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I lost my mom, 2.5 years ago, 43 days later my dad remarried and disinherited me for his "new" son, 6 months later my business and personal partner of 5 years walked out with no notice leaving me several million dollars in debt with construction loans. That same year two of my clients committed suicide and I was called to take care of the property including the clean-up. Four months ago I was raped by an usher in my church. For the first 2 years I worked 16-18 hours a day trying to keep up with the financial debts that were over 10K monthly. The legal financial part was over in June. I survived that on my own. I decided to take July off just to regroup. The rape didn't even bother me until I stopped. I have no family or friends. I am a RE Broker and work out of my home. Since I stopped working around the clock, I cannot function. I have never experienced this kind of pain. I do not get dressed, I'm confused, overwhelmed, don't want to leave the house. I spoke with my minister and he told me I had the emotional maturity of a 12 year old. I am a 55 year old woman who has always run her own life and has been financially independant. Sometimes I sit home and cry for hours. I take naps in the morning and afternoon. Am I mentally ill? I've been told I am manic, a spoiled rotten brat and have dependant personality disorder. I quit going to church, I don't want to be around people, I don't trust anyone. This is totally out of the norm for me. Do I need to be committed, do I need medication? There is no where for me to turn. I have never felt this alone in my life. I'm not sure I care what happens anymore.

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Dear Jeanette,

Forgive me, but I don’t think being called names and having fancy psychiatric labels pinned upon you is helpful, and certainly not what I would expect from a qualified mental health professional! If that's the sort of "help" you're finding, you need to look elsewhere.

Obviously you have been under a great deal of stress for quite some time. The fact that you were raped four months ago and “it didn’t even bother me until I stopped [working around the clock]” tells me that, in addition to whatever unresolved grief issues surround your mother’s death and your dad’s subsequent rejection, you’re probably experiencing post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

You say you have nowhere to turn, Jeanette, but you managed to find your way here. Good for you! There is a great deal of help “out there,” just waiting for you to find it, and I hope you will get going and start looking. Since you have access to the Internet and time to devote to taking care of yourself right now, why not begin by doing some good, sound research? Go to the Site Map page of my Grief Healing Web site and click on the category labeled TRAUMATIC LOSS. See especially the sites listed there having to do with PTSD.

You say you’re not sure you care what happens anymore. If that means you’re thinking of suicide, please, please READ THIS FIRST!.

I don’t know if you’re “mentally ill” or whether you need medication, Jeanette, and no one here can answer that question for you. That requires a thorough examination and careful assessment by a qualified mental health professional. I urge you to look in your telephone directory or contact your primary care physician, or call your local mental health association for a referral. You are NOT alone. There is ample help available – and my prayer for you is that you will not rest until you find the help you need. You are worth it, and you deserve it.

Please stay in touch with us. We are here, and we care very deeply about what happens to you.

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

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Marty,

Thanks, you're the first person who has made me feel like there is a reason for my behavior. The PTSD does make sense. I can not go out of the house alone, I don't want to be with anyone. I reported the rape to my minister after having a panic attack at church and he told me I was emotionally a 12 year old child. The usher who raped me was taking the offering and I was sitting directly under him. My body started shaking uncontrollably and I couldn't breathe. I think that was the first time I felt anything. I was crying, my body was shaking and I guess I did behave inappropriately. Until I can be assured that I can behave well publicly, I prefer to stay in. I must get back to work and soon. I just get so tired and afraid. I am seeing a counselor, but he has never mentioned any of this. He also believes I am responding to all this "out of my child" and wants me to start acting like an adult. He feels I have a "dependency" disorder. I have lost so much of my self-esteem and drive that has made me a success. I visited the sites you recommended but found no one locally for support. I live in Phoenix. Is there anyone who can help me locally? A support group or a therapist would be helpful. I feel so foolish, I don't want to publically embarrass myself any more.

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Dear Jeanette,

I truly do believe that the PTSD needs to be addressed before you can even begin to focus on your grief issues, and I hope you will contact one or more of these resources as soon as possible:

RAINN Hotline - 1-800-656-HOPE

The Rape, Abuse, Incest National Network will automatically transfer you to the rape crisis center nearest you, anywhere in the nation. Since you live in the Phoenix, AZ area, you also have available to you any of the following:

CENTER AGAINST SEXUAL ABUSE CASA

2333 N. Central Ave. Ste. 100. Phoenix, AZ 85004-1324. Email: casa@azcasa.org, Telephone: 602-254-9000

ARIZONA SEXUAL ASSAULT NETWORK

2333 N Central Avenue

Phoenix, AZ 85004-0132, Telephone 602-258-1195 or 602-258-7390

EMPACT CRISIS INTERVENTION TEMPE

1232 E Broadway Road

Tempe, AZ 85282-0151, 480-784-1500

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Dear Jeanette,

I’m posting in its entirety a message I received from Joyce Boaz, Director of Gift from Within, an international nonprofit organization dedicated to those who suffer post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), those at risk for PTSD, and those who care for traumatized individuals.

I went to the site and watched a clip of the video she describes, and thought of you immediately. If your browser enables you to do so, I hope you will go to the site and watch it, too. Even if you cannot watch the clip, I think the content of Joyce's message is very, very informative, and I wanted to share it with you and with any other visitors who may be reading this message. (You are under absolutely no obligation to purchase the video, and this is not intended as a "plug.")

Wishing you peace and healing,

Marty T

___________________________

August 23, 2004

Dear Marty:

I hope this email finds you well. The site looks wonderful. I thought you might like to know about our newest program.

Best wishes, Joyce, Dir. Gift From Within.

Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters

This program is valuable for those who care about the PTSD sufferer in their life. It explains what PTSD is, why it is important to learn about this medical disorder, what you can do to help, ways to treat it, how to deal with the caregiver burden and how PTSD affects the family and other relationships.

Survivors of trauma often have difficulty believing that they will ever recover. This film provides a realistic message of hope and teaches family members and community how they can assist in the recovery process.

The program features Dr. Frank Ochberg and Dr. Angelea Panos. Both are close advisors to Gift From Within.

Frank Ochberg is a psychiatrist and the former Associate Director of the National Institute of Mental Health and a member of the team that wrote the medical definition for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He was the editor of America's first PSTD treatment text and is a recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies.

Dr. Angelea Panos holds a Ph.D in Clinical Psychology. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist, and a licensed clinical social worker. She has more than twenty years experience in traumatic stress treatment, dealing with war refugees, domestic violence, victims of rape, and child abuse.

Running Time: l8 minutes.

Closed Captioned

$30.00 Available in VHS, DVD

Endorsement

"Living With PTSD" is an important contribution to the treatment armamentarium necessary to combat Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. As usual, Gift From Within has accomplished their mission by producing a short, concise, down to earth, pragmatic video that answers the question of how can friends and lovers of folks with PSTD help their significant others cope with this devastating illness. I strongly encourage friends and lovers of folks with PTSD to take less than 30 minutes out of their busy schedules to watch this video so they can learn directionally correct tips of how to encourage the healing process necessary to recover fromtraumatic stress.

Carl C. Bell, M.D.

President/C.E.O. Community Mental Health Council

8704 S. Constance

Chicago, IL 60617

www.thecouncil-online.org

Professor of Psychiatry and Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago

Endorsement:

In GFW's newest video, Living with PTSD: Lessons for Partners, Friends and Supporters, the goals are clearly stated in the beginning: to help the support system of PTSD survivors to understand the symptoms and gain insight about how to help.

I love how the video clearly depicts that PTSD is not the survivor's fault, describes exactly what it is, what the support person can expect and how much the survivor suffers and wants to get well.

The video is geared towards "pure PTSD" but Dr. Ochberg does mention that sometimes PTSD is combined with other factors, which can mean it may take longer for the survivor to heal. By mentioning the importance of therapy for the survivor, it takes the pressure off the survivor to convince the support person of the need for this healing tool. I found this invaluable because many people are suspicious of therapy and doubt its legitimacy.

Specific examples are given, such as the importance of listening, what do to when flashbacks occur, speaking with the survivor ahead of time to ascertain the survivor's wishes about the type of help desired, and what symptoms to watch for. This is important as it helps the support person understand the cause of the symptoms and to not take it personally if the survivor withdraws or lashes out.

This video is important to those in our lives who we hope will be supportive on our healing journey.

PB

Member of GFW

Gift From Within- PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers

l6 Cobb Hill Road

Camden, ME 04843 USA

207 236-8858 ph

207 236-2818 fax

http://www.giftfromwithin.org-PTSD Resources for Survivors and Caregivers

http://www.ptsdinfo.org-Gateway to Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Information

http://www.vdbs.org-Violent Death Bereavement Society

______________________________

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Hello JeanetteD,

I am so sorry for all of the pain that you are in. I will say a special prayer for you tonight. It is especially sad that your minister is not giving you a good Chrisitian response to your situation, or even an intelligent response. Please don't feel embarrassed about your feelings, they are all normal responses. And please don't bottle up your feelings or suppress them by working too much, your body will find a way to release anything that you are suppressing. I've learned this recently thru my own grieving process. I wish you peace.

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