As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve been having some really rough C-PTSD times lately. The last few days, it’s been a lot better, thankfully. Going through the rough times lately have gotten me to thinking. I realized I’ve changed a lot since May, 2012 when the C-PTSD became full blown, but I hadn’t really thought about it until a few days ago when I realized I’ve been berating myself rather than accepting myself or trying to discover who I am post-trauma.
There are plenty of books & online counselors on the topic of discovering your post trauma identity. Obviously there is a need for such knowledge- trauma certainly changes you, like it or not. I haven’t ready any of those books yet or spoken to a counselor, so I’m just starting to learn about & pray about this topic. I hope & pray these things I’ve learned so far will help you as they are starting to help me..
I’m seeing that I need to learn to accept the fact I have C-PTSD, & its ugly symptoms without judgment. I keep beating myself up about being so “weak” as to have C-PTSD. You see, I’ve always been very strong. In fact, when I had my first nervous breakdown at age 19, I went to work the next day. I was catatonic for 5 hours that night, had no sleep at all, yet went into work the next morning as if nothing happened. I survived awful abuse, then went on to school, & no one had any idea what had just happened to me. It seemed like nothing could affect me for long, until C-PTSD came along. Now? Let my kitchen sink clog up or me have any small change in my routine, & I’m in a state of panic. It’s beyond frustrating! I’m trying to remember some things. First, C-PTSD isn’t a sign of weakness- it’s a sign of having survived some pretty terrible traumas. Second, C-PTSD is a terrible, life-changing, even potentially life threatening disorder. It’s not something one can control, so its symptoms are going to rear their ugly heads, including the lack of ability to cope well with about anything, crying at the drop of a hat, anxiety attacks, etc. Third, I wouldn’t judge anyone else with C-PTSD. In fact, I have friends with it, & have not once thought they were weak, stupid, useless, etc., so I need to extend that same kindness to myself. Fourth, I need to take better care of myself when the symptoms flare up. It’s ok to take a day off to relax after a particularly nasty flashback, for example. And, I also need to be more aware of what makes my symptoms worse, what triggers I have, & be more understanding of myself regarding them. They’re a normal part of this disorder, & nothing to be ashamed of.
I need to accept the fact that trauma changes a person’s brain, especially repeated, ongoing trauma like I have experienced. Like it or not, it’s a fact. Basically, PTSD & C-PTSD are brain injuries. Brain injuries can make drastic changes in a person! I’ve become very forgetful, very emotional, moody & a lot of times I have trouble finding the right words I need. All are symptoms of C-PTSD & nothing to be ashamed of.
I need to accept changes that have happened to me since C-PTSD. I don’t laugh as easily as I once did. I still have a sense of humor, but I’m a lot more serious than I used to be. I’ve always been an avid bookworm, but now, reading a book overwhelms my brain very easily, which made me lose interest in reading. Reading on my tablet is easier, but I still can feel overwhelmed sometimes. I’ve lost most interest in my favorite hobbies- knitting & crocheting. Writing has become very difficult on most days for me. I don’t know it these things will ever come back. Hopefully they will, or maybe even be replaced by other interesting things that I can enjoy just as much.
I also need to accept the fact I need to ask God for help with the simple things much more often than I used to. Thankfully, God doesn’t mind helping, & in fact, wants to help. However, I still feel weird about asking Him to help me remember to do something or help in accomplishing something simple because I’ve forgotten how to do it. Thank God He is patient & understanding! He has not once made me feel as if I need to do something on my own or not bother Him with my silly requests.
I’m certain there is much more to add to this list, but so far this is what God’s been showing me about handling my post-trauma identity. I hope it helps you as well! xoxo