Somedays, that’s what it’s about. Riding the waves of another emotionally triggering episode, treading water, trying to keep my head above water. Somedays, like today.
I’ve been in therapy for a gazillion years, with many talented therapists, and I’ve learned a lot. There have been so many issues for me to work through, and I’m really grateful for it. But it’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve learned about C-PTSD, or Complex PTSD. I mean, I’m an anxious person for sure, and I have PTSD-type reactions… but it seemed like it was only a diagnosis for people who’d been in acutely traumatic scenarios, like war or rape. And while I certainly have THINGS I need to recover from, it wasn’t anything like that.
C-PTSD is a relatively recent concept that applies to people who have experienced trauma on an ongoing basis. Unfortunately, THAT definition I can identify with. For me, my symptoms play out in a few different ways. Like a negative outlook: I look for the worst possible outcome in many situations, to “prepare myself.” I can get triggered or flooded when something feels emotionally threatening to me; this puts me into the “fight or flight” mode and I can no longer think through something logically. It feels like my mind has been taken over and I can’t stop ruminating on the incident. I have obtrusive, unhelpful thoughts. And I can be upset for many hours afterwards, maybe even a day and a half. Which eats much of my energy or bandwidth for other things I want to do with my life.
Yeah, it’s no fun.
I’ve been working really hard on this, understanding it, learning calming techniques, reading about brain science (which I actually enjoy) and how that plays into it, journaling, meditation, therapy and more therapy. I have therapists who really understand and are helping me out with tools.
Unfortunately, I don’t presently feel comfortable sharing more about my back-story or situation right now. It’s complicated, and the idea of talking about it openly feels scary for me too. I will probably write more about what I’m learning soon.
But I want you to know C-PTSD exists, and if you have stuff like this going on yourself, I hear ya, I feel ya, and there IS hope. I have hope. I do.
(And I’ll just share my current favorite book on this issue… outside of the swearing, there is a lot of good info in it, clearly explained. Brain science is pretty cool!)
[Photo courtesy of dmitry-ratushny-64773 at Unsplash.com]