I think most of us who suffer with C-PTSD hide when we’re having bad days. It can be scary to be vulnerable enough to let another person see how things really are, because people can be cruel. There is never a good time to hear insensitive & invalidating comments of course, but on a bad C-PTSD day? That is the absolute worst time.
Having a bad C-PTSD day, it is TOUGH! I’ll explain how it goes for me. Feel free to show this to anyone in your life that may need to understand your experiences with C-PTSD.
Often I wake up from a night of fitful sleep, too little sleep or a night full of nightmares. The nightmares can be of reliving trauma or more often, something strange or unrelated to the trauma, yet stirs up the same emotions that traumatic events in my life did. This leaves me exhausted, anxious, depressed & on high alert.
Before getting out of bed, I lay still, often with my eyes closed, trying to relax after a bad night. I focus on my breathing to help me calm down, yet in spite of the effort, anxiety comes in waves. I have to remind myself that I am safe, this is merely the C-PTSD doing what this disorder does.
Sometimes a few minutes, sometimes an hour later, I am able to get out of bed & start my day. The anxiety & hyper-vigilence are still there, but a little better at least. Usually I can function at this point, but some days, it’s about impossible. Sometimes, I have panic attacks. If you’ve never experienced one, count your blessings. My chest gets incredibly tight, making me feel like I could be having a heart attack. My breathing gets rapid & feels so strange. I feel like when I’m inhaling, I should be exhaling & vice versa. I end up breathing very shallow & fast until it eventually subsides, making me lightheaded.
Other times, flashbacks start. Imagine trying to discern whether you’re in reality or somehow transported back in time to a traumatic event. Fighting to make sure to stay in reality while dealing with the emotions of a traumatic event is a LOT of work! As if the bad night’s sleep wasn’t enough to make me feel exhausted, this makes the exhaustion even worse.
Between the mental & physical exhaustion, being able to think or focus on tasks like a normal person seems impossible. Even something simple as getting a drink can be difficult. It can be hard to remember where the glasses are, decide if I want ice or not, & decide what do I want to drink. Little things like this that most people take for granted become very daunting & challenging. Often my moods are erratic but get moreso when these days happen.
All of these things are a real blow to the self-esteem. I often think, “I’m so stupid for having C-PTSD!” “Other people have been through worse, yet I have C-PTSD. What’s wrong with me?!” “Why am I not better than I am?! I’ve dealt with this disorder for years!” These thoughts leave me filled with even lower self-esteem than normal, ashamed of myself & doubting why I write about what I do, even considering quitting. If I’m such a mess, how can I help anyone else, after all?
Eventually though, I return to normal, which is still not even close to what normal for most people is. I am able to remember that C-PTSD is a terrible disorder. Just because I have it also doesn’t mean I’m weak. It means I’ve been through some terrible things.
If you experience similar days to mine, know you aren’t alone. There are plenty of others who understand your struggles! Pray. Remind yourself of the things I mentioned. Be understanding of yourself & always take good care of you!