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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: problems dealing with abuse


 toban - Sat May 27, 2006 12:04 pm

I was in a abusive relationship and left this person late Winter. While in the relationship he would get very angry at me if I showed any signs of pain whether I expressed it verbally or body language. He would then beat me further or later on. Eventually I started to block out my physical pain to protect myself and to the point I could walk around for days or weeks feeling either numb, minimizing my injuries or believing I was healthy. A few times I should have sought medical treatment right away but because of the blocking I didn't.

So after I left him he confronted me a few more times. He always threatened me if I called the police but I finally did. Anyways a few weeks back I had an encounter with him, caught me off guard because after the police were called I moved, figured I was safe, out of my life. Anyways during the assault I was knocked to the ground and my elbow where I had surgery 4 weeks ago was reinjured, but not broken. I headed to the emergency and they suggested I go back to see the surgeon. So I headed there with the intention of telling him about my symptoms but then right away my mind blocks everything out. I got there and sat down. He examined my arm and asked me about my symptoms and I said I am okay but that is because I blocked out everything. So 4-5 days pass and the pain etc has hit me. Trying to cope with it but I am in and out of feeling the pain and going numb. I phoned the surgeons office again to say I was in pain, soonest I can get in is June 5. I find myself not really caring whether I am checked out or not. Maybe I feel ashamed because of what happened to me. The surgeon is aware of the abuse and has been supportive. He is not aware that I block out the pain. I think I worry about the surgeons reaction even though he is a good doctor, supportive. I had one or two bad experiences in the past with doctors being judgemental when treating me although I know this is probably rare.

So is this common for abuse victims to numb themselves, block out pain, feel akward etc.
 Shana Johnson, CNA - Sat May 27, 2006 1:38 pm

User avatar I am very sorry for what you have been through and I am proud that you found the strength and courage to rebuild your life.

What you are feeling is not uncommon in abuse victims. If you aren't already seeing a therapist, I highly recommend that you find one to talk to to help you work through your feelings, and learn how to stop blocking out your physical and emotional pain.
Also if you havent already done so, please obtain a protection from abuse against your ex, this will protect you, if he tries to contact you again, he can be arrested and put into jail for breaking the order.

When you visit your surgeon again, explain to him everything about how you tend to block out pain, but you are feeling pain in the elbow at times, and he will re examine you. It is important for a proper diagnosis that the surgeon knows exactly where and how you hurt. If you feel akward telling your doctor all of this, is there any friends that can go with you for support?

Here is the website for domestic abuse. They have links that can direct you to information for therapists, and where to seek help.
http://www.ndvh.org/

Getting out of this relationship was the first step. Now you can get the help you need to start living your life again.

Good luck, and let me know how things are.
 toban - Sat May 27, 2006 5:16 pm

Thank you Gracie.

The surgeon is aware of the abuse and has been really good about it. I will have to tell him that I block out the pain etc. I signed up for a dv group counselling, on a waiting list.

I seem to have trouble going for medical help. I know most doctors are good about abuse but I have experienced one or two bad encounters. Yesterday I saw my family doctor hoping to get some pain meds to help me until I see the surgeon. So far I have been trying to cope on my own for the past few weeks with tylenol/advil but it is not helping. My family doc would not prescribe anything stronger. Then he said to me "I guess you are glad this ex of your did not kill you." I said "Yes I am glad." The doctor said "Having broken bones, being stalked, injuries is not as bad as having your life taken away." I said "Yes I am happy to be alive but having broken bones etc is still painful to go through."

Maybe I am being over sensitive but I found these comments to be hurtful like my situation was being minimized. That experience yesterday sort of broke my trust and he made another comment months ago.
 Shana Johnson, CNA - Sun May 28, 2006 2:04 am

User avatar That was insensitive of your doctor, and I apologize for that. If you are not comfortable with that doctor, you need to find a new one that you can trust and confide in. For right now, if you can take Ibuprofen, you can take up to 800 mg, which is 4 tablets, and that would be prescrition strength. That may help with the pain a little better.
 toban - Mon May 29, 2006 10:15 am

Thanks Gracie.

After that encounter with my family doctor I thought maybe I was over sensitive but I really did feel awful after leaving. I will try taking more of the advil. Part of me worries that maybe the surgeon will not prescribe something stronger. Why? I do not feel suicidal but was wondering if doctors are leery of prescrbing stronger pain meds because of mental health from abuse/assaults? After the encounter with my family doctor I couldn't be bothered to seek medical help elsewhere. I would rather have the pain then be judged.
 Shana Johnson, CNA - Mon May 29, 2006 4:44 pm

User avatar If any doctor makes you feel uncomfortable in any way, for any reason, you should find a new doctor.
You should be able to trust your doctor and be able to cinfide in him, and feel comfortable you will nto be judged doing so. You should NEVER have to live with any pain for fear of seeing a doctor.

As for the stronger pain meds, they must be taken with extreme caution because they can cause dependancy, and they cannot be taken for an extended period of time. Has your doctor tried prescribing ibuprofen? Has that not worked well enough? Because if that helps to relieve the pain, then a stronger drug like Vicoden would not be needed. You should ask your doctor what he feel is best to prescribe to help relieve the pain.

Also, I would strongly recommend making an appointment with a therapist to work on your mental well being.

I wanted to clarify that you can take up to 800 mg. of ibuprofen, like advil, but NOT acetaminophen, like Tylenol, because Tylenol can cause liver damage.
 toban - Tue May 30, 2006 8:38 pm

Hi Gracie, thank you for your help

The Advil has Ibuprofen in it so I will try taking more tablets. When I see the surgeon maybe he will recommend something stronger. So far I have tried the increase in Advil for only a few days, not helping yet. I will see what the surgeon will prescribe or says. Usually I give people second chances but I really do not feel comfortable talking to my GP about the abuse, especially with his comments.

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