It’s been almost three years since almost all of the symptoms of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder manifested in my life, but I’m still learning about them & how to manage them. It’s a daily battle.
This past week has been a rough one. I’m not sure why, but the C-PTSD has been flaring up really badly. Nothing happened to trigger it, although I did have a flashback a few days into this flare. I haven’t discussed what’s happening much with anyone, not even my husband. For one thing, when it flares up, I need to get a grasp on what is happening. My thinking changes so much, & sometimes it takes a lot for me to recognize it’s the disorder, not me thinking that. For example, I’ve been ashamed of this flare up. I’ve been feeling weak & angry at myself for being so weak. Normally, I accept C-PTSD as the reaction to some very bad things that I’ve been through, but flare ups change that in me.
This morning, I was in an especially foul mood, & my husband & I talked about it. I finally opened up to some of what has been going on with me this week He suggested that since I’ve promised to keep my blog real, that I write about it, & hopefully someone who reads this will benefit from it.
Reading about the symptoms of C-PTSD on clinical sounding websites & living them are two very different things. Reading about them, they sound bad enough, but living them? Yikes. And, you rarely see detailed descriptions of the more odd symptoms. I thought I’d share some of the symptoms you don’t read much (if anything) about that I’ve experienced this week, so if you too experience them, you’ll know you aren’t crazy!
Lately, I’ve had more nightmares than usual. Not even nightmares about traumatic events I’ve been through- nightmares about stupid things, such as an empty school bus parked beside my car catching fire. I knew I couldn’t move my car for some reason, & was afraid it was going to burn with the bus. Make any sense to you? Yea, me neither.. lol One night, I woke up every 15-30 minutes all night long, mostly from nightmares, most of which I didn’t even remember, but I woke up panicky. The few I did remember though had absolutely nothing to do with the traumas I’ve experienced. When I first read about C-PTSD, I assumed when it said nightmares happen, it was nightmares about the traumas. Not necessarily.. I have them too sometimes, but usually not. The nightmares are usually odd but disturbing.
My thinking has been extremely negative. I try to be positive yet realistic, but this week, that hasn’t happened. I’ve been beating myself up about anything & everything possible. I’m weak, stupid, cowardly, useless, ugly, nothing but a burden to my husband.. you get the idea. Growing up with a narcissistic mother, I used to do that all the time, but over the last probably 10-15 years or so, had gotten much better about not doing that. When the C-PTSD flares up, though, that old habit comes back with a vengeance.
I feel like I’ve remembered every single time someone has told me something invalidating about having C-PTSD & it hurts. I’ve thought of so many times when people have told me to “get over it,” “stop using C-PTSD to get pity/attention,” “stop living in the past”, “stop being so negative- you need to be more positive.” or even simply showed they don’t care when the symptoms are bothering me. Why these stupid comments pop into my mind, I have no idea..
My thinking has been very sluggish. I haven’t caught on to hubby’s jokes, which is very abnormal for me since we share the same warped sense of humor. Following a simple TV show or movie has been rather difficult too. And, I encountered a narcissist, yet failed to recognize the signs I normally wouldn’t have missed. Once they were pointed out to me is when I caught on. UGH!
I’ve been getting very angry very easily. It seems like anything & everything pushes my buttons. While trying to put fresh sheets on my bed this morning, I got mad at one of my cats for getting in my way. WHY?! She does this every single time I change sheets. It’s nothing new. But for some reason this morning, this made me so angry. I didn’t scold her, since this is a normal part of her routine, but I really wanted to for a minute there.
I’ve been extremely depressed. I’ve always battled depression, & for years, I was fortunate enough to find ways to keep it under control. I even wrote a book about that, called, “Baptism Of Joy.” My first book! Then when the C-PTSD kicked in in May, 2012, that changed. While I’m not depressed all of the time, I once again spend quite a bit of time depressed, & this time, the usual things that once helped me to feel better don’t work nearly so often.
I’ve also been extremely anxious & unable to pinpoint why exactly. Above & beyond the normal anxiety & hyper-vigilance that come with C-PTSD, I mean. I’ve woken up having panic attacks several times lately. Not a nice way to wake up!
I’ve wondered if I’m going crazy. Definitely not a nice way to feel, especially since I spent so much time feeling this way when I was growing up with my mother who often told me “you need help” (implying I was in need of psychological help, yet she wouldn’t take me to a therapist) & with an ex-husband who was very good at gaslighting.
I’m dissociating a lot more than normal. I feel so spacey most of the time. This also means I have very little focus. Writing in this blog has been a very big challenge this week! Honestly, when I’ve written my entries, I’ve been very unsure about how they sounded, then published them, just praying they made sense.
To try to manage these symptoms,I’ve been spending time listening to music I love, which means many songs I grew up with in the 70’s-80’s, some country & some classic & hard rock. I’ve also been spending time with God, not even necessarily praying- just sitting in His presence. It’s very restorative & grounding.
C-PTSD is an absolutely evil, devastating disorder. If you live with it too, I understand what you’re going through! You may or may not have the odd symptoms I’ve been experiencing this week (I pray you don’t!), but if you do, please know you’re not alone, nor are you crazy! In spite of how it feels, you are a normal person who had a normal reaction to an abnormal amount of trauma! That is what C-PTSD is- a normal response to an abnormal amount of trauma. It isn’t a sign of weakness, low intelligence, flaws in one’s character, or poor thinking such as living in the past or being negative.