I have been struggling.
It has been months since the walls of my subconscious crumbled and the flashbacks began. Since then I have sat with a therapist twice a week as I work through processing the reality of my childhood and reconciling it with the narrative I have created in my mind.
It’s been months of insane ups and downs as I learn to live with anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, flashbacks, and a flow of tears from a well so deep I wonder if they will ever end.
Since I began therapy, I have completed a PTSD spectrum questionnaire with my therapist three times: the first to establish where I was when I showed up in crisis (72), 4 months later (43), and again just recently (48). Obviously, when I first presented I was off the charts, I was in emergency mode. Then I thought I had it all figured out and bargaining kicked in, shortly after that I realized this is for life, I have to live with it – all the emotional changes affecting my score differently, at different times along this journey.
After spending over 20 years disassociated from a childhood of abuse, neglect, and abandonment – it is intense what I am feeling as I have suddenly become aware of the anniversary dates of traumatic events from my childhood.
The anniversary of my abuser’s suicide is in November followed a few days later by his birthday; two dates that have never crossed my mind as relevant until this year.
A few short weeks later, the anniversary of my mother’s death; a loss I feel more profoundly the older and more aware I become. I imagine it has to do with the little that I actually know about her and so her loss created a void that cannot be put into words; especially as I see how important I am to my own children and I realize what I have missed.
So yes, I have been struggling. I have no motivation to do normal day-to-day stuff, I have sleep issues, I deal with constant sadness, anxiety, disconnection from the people and the things that I love – in summary, it has been a very exhausting and horrible existence. Normal adult responsibility saps me of any, and all energy, and then the anxiety that comes from not getting basic household chores done is ridiculous– it is a vicious cycle.
Medications have come up in conversation with close friends and with my counselors, but I have been hesitant, mostly due to personal experiences in the past.
A few weeks ago, my EMDR therapist gave me a sheet with information on herbal supplements to check out, all of them known to assist with symptoms of depression, anxiety, PTSD, etc. She recommended Sam-e, as it boasts a lot of positive results.
I went home and did some reading.
In order for the body to create the necessary chemicals for homeostasis; it relies on numerous agents already present; one being Sam-e (S-Adenosylmethionine) which is linked to serotonin and dopamine production. SAM-e is a chemical that our bodies produce naturally with the help of other vitamins, however, since SAM-e is not found in most foods we eat, if the body isn’t producing enough, only a supplement will help elevate levels. I am quite certain I am not producing enough SAM-e naturally.
It can be taken by mouth or by injection. It has been available in the United States since 1999; in Italy since 1979, and Germany since 1985. Italy, Germany, and Spain have been using SAM-e as a prescription medication for the treatment of depression, among a list of numerous other health issues, for decades. Additionally, through numerous controlled studies throughout the UK, it has been found that SAM-e has a high success rate of alleviating depression with a virtually nonexistent list of side effects.
I decided to purchase some and give it a go. I mean seriously, something has to give!!
I take 400mg twice a day, which is considered a therapeutic dose.
Since I began taking SAM-e, things have come back into color. That is the only way I can describe what it is like. I still feel sad, I still have moments of anxiety, nothing seems to stop the flashbacks, and yes – at times I still want to curl up on the couch and just cry, forever; but I feel more connected, I am able to get things done through my tears, I am interacting more socially, I am even sleeping better.
I still have such a long way to go, and this supplement will not help me alone, but it has become the newest tool in my resource kit for coping with complex PTSD from childhood abuse, and I am happy for the assistance it seems to give.
Note: I am taking this supplement under the guidance of a therapist. If you are struggling with depression like I have been, I implore you to please seek professional help as well.
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Kowlton, Leslie (2001, May 01) Investigating SAM-e for Depression Retrieved from: http://www.psychiatrictimes.com/depression/investigating-sam-e-depression
Ehrlich, Steven D (2015, Nov 06) S-adenosylmethionine Retrieved from: http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/supplement/sadenosylmethionine
WebMd, LLC (2005-2017) SAMe Retrieved from: https://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-786-same.aspx?activeingredientid=786&activeingredientname=same