12/19/17 #SameHere Hero: Berry Uyens

Today’s #SameHereHero: Berry Uyens (His story is so important – from the Netherlands, heavy drug use that he never equated w mental health problems, not realizing he was using in large part to dull emotions from some major life experiences.)


“Growing up I experienced quite amount of trauma, however I didn’t recognize it as trauma & had no belief that I was dealing with any type of mental health issues. Btwn the ages of 8 & 10, I was sexually abused. I was a different kid, a loner, heavily into music & playing instruments like guitar, keyboard, trumpet & drums. Keeping to myself & being into my own things lead to a lot of bullying in school. I would take up pot & alcohol when I was around 13 bc it made me feel cool socially & fit in w others (& bc it likely dampened some of the shame lingering from the abuse & bullying). My father was an alcoholic.


At 18, I would lose him to a fatal heart attack while we were on holiday in Turkey. I personally tried CPR on him, to no avail. That unfortunately wasn’t the end of the family loss. My niece (who was a twin) became anorexic & ultimately would pass away from malnourishment, withering to nothing as she refused to eat.


Shortly after I began to experiment with cocaine & mixed that drug in with my pot & alcohol abuse. Cocaine gave me the confidence I felt I needed. While I was diagnosed with PTSD at 21, I refused to take any psychotropic drugs for help. In cocaine I felt I had the drug I needed. I would wake up w lines to do next to my bed. From 21-24 I was in traditional talk therapy, but reliving some of my sad experiences of the past only seemed to engrain those thoughts more. I walked away from that therapy.


Fast forward 7 years & I decided on my 31st bday to get clean from all drugs & alcohol. However after going off all those recreational drugs cold turkey, 3 months in I started to develop severe ocd, depression, anxiety & depersonalization. Until recently I thought these things developed bc of the damage the drugs & alcohol did to my brain. Only recently have I realized that a lot of those issues were due to the fact that I was self-medicating all those years & using in order to not feel the pain of those traumas. I guess going off the drugs but not having a plan for treatment & self care, sent me spiraling.


The past 3.5 years have been hell. I’ve made attempts at my life 6 different times, & ended up hospitalized from 4 of them. Like others who’ve shared, the symptoms have even gotten worse w blank mind, lack of emotions & loss of a sense of self. I live alone & collect unemployment bc it’s difficult to get out of bed. I can only afford one therapy session a wk, trying methods of EFT tapping & CBT. I haven’t gotten much from them (so it feels), bc the practices haven’t been consistent. Through sharing info w others & recent Skype calls, I’ve learned that I need to take more control & do many of these trauma releasing practices daily, even if from my bed, to shift my focus from my obsessively negative thoughts about my condition. I look forward to taking back that control where I feel like I’ve had none.


I shared my story to make others aware that depersonalization, derealization & blank mind are real things. I hope my story will contribute to greater awareness, so #SameHere.”

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