Feeling out of touch with other
    people, family, or friends
  • Lack of feeling or emotion
  • Having little emotion or
    inappropriate feelings in certain situations
  • Having less ability to
    experience pleasure
  • Believing that what other
    people are saying is not true (delusions)
  • Hearing, seeing, tasting,
    feeling, or smelling things that others do not experience (hallucinations)
  • Disorganized speech and

 Part of my fascination with this dark television show is the exposition of the mental illness schizophrenia. I wanted to research whether the writers were realistically presenting a person who is schizophrenic.  The other reason that this show intrigues me is the “voices” that the character hears.  On the television show the “voice” is usually that of the main character’s dead father. This got me thinking- the voices we hear in our head’s whose voice’s are they? Often times, in the past, I have answered my mother or my father, but a week or so ago, I realize that while I might be hearing negative thoughts that my mother once said, that she nor my father were currently making those statements. Instead, I was re-creating these negative statements and attributing them to my parents and currently feeling the feelings that I had felt so many years ago.  
This practice as simple as it might appear took me a long time to figure out: I should stop playing those messages in my head. Yes, it was ME!  Throughout out these last five decades  I have been the one person that keeps  replaying those negative tapes. Now, in my  defense, I suffer from post traumatic stress disorder and often times almost anything- especially when I failed- would trigger these negative comments. An central element of  PTSD  is the triggering of these tapes- seemingly on their own.  But guess who let those tapes run? Me!  I never even thought to stop them, I let them run and because I did  I would find myself in my often felt  mental position of feeling depressed and a failure. 
Turning the tapes off or more accurately re-directing them, did not come easily to me. First I had to come to understand my coping mechanisms which are isolation and alienation. (See my blog entitled, In a Box) Then I had to began to understand the elements of my PTSD which for the most part manifested itself in rage after a series of thoughts including pictures and words skittered rapidly across my brain, without me even registering or analyzing any of it. I would  be present but my emotions were  a reaction to those images and thoughts from the past- usually dealing with betrayal and deceit. I could never manage to stop the rapid onset of emotions which were a reaction to the past occurring in the present. My PTSD would occur within seconds and I felt that those emotions controlled me.
After my angry PTSD outbursts, I would feel ashamed and emotionally off kilter for days. I would feel “crazy” and out of control. I would slide into deep depression and usually had ruined a relationship. I could  not imagine just saying “Hey, I was having a moment of PTSD.”  Now, I can sense my PTSD stirring. It usually starts with me feeling irritable and then, anything could cause me to explode. Now when I start feeling this way, I slow myself down, physically and mentally. I ask myself what I need to do at that moment, and whenever possible I do that thing.  I often times, need to isolate myself in order to  analyze my thoughts and emotions. Sometimes, there are things to address- remember an element of my disorder is being self-critical and submissive. 
I learned to identify and disrupt these tapes through weeks of  recent therapy- after years of therapy. This should not leave you  feeling hopeless.  Not everyone is invested in blaming their problems on others as I have been.  I have recently realized this and will make every effort to break the cycle of my PTSD. I know, it  has taken a long time to reach this understanding, but I am not lamenting this. I am happy to have gotten to this place in my life. 
Now, back to Mr. Robot.  I don’t know if the writer’s portrayal of schizophrenia is accurate. Let’s assume it is. It’s an interesting dark show where the weapons are computers.  This in itself is fascinating. The second season of the show will soon be released. Catch up on the first season. It’s entertaining and let yourself imagine what it would be like to have schizophrenia or maybe even worse, deal with a love one who is schizophrenic. I’ll leave you with those thoughts. For now, I am grateful.
Brianna S. Clark
The Addict Writes

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