MDMA for PTSD from violent sexual abuse

In Jan '03, after what seemed like a life-time of counseling sessions for symptoms such as but not limited to depression, alcoholism, suicide attempts and ideations, "borderline" behaviors, dissociation, psychosis, co-dependency, religious fanaticism, and violent lashing-out, I was faced in my mind with a "final choice" to either kill myself, get a divorce, or give up everything I've ever believed about illegal drugs and "take a tab". So, with the support of my husband, in a "last ditch effort" to save my marriage, I obtained what I hoped to be MDMA off the street, and said "tongue-in-cheek" as I swallowed, "I guess I am going to hell now." Nothing could have been further from the truth, as I look back on it and realize that those other choices would have been hell to have chosen instead of what changes have happened in my life as a result of this MDMA experimentation.

My first experience was marriage-saving and life-changing, allowing me to acquire an emotional bond with my husband through empathy, compassion, and understanding that I had never before experienced, and a "discovery of body", which (after years of sexual dysfunction in our marriage, i.e. painful intercourse only endured with tears streaming out of my eyes and following through out of duty alone, never knowing if I had ever experienced an orgasm,) was beyond words as I experienced sex "how it was meant to be" for the first time ever. I achieved a different perspective on life and a sense of harmony with the universe and that I was wanted and somehow needed on the planet, just enough to give me back the will to live. Little did I know that this was the first step that had to take place in the uncovering of the layers that were built up around at least one sexual trauma in my past; walls so thick that I convinced even myself that the trauma never existed.

It was in Nov. '03, on our third or fourth experience of MDMA (the other experiences were simply "a celebration of sex" for my husband and I) when, as it was "coming on", my husband said something that triggered the memory of the night I got raped. He simply mentioned in passing, "A friend of mine is going to make one room in his house all black." Normally I would have thought something like, "Ugh, an all black room....I don't like all black rooms," and that would have been all. However, the conversation went as follows, with the effects kicking in and my breaths getting deeper and deeper, my eyes getting wider and wider, I commented, staring into the distance, "That's just like that room...." "What room?" my husband asked. "That room that I was in.....I don't know.....something happened in that room..." "What happened in that room?" he asked. "I don't know....I think something bad happened to me in an all black room..." At this point, the "snap-shot images" or "flash-backs" started coming back to me, slowly at first, but building up more and more with the images starting to be able to be sorted out and pieced together until we had figured out the long-awaited answer to my husband's question to me on our honeymoon, "Who taught you sex was supposed to hurt?" Previously, I had blocked it out, denied knowing it, lied about it to my husband and to all my friends and family, and wanted to forget it ever happened SO BAD that eventually I had succeeded in convincing even myself that it never happened. As I re-remembered it that night, I communicated each image to my husband. I was a bit confused, it almost didn't seem real, even, or it didn't seem like it could have actually happened, almost as if it was happening to someone else, and the thought, "Could all of this really have happened and I just not remembered it?" kept chasing me. It didn't make sense, at first, how I could have ever forgotten it or wanted to deny it, but as I sorted out the images and the feelings, along with the evidence of the issues in the past, it started making more and more sense. Fortunately, I remembered that I had confided in 2 friends at the time this trauma happened, and I searched them out and called them to confirm that my brain wasn't just making this all up, and they said that yes, it did happen, and that they were not surprised at all that I had blocked out the memory because they knew that all I wanted more than anything was to forget that it ever happened. Re-remembering this event has explained the answers to SO many questions that I had about myself and why I acted the way I did, and answered the questions of why we had a lot of the issues that we had in our marriage.

This MDMA substance was able to provide the necessary detachment from the physical pain that I needed in order to get in touch with what physically happened, it opened me up to the compassion that I needed to feel towards myself and gave me the courage to accept my own responsibility and why it happened, it provided the confidence I needed to be able to have faith in my own ability to honestly communicate this event to my husband after having lied to him about it for all those years, it gave me faith in his ability to understand and have compassion towards me while at the same time it gave me compassion and understanding towards him for the hurt that he felt from the lies and misrepresentation, and it drove me with a resolve I needed to pursue getting better and to seek out the proper help that I needed to deal more effectively with these issues. This MDMA substance gave me a passion for and a drive toward seeking out the truth about myself and about this event, whereas other prescription anti-depressant and anti-anxiety type drugs that I had taken in the past had killed the memories and "made me happy" in a denial-type, temporary fashion. On Zoloft, for instance, if I got upset or sad about something or had a disagreement with my husband, I would just go to sleep, and tell myself it didn't matter, it was no big deal. In my opinion, it was no wonder I didn't know who I was...I had been denying huge parts of myself for a long time. I had become a prude, non-trusting, judgmental, rigid, angry, resentful, sarcastic, condemning liar, who couldn't believe in any one or any thing, and I didn't know why. I certainly am not saying that "I have arrived" in any sense of the term, but through MDMA, I have become more honest with myself and with others, I have become more compassionate and understanding, I am a little more laid back about things, I have learned how to enjoy sex, and I am working on being able to trust myself and others again.

Dealing with a surpressed memory of a trauma has been challenging as well, but I am so glad I am dealing with it now instead of living in denial and being confused about why I am who I am any longer. Unfortunately, I have a feeling that there is still "more to the story" that I am also not fully in touch with yet. Hopefully, I will have the opportunity to safely explore this part of my life further, with the help of MDMA.

a couple of drawbacks I had:

#1: When recalling the memory, I was having such a serotonin party that the pain-free memory came out as just "I had sex" and not "I was raped" wasn't until later that I was able to place the pain back into the memory again and got the complete picture, and have my friends use the physical evidence and logic that I had no grip on to help me figure out the whole truth, and which emotions went with which memory, and hard evidence to override the pain-free memories, such as, there were injuries that I was treated by a doctor for, etc. In my state of insanity, I needed a "sitter" to help me sort it out logically.

#2: Knowing that there was "more to the story" and more blackouts that I couldn't identify, I ended up trying again, but I was searching so hard, I overdosed. Could have been because it was mixed with something more addictive also. (I took 5 over an 8 hour period, and I only weigh 100 pounds!) I started tapping into my subconscious, but instead of pulling out actual repressed memories, I pulled out repressed sexual fantasies....imagine the chaos I caused by first of all, "confessing" to my husband that I had had sex with about 35 guys that we knew, friends, family, etc.....then the chaos I caused by calling as many of those 35 guys that I could and asking each one of them if I had had sex with them! Each one said no, but that was pretty insane on both ends, and so then I couldn't tell if the flashbacks were fact or fantasy. Also, with getting it from the streets like we were, it was tough to tell how much if any of the real stuff was in which batches....each batch seemed to have a slightly different effect...all the more reason to legalize the stuff, but you know that.

#3: I didn't know all the symptoms for PTSD when I took it, (didn't even know I had it!) so I mistakenly attributed a lot of those effects to the drug and not to the PTSD. (Part of my narrow-minded, rigid upbringing....blame everything on drugs!) It wasn't until I went to get counseling from the Women's Center for Non-Violence that they informed me that PTSD and Rape Trauma Syndrome was what I had, and that was when I found out what it was, and I could logically stop pointing my finger at the drug and point it at the syndrome instead. Somehow, I had to convince those who knew what I was going through that "psychosis is normal" in this situation! ;-) If other participants are not educated on the symptoms of PTSD, RTS, and repressed memory issues, they might tend to want to blame the drug for their symptoms too. Just a thought.