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Dear Dr. Schwartz,

Firstly, let me praise you for the great work you have been doing. Basically I am 33 years old. I was raped when I was 15 years old and, through the years, have tried to block this terrible event by taking illegal substances. Having stated the above, for many years I was in denial as I, too, have studied medicine and worked in A&E in a busy London hospital.

To the outside world – (example – my family my friends), I look and act normal. I left the medical industry and entered the hospitality industry.

I recently got pregnant with my long term boyfriend. However, sadly, it was growing in my Fallopian tube. I ended up having surgery to remove it. Prior to this I quit my then chosen drug – heroin, and was seeking some help from a psychologist.

The pregnancy was September. Since then I have started dabbling again with heroin and I feel very desperate. I am angry. I had an outburst and broke up with the man I loved dearly.

I feel like I am on a roller coaster. I seem to be stuck in 2 people: The nice me – the professional, beautiful, respectful one, and the drug-taking, angry, hormonal, suicidal girl.

Having dealt with my inner demons for so long, I can’t believe I need anti depressants.

Please help point me in the right direction. I don’t want to just end up taking “happy pills.” I keep going around in circles. One day I’m happy, the next day, ready to kill myself. I cont know where to start. I feel like I have too many issues right at this moment: 1.) the rape. 2.) the recent pregnancy. 3.) breaking up with boyfriend.

There is no mental illness history in my family. No history of compulsive disorder.I don’t smoke cigarettes and I don’t drink.

Thank you for your time.

P.S. I now live in Greece and I feel like they are backwards here. I don’t know where to start!!!

Thank you

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Thanks for the compliment. We do try our very best, here, at Mental Help Net.

A major theme of your post is that you feel out of control. You are asking how to get back in control of your life. What is causing you to feel this sense of chaos you are experiencing?

You were raped when you were fifteen years old. This is one of the most traumtizing thing a person can go through. It is both a violation of your body and your personal space and boundaries. People who survive rape often experience a helplessness with regard to the crime and to how their life unfolds.

One of the most powerful motivational forces that drive the rapist is not sex but humiliation and power. In other words, the rapist wants to exert total control over his target. He wants to defeat, defile and shame his victim. What better way to show contempt for women than to commit rape. All too often, he succeeds.

Regardless of their age, women who have suffered the crime of rape falsely beilieve it was their own fault. They tell themselves they could have prevented it. They feel such intense shame that it is not unusual to keep secret from everyone that this happened. The guilt that is felt is powerful and all consuming. Because of this, many women never report this to the police. They do not want anyone to know out of the fear that they will be judged, blamed and further made to suffer humiliation.

Soon, a deep sense of depression sets in. For some, it seems as though the only relief from the depression, guilt and self condemnation, is to use alcohol and the move on to more powerful drugs. That is what is happening to you. Keep in mind that, if you feel guilty, you also believe you deserve punishment. Heroin and other addictive substances are powerful ways to inflict self damage.

What to do?

First, there is a powerful medication that helps block the craving for opioids, such as heroin. In fact, this particular medication is much more availabe in Eurpe than the United States, at least for now. The best way this drug is admistered is through a drug rehabilitation center, where they also provide therapy. Sometimes the treatment is done on an inpatient hospital setting and some times its done outpaient. You need to speak to your psychologist or psychiatrist about this. Please know that I am not an MD or psychiatrist. I’m a licensed clinical social worker. Having made this disclaimer, I can report to you that one such drug is Suboxone (jBuprenorphine). It would not hurt to ask your psychiatrist about this and where you can get full treatment. This is not to be done on your own. If nothing is availabe in Greece, you may need to return to London where this treatment is more likely to be availabe.

Another support group designed to help you recover from drug addiction is Narcotics Anonymous (NA). This accompanies medical treatment of addiction.

Anyway, this is an opinion and a suggestion.

I wish you the very best of luck and want to further emphasize that help is available.

I don’t know about Europe,but, I do know that there are self help support groups for women who have been raped. You can find these by doing a Google search on the Internet.

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