More threads by AidanMC


Hello Everyone,

I'm male, 57 years of age as of yesterday 18th February, married with 3 children, 2 of whom are working overseas, my youngest girl is 16 years of age and has a year and a half to go in her 2nd level education.

My story is as follows. I'm an average enough person with a mortgage and a car in the driveway. I've been working in Graphics for 38 years, mostly for advertising agencies.

A few years ago my life changed dramatically. I began to get very fearful. I'd always had a degree of fear not too far beneath the surface, but this was different. This had all the hallmarks of PTSD, but at the time there was no evidence of trauma.

As a young child, for whatever reason, my mother and I didn't bond in a loving way. I was the 2nd child by 2 years, and when I was 2, another child came along. My mother had problems of her own, having grown up with a chronic alcoholic father, but I do remember she doted on my younger brother, who was born when I was 2.

I was just dropped like a hot potato, and started having a recurring nightmare where I would see an jet plane high in the sky as I stood in what could be described as a ruin, or derelict building. I would call out to my mother who was on the plane in order to stop her going away and shortly after that I would wake up screaming.

My father was the one who would come in and settle me back to sleep. I became a fearful child. My father was a kind man but he didn't wear the trousers at home, and could never do anything right according to my mother. There were regular screaming rows and I remember being very frightened indeed.

During my teens I was extremely shy but ended up in a 2 relationships, both of which lasted a couple of years and were eventually ended by the girls and not myself, and for no particular reason. I was absolutely devastated on both occasions.

After the 2nd breakup I was 20 years old and I spent a whole summer sitting in a wooded area about a mile from where I lived, drinking cider and listening to Jimi Hendrix music. I didn't I had a talent for music and ended up neglecting my schooling so I could be involved with a rock band. Music was a tremendous release for me and soon I was doing the whole bit - sex, drugs and rock & roll. I started using women for sex, because I couldn't trust them in a relationship.

By the time I was 26 I was asked to leave home by my parents who felt I was out of control. My father had asked the family GP if he could give me anything to sort out my crazy lifestyle, so he started prescribing Valium, and I was soon to become addicted. Now out on my own and very afraid, I began to curb my slippery slope lifestyle, and I lived in a one room bedsit trying to figure out what I needed to do. I was working by then and only drank at the weekends. But there was a huge void on the inside. I wanted to settle down with someone, but didn't think I'd ever find anyone to have me.

A few years later I met someone and 1 year after that we were married with our 1st child on the way. I was so happy it was like I had arrived. Everything was falling into place. I had more confidence. I stopped taking Valium cold turkey and got through it no problem. We moved into a house a year later and everything was still great. We had a 2nd child. My wife got depressed over a problem with her mother, who lived next door to us. I started drinking and taking Valium again, but the relationship had changed, and I again felt unwanted. I went into rehab to get myself sorted out and we continued to try and keep our marriage together. Inside it felt like I was losing everything again. My wife became very depressed and started screaming and shouting at me for no apparent reason. I was never violent or aggressive.

After a while things calmed down a bit and I stopped drinking altogether, although I was still addicted to Valium. I tried in vain to stop. Since then my wife and I have restored our relationship as best we can. She's still on an antidepressant and I'm still on Valium.

Looking back at things now, I'm not very pleased with myself, and I haven't taken alcohol in 10 years. But now I'm afraid a lot of the time, and so is my wife. The fact is, I'm probably still looking for a replacement mother. I find myself longing for someone to come along and just look after me, in the way a child would want it. I know how that must sound, but what's the point if I'm not being honest. In recent years I've weathered 2 redundancies that weren't my own fault. I even tried religion but it didn't work for me.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've always tried to make amends. At the moment I'd just like to know why I'm so afraid and have nightmares every single night. I'm under some financial pressure at the moment too and that's not helping either. And that's it. That's pretty much a life's history, so far. Where do I go from here, I wonder?


Hi AidanMC and welcome to Psychlinks :welcome:

I am glad that you have found us as you will no doubt find out that we are a great group of people willing to offer support and encouragement.

You say that you would like to know why you are so afraid and have nightmares every night and I was wondering if you have spoken to your doctor or are seeing a therapist about it?

One thing that really stuck out at me in your post was this part:

I'm not very pleased with myself, and I haven't taken alcohol in 10 years.

I definitely think that not drinking for 10 years is something to be very pleased with yourself about.

Anyway, I am glad that you are here and hope to see you around more :wave:

Take care


Thank you both for the welcome. About a year ago I was seeing a trauma specialist for a couple of months, and apart from the childhood rejection thing, which I went through and relived, he wasn't able to pinpoint anything else.

The thought did occur to me that being on Valium for so long (35 years) might have altered some brain functions, or maybe I'm in permanent withdrawal due to tolerance. I started out at 10mg a day and I'm now on 15mg for the last 10 years. Maybe that's the cause. I really don't know. I suppose that's why I'm here.

Daniel E.
I'm under some financial pressure at the moment too and that's not helping either.

According to clinical studies, exercise can significantly reduce stress/anxiety and is often as effective as medication, especially in the long term, and CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) seems to be the most effective treatment for most cases of anxiety. Personally, I have always felt calmer with therapy and exercise.
:welcome: aidanmc!

did you find that therapy helped any at all with your abandonment issues?

have you spoken to your doctor about the valium? he/she may be able to provide you with insight or otherwise send you to someone who would know about the effects of long term valium use.

i also agree with daniel that exercise can really make a difference. it's hard to get into a routine at first but once you get into it it really does make a difference.


I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've always tried to make amends. At the moment I'd just like to know why I'm so afraid and have nightmares every single night. I'm under some financial pressure at the moment too and that's not helping either.
We've all made mistakes and the best thing to do is just accept it. You've tried to make amends, so that's really all you can do. I used to drink heavily, also, and did a lot of drugs for about a decade. It was the only way I could cope. That's just the way it was back then.

The thing to do is just accept your past and try to live in the present. Set aside time to think about your financial problems and work out a plan to solve those problems, but I believe the key to happiness is living in the present. Try practicing mindfulness. It's helped me quite a bit.


:welcome: to PsychLinks, Aidan. We're very glad to have you here! :)

The valium addiction may very well be exacerbating your problems, at this point. You probably need to see a professional to assist you with getting off the valium - possibly, in finding a medication better suited to the problems you're facing.

You may have made a lot of mistakes. Most of us have. However, you've done a lot of things right, too, and it's important to give yourself credit for those.

David Baxter PhD

Late Founder
Two things that occur to me:

1. That's a long time to be on a drug like valium. Has your doctor suggested anything along the lines of a strategy for gradual withdrawal and replacement with something non-addictive? Like one of the SSRIs?

2. Since you know of little or no evidence to support a diagnosis of PTSD, has anyone considered the alternative diagnoses of Panic Disorder or Generalized Anxiety Disorder, perhaps triggered by abandonment issues stemming from an attachment disorder (insecure attachment)?
Welcome. :)

I find myself longing for someone to come along and just look after me, in the way a child would want it.

I don't think that's strange at all. I want that too so much sometimes. I think when people don't get what they need as a child, unconditional love and acceptance, then they long for that and try to find it in other ways, some not so healthy like I self-injure to get away from that feeling of wanting someone to care for me.

As far as making mistakes, we all have. I beat myself up too for past stuff. One thing we need to learn is to forgive ourselves and move on. It's hard, but I believe it can be done.

I found this article and am trying to apply it to myself:

It does sound like you are under a lot of stress. I think seeing someone to talk to and help you out would be a good idea.


For a couple of years I have been a fan of Eckhart Tolle's writings. He makes total sense. Since then I have progressed to Buddhism and meditation. I try to be easy on myself most of the time. I've started watching what my mind says to me (ego) and I can catch it most of the time before it does any damage. All of our minds accumulate such junk over many years.

I really do believe that there is more to all of us than just our minds, but that's a spititual concept and I'm not sure how well stuff like that goes down here. I've read a couple of books on Vipassana Meditation which is "Mindfulness" but haven't been able to discipline myself to doing it every day, yet.

As far as SSRI's I've been on a number of them and cannot tolerate the side effects at all.

And as far as Attachment Disorder is concerned, I'd say that's fairly accurate, along with Codependence.

I'm very hopeful at the moment though, and also overwhelmed by the welcome I've received from all of you. I really appreciate it.
Replying is not possible. This forum is only available as an archive.