Tag Archives: cptsd

Ways To Respond To Someone Who Doesn’t Understand Mental Illness

Not many people have a good grasp on how to treat people with mental illness.  Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD in particular seem to be targets for those with little to no  compassion.

 

Following are some examples of bad things people often say to people suffering with mental illness.  One thing that seems to diffuse people from further insensitive, invalidating comments is a calm, logical response.  Some examples of ways to use that logic follow the examples.

 

“It’s all in your mind.”  This one tells me the person saying it thinks you’re crazy & has no patience for you.  Not exactly something to make you feel all warm & fuzzy, is it?  A good response could be, “Well, yes it is.  It’s a mental illness after all.  Where else would it be?”

 

“Think happy thoughts.”  Well, gee, why didn’t I think of that?!  *facepalm* Depression, anxiety, PTSD & C-PTSD can come with intrusive thoughts that may be impossible to control.  Depression steals your hope, anxiety fills you with often irrational fears, PTSD & C-PTSD steal your hope, fill you with fear in addition to reminding you of all of the horrible, traumatic things you’ve been through.  A possible response could be, “You seem to forget- my brain doesn’t work like yours.  It’s physically broken.  It’s not that easy for me to just think happy thoughts.”

 

“You should just…”  Unasked for advice is never fun.  It’s even worse when the person giving it has absolutely no idea what they are talking about. This one really gets under my skin, especially when it’s wrapped in fake concern.  “I mean this in love, but you need to get over that…” for example.  I’ve responded with, “Thank you but I didn’t ask for your advice on this subject.”  The person who did this with me stopped speaking to me for months after saying that, but I don’t know if that is a typical response or not.  She’s the only one I said that to so far.

 

“I know how you feel.”  No.  No you don’t.  You aren’t me.  You don’t live with the mental illness that I do.  We are two very different people.  So no, you don’t know how I feel.  <– I believe that is a good response.  I admit, I get snarky when told this.  My responses aren’t usually this nice.  Mine have been “You spent most of your life suicidal too?  You have C-PTSD too?  Aren’t those flashbacks terrible?  Oh, you don’t have them.. then I guess you really don’t know how I feel.”  Not nice, but it tends to get people’s attention when nicer comments don’t.

 

“That doesn’t sound so bad.”  I think people forget that we are all different.  What doesn’t sound so bad to one person can devastate another.  My high school guidance counselor told me this phrase after telling her my mother would scream at me & tell me how horrible I was.  It made me feel wrong for being traumatized.  I was young & didn’t know about narcissism then, so I didn’t respond.  Now?  I think I would say something like, “Maybe it doesn’t sound so bad to you, but you weren’t there.  You weren’t the one going through the trauma.”

 

“You can’t have PTSD.  You weren’t in the military.”  Unfortunately, because there has been attention on PTSD in soldiers, the rest of us with it resulting from non-military trauma have been disregarded.  It reminds me of when AIDS was first coming into the public eye in the 80’s, & people thought it was a “gay disease.”  AIDS isn’t a “gay disease”  & PTSD isn’t a “military problem”.  It’s a trauma problem.  And, reminding someone who says you can’t have it because you weren’t in the military is a very good response.

Advertisements

4 Comments

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

Don’t Ignore Your Breakthroughs

Many of us who are healing from narcissistic abuse are more focused on how far we have to go instead of how far we have come in our healing journey.  I think this is because when raised by a narcissistic parent (or two), we learned early on to focus on our flaws.  Being harshly criticized constantly will do that to a person.

 

This is a bad habit though & needs to end!

 

I realized how guilty I am of this behavior just recently.

 

My father called one evening to let me know one of my favorite movies was coming on TV, “Christine.”  He’s never done this before, which struck me odd.  My mother has always been the one to do that.  After only a few moments of conversation, he said “Did you hear that?  The call waiting beeped.  I have to go.”  We said our good byes & hung up.  I realized that he lied about his call waiting- I know because when it’s beeped before when we were on the phone, I always heard a second or two of silence each time it beeped.  This time?  Nothing.

 

I thought about this call after hanging up.  Obviously he’s angry with me.  He’ll never say that since he wants to look like the good parent at all times.  He avoids me instead.  Not a full fledged silent treatment, but when we speak, it’s less frequently & the conversations are much shorter.   That’s why he lied about the call waiting- to get rid of me without blatantly stating he wanted to get rid of me.

 

As for him calling about the movie, that was a first.  Usually my mother calls to let me  know when it’s coming on.  She loves to tell me how “crazy”, “weird” or other nasty things I am for liking it & other Stephen King movies.  “Christine” is a bonus for her because Christine is a ’58 Plymouth Fury.  Since I drive a ’69 Fury, this opens the door for her to insult my car.  They’re too big, ugly, destroy the roads, no one needs a car that big, etc.  For her to pass up all that nastiness, she must still be very angry with me due to our argument on May 5.

 

Rather than being upset like I once would’ve been with my revelations, I found this situation funny (probably inappropriately so).  My parents would rather be wrong, pretend to be right, & act like I’m messed up for not tolerating them being hateful with me than admit they were cruel to me.  And, they’re so passive/aggressive, they won’t try to work things out.  Instead they use immature, silly ways to punish me.  The ridiculousness of the situation struck me funny.

 

God also used this situation to show me something very valuable.  Not so long ago, I would’ve been upset.  I would’ve been enjoying the silent treatment, yet wondering if I should do something.  Should I apologize?  Should I “be the bigger person” & try to work things out?  This time though, those thoughts never even crossed my mind!  Realizing that as well as that I could laugh at the ridiculousness of it all made me see just how far I’ve come.  I’m quite proud  of myself!  I’ve come a long way!

 

I also saw clearly how little I usually celebrate such victories.  Instead, I tend to focus way more on how far I have to go, which is depressing.  That isn’t happening anymore.  I realized the value of having balance, & am working on doing that.

 

Looking at how far you have to go is necessary.  It shows you what you need to work on, & when you get frustrated with being a certain way, you get motivated to change.  However, looking at how far you’ve come is equally valuable.  It helps to encourage you.  You realize that if you could improve that much, then you can continue to improve.  Only looking at how far you have to go discourages you, & only looking at how far you’ve come can make you stagnant.  Maintaining a balance & looking at both is vital to your healing journey being successful, I believe.

 

I want to encourage you today, Dear Reader, to start focusing just as much on how far you’ve come as you do on how far you have to go.  Try to maintain that healthy balance.  It will bring you more peace & joy, & you deserve that!!  xoxo

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism

A Grateful Attitude Can Help Reduce Symptoms Of C-PTSD

Yesterday was an eventful day.  One of my cats, Pretty Boy, needed his annual checkup, which was late.  A little background: Pretty Boy was diagnosed with diabetes since 2011, a condition called Somongyi where his body responds oddly to glucose in 2012, & then with a liver carcinoma in 2013.  That is when the vet said he may not be around much longer, & chances are his glucose wouldn’t be regulated ever again.  In spite of it all, he’s been doing GREAT!  Mostly his glucose has been regulated, & he’s obviously feeling good.  However, I was still nervous (as always) about his checkup.  Turned out the vet said he is doing extremely well, I’m happy to say.  Two vets saw him, one who specializes in diabetes, & she told me she thinks he’s starting to go into diabetic remission!!  It’s very unusual- cats often go into diabetic remission, but usually within about the first 3 months after their diagnosis.  The longer they have diabetes, the lower the chances of remission are.  Leave it to my little guy to be unique.. lol  It’s truly an answer to prayer!  I’m so excited!

This all got me to thinking last night how much I have to thank God for.

Lately, the C-PTSD has been especially bad, leaving me extremely depressed, tired, anxious, having a hard time concentrating & really unable & unwilling to be around people.  It’s been hard to think of anything to be thankful for, but this vet visit was the kick in the butt I needed to change my attitude.  OK, I’m still having some trouble feeling grateful, but I am doing better at it today.  I’m grateful my special little kitty is much healthier than anyone could’ve expected.  I’m grateful too that he’s such a sweet baby- he knows every emotion I have, & if I’m upset, he is right there, offering lots of love to try to make it all better.  I’m grateful for another one of my cats, Punkin, who also has PTSD & how we can help each other when symptoms flare up.  I’m grateful God has blessed me with the many wonderful cats I have & had in my life.   I’m grateful that even during the worst of times with C-PTSD, God still cares & helps me to get through it all.  I’m grateful I survived all of the traumas that caused the C-PTSD, & still have a pretty decent attitude about life most days.  I’m grateful I have people in my life who care about me.  I’m even grateful for the classic car I drive, because it was once my grandfather’s car (my favorite car he ever had) & God found a miraculous way to send it back into my life after not even seeing it in 26 years. (I wrote that story in ebook form- it’s a fascinating story even if you aren’t a classic car fan like me.  Here’s the link: http://www.lulu.com/shop/cynthia-bailey-rug/my-life-the-story-of-a-1969-plymouth/ebook/product-18462742.html )

As a result of thinking about these things & more that I am grateful to God for, for the first time in a couple of weeks, I feel the C-PTSD starting to improve some.  I’m not expecting grateful thoughts to make all of the symptoms magically disappear of course- that would be very naive- but, I have noticed a grateful attitude does help to reduce the severity of C-PTSD symptoms.  I think because it makes me feel closer to God as well as more appreciative of the good things He has blessed me with.  Thinking about such things also increases my faith in God.  Really focusing on the blessings He gives you can’t help but to increase your faith!

I know sometimes when symptoms are raging, it feels like there is absolutely nothing to be thankful for.  I’ve felt that way many times myself.  However, if you can try to think of the good in your life, or ask God to show you the ways He’s blessed you, it may help to reduce your symptoms.  Even if it only helps a little bit, isn’t it worth it?

1 Comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Christian Topics and Prayers, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health

Anger Happens Sometimes With C-PTSD & It’s OK!

Something is happening that I assume is a natural part of C-PTSD, but I haven’t read or heard anything about it: anger, & lots of it.  I’ve read that often people with PTSD or C-PTSD can have a short fuse, getting angry at silly little things, but that is all I read.  So, I had to start praying..

For the first time, I’m getting very angry when people are deliberately hurtful, mean or even abusive towards me.  I realize for the first time that I don’t deserve such poor treatment.  In a way, this is pretty darned cool!!  God showed me it means my self-esteem is at a good place instead of in the toilet where it’s been most of my life.  In another way, it’s rather scary since it’s new territory… I’m not used to feeling anger, because I learned early in life I wasn’t allowed to feel it.  If I expressed any anger, my mother said I had that “awful Bailey temper.”  I carried that dysfunctional habit of not expressing anger into adulthood.

In addition to that, I’m getting very angry at the things that I feel C-PTSD has stolen from me.  This morning, this anger was triggered because of my hair.  Yes, sounds crazy, I know.. I was brushing my hair this morning & realizing so much is broken off & my hair is extremely dry. It looks awful, which upsets me as I’ve always had healthy, nice hair.  Researching this online, long story short, I learned that anxiety & depression are most likely the cause for me.  *sigh*  Great.  Then a little while later,  I decided I was going to work on the new carburetor that is going on my car.  As I skimmed over the directions, they didn’t seem too difficult- I thought I could do what I needed to do.  Nope.  Trying to follow the directions, I was easily confused.  Although I did eventually remember that I’ve done this before (admittedly, 20+ years ago..), trying to actually do what the directions said to do absolutely baffled me.  I also couldn’t remember details of how I’d done this.  it was just the icing on the cake for me.  Made me so angry that I have to rely on my husband do to this simple task for me!  I miss my independence so much!  I then thought about so many other things that C-PTSD has stolen from me, like my coping skills.  i was once very strong, but now any little  thing can frazzle me.  Writing has become very hard for me, because my focus absolutely stinks.  Reading, which was always my favorite pass time, is now a burden because my brain gets easily overwhelmed when I look at the pages in a book.  I can’t tell you the last time I had a restful night’s sleep that wasn’t interrupted by nightmares or waking up with anxiety attacks, & yes, this happens even with sleeping pills.  I’m sick of the constant anxiety, depression, forgetfulness & mood swings too.  We won’t even discuss how many perfectly fine days have been ruined by flashbacks out of the blue..

I realize I sound like I’m wallowing in self-pity, which is what so many ignorant people think C-PTSD is, but yanno something?  I think it’s OK to have these moments of self-compassion sometimes, & even be angry about it.  It’s NOT fair to be abused, let alone so badly & so frequently as to develop C-PTSD.  It’s WRONG!  And, it’s so maddening when you’re suffering through every single day while your abuser goes on with his or her life without a care about what they did to you.  I know, God says vengeance is His, & I respect that by not trying to get revenge on anyone.  That being said.. sometimes it’d be nice to see that person suffer a little, yanno?!?  Not nice, not a good Christian attitude either, but I think it’s just normal to feel that way once in a while (& then ask God to forgive me later..).  It’s also maddening when you are trying your absolute best just to survive, & someone comes along telling you to stop looking so depressed, shake it off, let it go, just think happy thoughts.. seriously, don’t you want to slap those people hard sometimes??  lol  I actually chewed out my husband recently for telling me to do my best.  He’d said it many times, & I felt like doing my best was never good enough for him.  One day, i got angry & told him “the fact I’m out of bed today & I haven’t put a gun to my head should tell you I *am* doing my best!”  He was shocked, but it finally clicked for him that even if it doesn’t look like it, I really am trying!

Does this describe you too?  Do you have times like I’m having today where you are just hot mad at having C-PTSD?  If so, doesn’t logic dictate this as normal behavior sometimes?  C-PTSD is such a frustrating, depressing disorder!  God reminded me of that, & understands my anger & frustration, just as He does yours.  Please, don’t berate yourself for how you feel!  Feelings can’t be helped- they just happen.  It’s what you do with those feelings that matter.

How can you cope when these days happen?  To start with, get those feelings out!  Once I’m done writing this entry, I’m going to write in my journal or pray.  Getting all the anger out I can in a safe manner.  Writing is an awesome way to get out your anger & hurt if you don’t feel like praying.  Or, you could beat up a pillow- that helps too.  Talk to something as if it’s the person you’re angry with, maybe an empty chair in front of you.

Music can help too.  Right now, I’m listening to 1980’s hair bands & heavy metal- some of my favorite music ever.  What is your favorite genre of music?  Well, crank it up!!  Doesn’t matter if it’s heavy metal or classical- whatever makes you feel good!  In fact, go for a drive with your music blaring if you can- it’s fun & therapeutic!

Be gentle & understanding with yourself.  If you’re feeling angry, there is a reason for it!  Don’t tell yourself to just get over it, stop feeling that way or even that you need to forgive the person who hurt you. Accept the fact it’s really OK to be angry sometimes!  The Bible says in Ephesians 4:26-27  “Go ahead and be angry. You do well to be angry- but don’t use your anger as fuel for revenge.  And don’t stay angry.  Don’t go to bed angry.  Don’t give the Devil that kind of foothold in your life.” (MSG)  See?  Even God says it’s OK to get angry sometimes!  Just don’t do anything bad with that anger, such as get revenge.

1 Comment

Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Mental Health, Narcissism