2009 Shows

No matter how hard we try to protect ourselves, each one of us will experience trauma in our lives. Whether it's divorce, an illness or a violent attack, each one of us is a potential victim?. When bad things happen, how should you react? Shelita says her life was recently turned upside down when three suspects broke into her home and held her, her mother and her 3-year-old daughter at gunpoint. Since the attack, Shelita says she's lost her sense of security, is terrified to be alone in her home, and will go to extremes to avoid it. Will moving out of her home help Shelita heal? Could she be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and not even know it? Then, Danielle says that for the last 30 years she's been haunted by a terrifying childhood encounter. She was 7 years old when a perpetrator known as the East Area Rapist invaded her home and victimized her mother. He's never been caught, and the killer may still be on the loose. Now, Danielle is married and has two daughters, and as they near the age she was when the attack happened, she is reliving her nightmare. Why does Danielle's husband, Art, say her fears are interfering with her parenting? Does he have legitimate concerns? And, see what Danielle recently discovered that terrifies her. Next, meet a man who says he's dedicated to helping police solve this crime. Will he alleviate or elevate Danielle's fears? Has an unexpected trauma left you paralyzed by fear? Learn how to take back control, let go of the fear and move on with your life. Join the discussion.

Find out what happened on the show.
Replied By: smarndt1978 on Apr 21, 2012, 9:06AM
In this episode when PTSD is talked about, I just wanted to cry.  I have been through a lot in the last few years, medically.  17 brain surgeries, and several infection, almost died once.  Because of all of it I suffer from major depression.  And in talking to some of my friends that have the same condition that I do, they have had it described to them as a medical PTSD, rather than depression.  And when I saw/heard the signs/symptoms of PTSD, I could relate to a lot of it, like it was describing my daily life.  I'm always worried when I have headaches, wondering when the headache will lead to something serious.  I wish there was a show about medical PTSD, because there are so many people that just don't know that it is possible.  I'm on a couple of anti-depressants, that help with the depression and anxiety that I feel daily, but it doesn't completely stop it.

Long time fan,


Replied By: joymcquiston on Apr 12, 2009, 7:22AM

My name is Joy McQuiston and I have posted on many threads on Dr. Phil’s Message Board.  My primary focus today is once again on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  This disorder can be so devastating to overcome, and leave the victim feeling worthless and ashamed for being diagnosed with PTSD.   My present belief is that many fall into the category of having PTSD, yet they are not aware of this yet.  It takes a qualified medical care provider to make this diagnosis, and then the victim of grave circumstance(s) that happened to them by either intentionally inflicted or not by the hands of others, finds themselves undergoing a comprehensive management to fight this dreaded disorder.

I am one of those individuals.  I was diagnosed in 1985 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, after enduring (4) severe traumas, all intentionally done to me by others.  I have seen numerous doctors, therapists, etc., and have taken just about every possible medication there is to date on the market to not only repair the physical damages my brain received from having tremendous shock and trauma introduced to the nervous system, but to level out my emotional state, so that I may lead a productive and happy life.

Allow me to interject at this time that I consider myself a survivor, more than a victim, and have accomplished this more from my own measures I took, rather than the medical field I had relied upon since 1985, when I was first diagnosed with PTSD.  I am not attempting to say that I believe ALL medical health care givers are not helpful, as I believe there are many out there who are on top of this disabling disorder.  I am saying that I am finding it harder and harder to find such qualified doctors, and it might just be because of the area I live in now.

I have recently had another nightmare I had to contend with, when I had chosen a Psychiatrist from the list my insurance carrier provided me, who are “in the system” so I may utilize my benefits in seeking professional help for my disorder of PTSD.  To say the end results of my choice of this doctor who appeared on the “list” was traumatizing in itself, would be a huge understatement.  I ended up being much worse off than the day I stepped foot into his office.  Not only was he unprofessional, but he was downright abusive and insulting.  Those of you who suffer from PTSD will certainly understand that working with a doctor of this nature, is like working with Satan himself.

My message today is twofold.  First, I personally feel that Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is still not quite understood, nor do many of the professionals in the mental health industry have an inclusive understanding of this disorder.  I actually believe that unless that doctor or therapist has been traumatized multiple times himself/herself with life-threatening circumstances, (God forbid), the chances are their understanding, no matter how hard they try to comprehend, or are educated on the subject, still does not measure up to the victim’s needs.  Having spent a great deal of my time and money in seeing numerous mental health care givers, I end up only relying on myself to heal myself as best I can.

Secondly, having shared this knowledge with you, I do feel it is achievable to begin to mend oneself on the inside where those ugly scars, open wounds and frightening memories linger, although they are so unwanted and uninvited by the victim.  We do have self-worth and we do deserve to live a life of quality, not only achieving our dreams and remaining happy, but we have a right to feel we fit into society, where we are not deemed abnormal, or should we ever be made to feel ashamed of our disorder.  It is accomplishable to overcome trauma, even if one has had to endure multi-traumas that were life-threatening in their life.  Please trust in yourself that you are worthy to live a normal existence too.  Please remember, when you are seeking out a Psychiatrist or Therapist, on your initial first visit, you are interviewing THEM, as well as they are asking you questions about yourself.  In fact, I have saved footwork of late, and I do the interviewing on the initial call I make into their office.  Many doctors are being forthright in stating that “yes” they do have experienced in treating PTSD, however, they do not feel qualified enough to treat a patient with multi-traumas of an horrendous nature. 

I hope this has helped many of what I have learned over the years, and especially most recently.  Never give up, please.  There really is a light at the end of that tunnel.

My blessing to each and every one of you whom is still suffering,

Joy McQuiston

Replied By: cathycooney on Mar 22, 2009, 11:22PM - In reply to kdfrmtampa
please know you are not trivial. your trauma is not trivial. you and your experiences are as valid as any  other member of humanity!
Replied By: bjenkins72 on Mar 17, 2009, 2:08PM
Dear Dr. Phil,

I had to send you a comment to share my story with you and let you know how this show effected me.  February 17, 2009 is a day in our family's lives that is a defining moment.  Earlier that day I was praying with a friend/co-worker who had just gotten diagosed with breast cancer.  It actually caused a discussion/cry-fest with another friend about how quickly life can change.  Little did I know that later that day, my world would be flipped upside-down.  That afternoon, I watched your show and was empathatic toward the guests who were stuck, at some moment in time, paralyzed by fear.  Again, not knowing that later that day, I would be living the most fearful moment of my life. 

At 8:30 that night, my beautiful 14-year old daughter was struck with a grand-mall seizure.  Although we have a history of seizures in our family, neither my husband or I had ever witnessed one.  It was the longest, most agonizing 5 minutes of my life.  My younger children witnessed it as well, and it was extremely traumatic for all of us.   Although the seizure was not life threatening, we had no way of knowing that at the time.  The feelings of helplessness and anxiety were almost more than I could bear.  I literally thought she was going to die -- right here on the kitchen floor, before the paramedics could get there and there was nothing we could do about it.  For the first seven days, I could not go to sleep without seeing the image of her seizing. 

Two weeks later we were given the diagnosis of epilepsy and have started a regimen of anti-seizure medication.  Although this is not the path we would have chosen, we are grateful for God's provision and the fact that she was not injured during the seizure.  She was at home with both of her parents with her.  During the days following the seizure, I kept remembering the advice you gave during that show.  It helped me tremendously to be able to move past "that moment" and be able to move forward.  Thank you so much for the advice and guidance that you offer each day.  You can never fully understand the impact that it has.  Thank you so much.

Belinda Jenkins
Woodstock, GA
Replied By: kara99 on Mar 5, 2009, 7:36PM
Does anyone know what Dr. Phils statement regarding PTSD was?  I thought the show was over then heard something about sufferers of PTSD having problems at times with how they say things.  I would really appreciate knowing exactly what he said regarding this.  Thanks 
Replied By: hondas on Feb 24, 2009, 1:30PM
The first part of 2007 was a very bad time personally and professionally for me and was topped off on June 25th with the most traumatic day of life.  I was a school secretary who had to deal within a 3 hour period an attempted abduction of a student, the sudden death of a co-worker and an intruder to the school with a knife who slit her throat in front of me.  This day left me extremely ill for a very long time.  I lost 20lbs, was unable to feel or think clearly.  My short term memory was gone and I couldn't seem to function on a daily basis.  My world became very small.  PTS changed my personality so much that eventually my husband intervened and booked a doctors appointment (I was unable to do even this small task on my own),  He came with me and due to my breakdown in the doctors office, he finished up doing all the talking.  Thank God for him.  It was decided that I should take a leave of absence immediately from my work and go into therapy.  Medication was also prescribed to take the edge off.  The therapist helped me a great deal and the understanding and support of my husband was priceless.  In the past six months I have really noticed major improvements in my emotional levels, yay I can feel again.  I find that I still suffer from short term memory issues and am not as able to handle stressful situations as before.  However, I know that I am on the other side of this and would recommend that anyone who thinks they are suffering from this disorder to go and get professional help.  You will not get better on your own.  The people in your lives must also be told so that you can get the help and support you will need to get through this.

Thank you Dr. Phil for discussing this disorder.  I'm sure it will help thousands of others who live in the dark emotional trauma of PTS.
Replied By: vikkibj1961 on Feb 20, 2009, 11:27AM
I know how she feels, I prosecuted a manager of a famous fast food establishment for having sex with my minor daughter and after court the Judge didn't check up on this man's story and I begged the judge not to let him go because I chased this man on the freeway going thru 5 cities because he was hiding out for a year and I wanted him in jail but the judge lowere his bail and soon as he was released he stormed my home at night we thought we were under fire all we heard like it was gun shots,  I thought I was in the middle of a war,  my dog jumped on the floor crawling to my daughter because we thought she was shot,  they waited and followed her as soon as she opened the front door they took their anger out on our house, i was sleep but now i can't sleep, i have panic attacks so bad that i can't breathe.  It's horrible I don't think i will ever be ok again.
Replied By: owenandassoc on Feb 20, 2009, 4:44AM
I am an adoptive mother  to a 12 year old daughter with Post Traumatic Stress. She was our foster child at  age 6 that we adopted. Her behavior has escalated to the point where she pulled a knife on me to intimidate me and has strange stalking like behavior towards me. She says she is confusing me with her bio mother whom she is filled with anger towards. I look like her and sound like her she says. She is taking on behavior like her abuser and trying to make me into her mother or the victim or so it seems to me and my family and friends.


 She lived on the streets of Phoenix homeless at times with her mother and her mother’s violent lesbian partner. She was taking care of a brother and sister in diapers. Mother would be gone for days on Meth binges. She reportedly has witness this partner sexually abuse and kill others. Knife fights and stabbing were common. She was made to watch sex and has some apparent training. Her mother and her would do cons and steal to survive. Power, control and manipulation rule her life. She says she feels like she is going to die if she is not in control.  She is vengeful to get back at whoever if punished or held accountable for consequences, she becomes non- directable, trying to do whatever she can inflict as much chaos as she can as if to say “see, you can’t handle me either”.   I know it is just her pain talking though. She has moods where she is sweet and normal then she will become angry and full of rage. Sometimes she doesn’t even remember what happened. He mother is Bi-Polar.  At the time she pulled a knife on me to intimidate me and then reported false things to CPS tying to get us in trouble ( she said “well, I was angry at you”), we had her removed to therapeutic foster care where she is at now for the time being. I am told she doesn’t qualify for a treatment center.


My fear is that they will try to place her back in my home before they get her mentally stable. I have no doubt she will harm me or my family if that happens. I am fighting for her to stay outside our home and get the help she needs. I need to protect my family. I don’t want to give her up. I just want to get her help. It is safer for her and us if I am her mother at a distance right now. CPS protects the kids but who protects us, our family, from the kids we adopt? Getting her help shouldn’t be this hard.

Replied By: kdfrmtampa on Feb 19, 2009, 6:17PM
I know it seems trivial as opposed to others, but I feel I was traumatized when I was 12 and my mother put a gun to my head and threatened to kill me. We were going through a divorce so I know she was stressed out at the time, but somehow, I think it's affected my relationships with everyone since then. I am now 42 and I am realizing that although I am a productive person in society, I think this affected me in some way.
Replied By: military1 on Feb 19, 2009, 4:01PM - In reply to starvingartist
Taking your power back! I learned that by attending ALANON meetings while my husband attended AA. Those meetings helped me alot. You own the crisis and only you can say how it will dictate your life. Sure there are triggers- a song-a smell etc. but  you have the power to  acknowledge and then put it in the trash where it belongs! Great letter! You are a big inspiration!!!
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