Tag Archives: symptoms

A Little About Nightmares

If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, you know about nightmares.  You have them so often, they aren’t a surprise.  They’re just a way of life.  Yet, little is mentioned about the nightmares.

 

I’d always had frequent nightmares, but it got much worse in 2012 which is when I realized I had C-PTSD.  I began having several almost every night, which of course led to a lot of fatigue.  The nightmares also became even more vivid than usual, which is saying something since I’ve always had very vivid dreams.  They became so vivid in fact, that often I would wake up feeling as if I’d just done whatever I did in the dream.  If I dreamed I ran a marathon, for example, I woke up physically tired & achy.

 

After learning about C-PTSD, I assumed the nightmares would be about reliving traumatic events, which does happen, but only rarely.  Most of my nightmares are about strange things- being an adult yet having to repeat high school & relying on my mother to take me rather than driving my own car; while repeating high school as an adult, being unable to find or remember the combination to my locker; my car being stolen &/or totaled; my husband mocking me when I was obviously upset or rejecting me somehow; or someone letting my cats outside & they ran away.  Strange stuff!  I finally asked God about it after waking up for yet one more bizarre nightmare.  What He shared made a lot of sense & I think it will if you too suffer with odd nightmares like I do.

 

The brain constantly processes information, whether the information is good, bad or indifferent.  Our dreams are often a result of that processing, because the brain doesn’t take breaks.  Sometimes we don’t remember dreams because they weren’t important- the brain simply processed something unimportant.  Other times, it tries to make sense of horrible things that have happened, which is where nightmares come into it.  Sometimes the brain relives those awful, traumatic events in an attempt to understand it, but not always.  Sometimes nightmares look as if they have nothing to do with traumatic events on the surface, yet they actually have a lot to do with them.

 

While the circumstances of the dreams may be different, the emotions they stir up feel exactly like some trauma you have experienced.  My nightmare of my car being stolen & totaled?  It caused a huge amount of anxiety & fear, & I felt completely helpless.  Eventually I realized it triggered the exact same emotions of my seventeenth birthday.  That day, my mother took my gifts from my then boyfriend/now ex husband & destroyed them on the way home from school.  She blamed me for making her do that & making her car messy.  The event caused me so much anxiety (knowing I’d have to tell my ex what happened to his gifts), fear (wondering what she was going to do next) & I felt helpless (she destroyed the gifts as I was picking up her Avon order & gone for maybe 3 minutes- I couldn’t have known what she was going to do or stop her from doing it)

 

When these nightmares happen, the good news is that they have a purpose.  They show you that there is an area in which you need more healing.  It can be hard to figure out, so I highly recommend asking God about it.  He loves you & wants to help you, so let Him!  Ask Him what did that dream mean?  If you like, you also can look up symbols on a dream dictionary website- I’ve done this.  I write down everything I can from my dream- items, colors, feelings- then look up what each means & write it down beside each item.  Sometimes things make more sense to me when I see them in writing so that can be a helpful tool.

 

Once you realize what the dream was trying to make sense of, you can heal.  Work on coping with the traumatic event however works for you- pray, talk to a therapist, talk to a close friend, write in your diary.  What you do doesn’t matter, so long as it works for you.

 

I know nightmares are a very difficult part of C-PTSD & PTSD, but they are also unavoidable.  Why not make them work in your favor by learning what they’re trying to help you cope with?  Once you do, the nightmares often go away or at the very least don’t happen nearly as often.  I haven’t had a dream about my car being stolen or totaled in a couple of years.  🙂

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Sensory Flashbacks

The last few days, my C-PTSD has been flaring up.  I’m not entirely sure why.  I’ve been especially moody, anxious, depressed, & having more nightmares than usual.  Then last night, I had a very odd experience.

My husband & I were lying in bed, watching tv.  He was starting to nod off, &  I was relaxed, hoping to go to sleep soon, when suddenly I smelled coconut.  Immediately, an ex boyfriend of mine came to mind, as he used coconut scented air freshener in his car & I felt extremely anxious, almost to the point of having a panic attack.

A little background on this boyfriend.. I dated him in 1990, when I was 19 & he was 28.  I wasn’t in love with him, yet he told me I would marry him (no proposal, just a command) & we’d have lots of kids (another command).  He was controlling, jealous & angered easily.  I was not happy in this relationship at all & spent most of our short time together anxious, miserable & trying to avoid his anger.  The night I broke up with him, he spend hours screaming at me, telling me how stupid I was, how great he was & how much I’d regret leaving him.  Fast forward to January, 2014.  I read on my county police’s facebook page that he shot & killed his boyfriend, then himself.  I had no clue he was gay or capable of murder.  It was very traumatic when I realized the kind of person he was & how utterly clueless I was to that. Even looking back, I don’t recall any signs of him being gay or that dangerous.

So back to last night…

As I lay there, smelling coconut, it quickly turned into an actual emotional flashback.  I felt like I was 19 again, back in his home & full of anxiety.  No specific event played out in the flashback, only the awful emotions that were a daily part of our relationship.  Eventually it passed & I was fine, just tired & emotionally drained.  I went to sleep a little while after this.

This morning I prayed about it & the term “sensory flashback” popped into my mind.  I did some research online & found very few details.  At least what I found was somewhat helpful.  Sensory flashbacks involve the senses, such as feeling someone is touching you when no one is.  They are not very different than the typical type of flashback in that you feel like you’re reliving a traumatic experience.  Last night, I had a hard time telling reality from flashback, just like during a typical flashback.

Dealing with a sensory flashback seems to be about the same as dealing with other flashbacks.  You need to ground yourself- touch something, smell something, taste something.  Something that is strong to the senses helps to keep you grounded- hold an ice cube, smell lavender, taste a little lemon juice.  Something that basically “assaults” your senses will help you to stay grounded.

Focus on deep, slow breaths to help you to avoid hyperventilating.

If this happens while you are away from home, try to find somewhere safe to work through it.

Don’t beat yourself up for this.  Many people have flashbacks.  It happens sometimes when exposed to trauma.

Be understanding & gentle with yourself.  Flashbacks can leave you feeling very tired & drained for a couple of days.

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An Important Point About C-PTSD & PTSD

Recently I was talking with a friend of mine on Facebook.  He’s a former soldier with PTSD.  I saw just how hard he can be on himself for not perfectly managing his symptoms, & it broke my heart.

On July 4th, he went with his wife & kids to see fireworks.  Like many vets, this isn’t an easy thing for him.  This year though, he got through just fine with some help from his family.  He was proud of himself, as he should have been.  The next day he was due to go to the beach with his family but had such bad panic attacks, he couldn’t go.  He said some pretty bad things about himself for not having control over the panic.  He said he felt he should be able to conquer this, but he couldn’t, & was extremely hard on himself over it.

I realized I do the exact same thing when my symptoms flare up sometimes.  I try not to, but there are still some times when I tell myself I’m worthless, stupid & a host of other things.  I think a lot of us with C-PTSD or PTSD do this exact same thing.  That doesn’t make it right though!

C-PTSD & PTSD are actual brain injuries & the symptoms are not caused by faulty thinking or beliefs like many people think.  The symptoms come about because the trauma(s) a person has endured is so bad, it caused physical changes to some parts of the brain.   Expecting to be able to control the symptoms perfectly is just not wise. It’s like trying to control the symptoms of a sprained ankle.  Not going to happen!  How can you expect to control physical injuries?  It’s impossible!

If you have C-PTSD  or PTSD, then you know you have good & bad days.  Good days are like my friend’s fireworks experience this July 4th.  When you can manage your symptoms well, it’s a very good day & you can feel on top of the world.  Bad days are the polar opposite, & you often feel like the most worthless human being alive.  Unfortunately though, both good & bad days happen.  It’s only natural.

When the bad days happen, I really think it is best to avoid beating yourself up over them.  No good can come of it!  Beating yourself up only makes you feel worse about yourself.  It also can make the anxiety worse.  It makes you feel even more depressed.

Instead of beating yourself up, then why not accept the fact that days like this happen?  You obviously can’t control them, so it’s not like they’re your fault.  Accept that they happen,& do the best you can do to manage the symptoms as they arise.  Sometimes your best may not be very good, & that’s ok too.  It’s just part of having such an awful disorder.  Also remember, this disorder doesn’t define you- it is simply a sickness.  You are NOT your disorder!

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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?

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A Long Week In A Life With C-PTSD

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.

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Distractions

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I was just thinking about something.

I was thinking of some of the reasons I have to be grateful.  It’s a practice I think everyone needs to do often.  Yes, it can be hard, especially when, like me, you have C-PTSD & your brain is already so “full” (anxiety, hyper-vigilence, flashbacks..) it can feel as if one more thing won’t fit in there.  However, that is exactly why it is good to distract yourself from the bad things sometimes, & think of positive things.

Also, if you focus on negative things such as the events that caused the C-PTSD, your symptoms or even learning about why your abuser did what she did to you, it can consume you.  I learned this when I was writing my last book, “It’s All About ME!  The Facts About Maternal Narcissism.”  While writing a book, I pretty much become obsessed for a while.  I think about what I’m writing non-stop, so I can put my best into it when working on a book.  This book was no exception, however the topic of the book was a very challenging one.  I learned so much about Narcissistic Personality Disorder while writing the book!  I felt as if God opened my eyes & I was seeing so much more about it than I ever could’ve imagined.  While that was great & I think it gave me a very good book, it became overwhelming often.  I took frequent breaks, but I don’t think frequent enough or pampering enough.  I saw things in a new light with my own mother & father too.  I had more nightmares than usual.  My sleep was terrible.  I lived & breathed NPD.  By the time the book was finished, I was deeply relieved.  That was in September, & I haven’t even thought about what book to focus on next as I still feel like I’m recovering from that time.

Learn from my mistake!!

If you are going through a hard time or have C-PTSD like me, distract yourself often.  If you care for someone who is ill or elderly, again, distract yourself often.  Fun distractions will help you tremendously!  They will help you to keep a more positive attitude & not become overwhelmed with negative things.  They also will help you to rest better at night, & be more relaxed during the day. Basically, they will help you to be the best “you” that you can be, which benefits you as well as the other people in your life.  You won’t be of any good to anyone if you are tired, depressed, anxious & negative.

And, if you have C-PTSD, then you are well aware how common suicidal thoughts are.  This is especially important for you!  It can be hard to fend off such terrible thoughts even when you know it’s just the disorder talking rather than what you really want.  I have found that distracting yourself during those times to be especially important.  If thinking of the good things in your life isn’t powerful enough, do something else.  Go shopping & get yourself a little something special.  Go to a museum or the zoo.  Take yourself out for a nice meal, or go with someone you love.  If agoraphobia is an issue, go for a drive in the country or near the water, alone & enjoy the beautiful scenery.

What ways do you have that you can distract yourself during hard times?  What things are you grateful for in your life that you can focus on today?

To help get you started, here are some things that I thought of earlier that I am grateful for..

  • I’m grateful for my family.  My mother wouldn’t let me be close to anyone in my dad’s family when I was a kid, so I have been getting to know some of my relatives for the last almost 15 years.  I am very grateful for the new relationships/friendships I have.
  • Along those lines, I’m grateful for the nice long talk I had with one of my cousins last night.  He’s a great guy, & I’m glad to finally be able to get to know him.
  • I’m grateful for my furkids.  My babies are incredibly sweet & loving.  They are awesome as well as cute as can be.
  • I’m grateful God sent my cat, Punkin to me.  The poor little fellow has PTSD (I saw him have a flashback  once – WOW!), so we are able to help each other when the symptoms get bad.  We understand each other so well since I learned what was happening with him.
  • I’m grateful for this time of year.  Fall is my favorite season.  I am LOVING the beautiful colors of the leaves & the nice temperatures.
  • I’m grateful for having some amazing friends.  They’re supportive & caring.
  • I’m grateful for the old friends I’d lost touch with, but then caught up with on facebook in recent years.  They are wonderful, & most haven’t been scared off by me having C-PTSD.  Instead, they have been non-judgmental & supportive.

I also have some plans for nice distractions for this weekend…

  • It’s the Halloween season, which means scary movies I love are on TV!!  I basically plan to be a couch potato until November 1 & enjoy the movies!
  • My husband’s birthday is on Sunday.  Since he’s working that day, we are celebrating later today.  We’re going to a local car show we both enjoy, probably getting dinner out, & after that, maybe playing some video games or watching more scary movies (he enjoys them too) & having some birthday cake that I made him.  We may even go for a drive to enjoy the fall scenery (which he also loves).

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Why You Can’t Just ‘Get Over’ C-PTSD

I am having a really, really bad day today. I am depressed, tired & can’t even focus on the simplest things. Even writing this simple entry is already a challenge for me. I have no desire to do anything, even the things I enjoy the most, like reading or knitting. This happens sometimes- I call it a bad C-PTSD day. Days like this remind me just how serious this disorder is. I have no control over these days- they just happen when they want to or following some especially stressful event, & are as debilitating as they want to be. I absolutely hate not having control over my emotions! I’ve always had extreme control over them, & when I don’t, it scares me. It’s just one more frustrating part of C-PTSD.

C-PTSD & PTSD are much more than just bad thinking patterns- they mean that trauma has physically damaged the brain. Trauma can cause neurological changes in your brain! If you have PTSD or C-PTSD, &…
-your short term memory isn’t what it used to be, that is because the hippocampus actually shrinks. That is the part of your brain that is responsible for short term memory.
-you have trouble finding the right words, that is because the prefrontal lobe, which is responsible for language, is affected by trauma.
-you have problems regulating your emotions, that is because your amgydala has enlarged. The amygdala is responsible for regulating emotions, & when it is in “overdrive” for a long time, it actually enlarges.
-you always feel afraid, that is because your medial prefrontal cortex (responsible for fear & emotional responses) doesn’t regulate well after trauma.

When I read things online saying faith in God will “get you over” PTSD/C-PTSD, or “you can’t live in the past forever,” or “Think positive thoughts!” I want to read the above list of brain damage caused by trauma to the person saying those things. If “getting over it” was only so easy! No amount of positive thoughts can fix the physical damage of C-PTSD. And, because I have it doesn’t mean I’m living in the past, constantly thinking of the traumatic events I’ve experienced. I don’t think of them often, in fact. As for faith in God? I absolutely believe God can heal anyone from C-PTSD, all things are possible with Him. However, I’ve learned something about God- although He doesn’t put it on anyone to suffer, He can use my suffering to help other people. He has used so much of what I’ve learned since developing C-PTSD to help others who suffer with it too. And, since mine developed from an abusive childhood at the hand of a narcissistic mother, I’ve also been able to share what I’ve learned about narcissistic mothers as well, helping many other people. Good has come from this awful disorder!

If you too, live with PTSD or C-PTSD, please remember what I’ve said, or print it out (that’s what I’ve had to do since I can’t remember it). It is an actual physical injury to your brain. You can’t just get over it, so be patient & understanding with yourself, & don’t let anyone make you feel bad for having this disorder! ❤

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Possible Help For People With C-PTSD

I just realized something good I’ve forgotten to share with you, Dear Readers!

A while back, I read that antidepressants in the SSRI (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) class such as paxil, zoloft & prozac are used to treat PTSD & C-PTSD.  As many of you know, I am a fan of natural & herbal remedies whenever possible over “real” medications.  St. John’s wort is a plant that works much like SSRI’s, & is very helpful for many people suffering with depression.  I’ve taken it before periodically, & it helped me.  However, I started taking a higher dose of it a couple of weeks ago, & it is working  better than ever.  The depression isn’t as bad as it has been, neither is the anxiety, & the agoraphobia is much better.  I can’t say perfect- I still have down times & I have yet to work up the nerve to go out alone yet- but nonetheless, I have hope I’m onto something good.  I’m debating upping my dose, but am not sure if that is a good idea yet or not.

I take 375 mg of St. John’s wort once a day, which is one pill from the brand I use.  St. John’s wort can be head surprisingly cheaply from most places that carry vitamins.  I got mine online from Swanson Vitamins- they have very good pricing on all kinds of vitamins & herbs, even with shipping & handling.  

I have yet to have any side effects, either, which is more than can be said about prescription SSRI’s.  Not ONE side effect!!

Please don’t take this out of context- I’m not saying you should get off your anti-depressant & take St. John’s wort.  If you’re on a prescription that works for you, by all means, take it!  Everyone needs to do what works best for them.  Besides, with any prescription anti-depressant, you should gradually wean off of it anyway.  I am saying that if you aren’t taking a prescription, or it isn’t working for you, St. John’s wort may be your answer.  It’s worth considering anyway!  

I also realize many Christians aren’t fond of herbal remedies, as those in Wiccan & Pagan religions use them.  I have a friend who is Pagan, & I’ve learned a few things on this topic. Both religions use herbal remedies, as well as herbs in casting spells or making potions.  While I can’t say I agree with spells & potions, I have not heard one reason that makes me believe herbal remedies are an offense to God.  I believe that God made this plants & herbs with their healing properties for a reason- why shouldn’t people use them?  If we can use roses to express love to one another, why can’t we enjoy a cup of chamomile tea when stressed or unable to sleep?  What is the difference?  

Anyway, I just wanted to tell you about my experiences of late with St. John’s wort & to encourage you to think & pray about it- it may be right for you to help you fight depression & the other awful symptoms of C-PTSD.  🙂

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A C-PTSD Awakening

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

The more I learn about Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the more bizarre I think it is.  Not just the symptoms I live with daily, but how long I have lived with many symptoms, & the coping skills I learned early in life.  

Before fully manifesting in 2012, I lived with many symptoms ever since I could remember.  Headaches, body aches, anxiety, depression, sleep problems since I was in my early 20’s, nightmares, dissociation.  My way to cope with these problems?  Ignore them.  Fantastic, eh?  lol  Unfortunately I’m sure this “skill” stems from learning early that I was not to bother anyone with any problems I might have.  I am here to be used, not to have my own life, needs, wants, feelings, etc.  

As I have been learning about C-PTSD the last almost two years, I’ve come to realize just how many symptoms I’ve lived with for a very long time, yet ignored completely.  It’s so strange!  I’ve had headaches when I get stressed ever since I can remember, yet it’s only recently that I have acknowledged them & begun to feel them.  The same with body aches- if I get depressed or anxious, my muscles & joints feel awful, much like I’m coming down with a bad case of the flu.  Dissociation?  I was just daydreaming- it doesn’t matter!  Or, that is what I told myself, at least.  Even when the dissociation went so far after my divorce that at times, I would forget my name, family & other vital details of my life (this is known as a dissociative fugue, & can happen after traumatic events).  Anxiety & depression?  I pushed those feelings aside, because other people needed me not to have feelings & to do things for them.  

Many people with C-PTSD learned similar faulty coping skills to mine.  I also think this “awakening” I’m having is normal, although I never read anything about it.  It makes sense when I think of it- I’m learning about myself, so it’s causing me to reflect on myself & my life, seeing all kinds of things I had ignored.  

I wanted to let you know that if this is happening to you, too, don’t panic- you are normal!  🙂  This is just another bump in the healing road.  It’s actually a good thing, I think.  Honestly, I do kind of miss being able to ignore the aches & pains especially- they are just miserable!  However, the symptoms of C-PTSD can be helpful- they let you know when you are getting overwhelmed, & need to take care of yourself.  If you don’t notice the symptoms, you may keep pushing yourself too hard, which can create more problems with your emotional health down the road.  

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

December 10, 2013

Good afternoon, Dear Readers!

I’m sorry for not posting lately.  I had a nasty flashback last Friday night, then had to go out twice on Saturday which set the agoraphobia off like mad.   That left me extremely frustrated since I used to be very independent, in addition to the anxiety & depression that this was happening.  I’ve been recovering since.  I am exhausted, physically & mentally, as usual.  Makes it hard to focus on writing anything.  

Apparently it also makes reading more challenging than normal.  I’ve had a tough time reading for a while now- after a while, the words pretty much blur together on the page.  But after flashbacks or bad days, it’s even harder.  From what I’ve read, that is a normal part of C-PTSD & PTSD.  This is so frustrating since I love books.  And, I just got Stephen King’s sequel to “The Shining”, “Dr. Sleep.”  You have no idea how much I want to finish this book & find out what happens!  

I’m trying different things to deal with these common problems with C-PTSD.  As for recovery after flashbacks, I think rest is the best thing.  Being lazy- watching movies, gardening, knitting.  Activities that I enjoy but don’t require a lot of effort on my part help me.  Avoiding stressful activities, such as going to a crowded store are also important.  

As for the reading problem, I’m having to learn to take it in small steps.  I used to read an entire book in an afternoon.  Now?  A while, then take a break, read some more, take a break.  It makes it less frustrating if I stop as soon as the “blurring” starts.  

I’ve learned something else.  This is the most important thing- I saved the best for last.  When symptoms flare up, whatever the symptoms are, it is best to get quiet.  During those quiet times, God gives me creative ways to deal with the symptoms.  He taught me about ways to ground myself during a flashback before I read anything about grounding techniques.  

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

November 17, 2013

Just when I get comfortable thinking I’m finally familiar with C-PTSD, it seems like something else rears its ugly head.  It can be so frustrating!  

Last night, I went to start knitting a hat.  I cast on my stitches (the foundation), then went to join this long trail of stitches into a circle.  I suddenly realized I completely forgot how to do it.  I stared at my knitting needles & yarn for quite some time, but the next step wouldn’t come to me.  My husband asked me what’s wrong & I told him I forgot how to start knitting in the round.  He was surprised, since he knows I have such an addiction to knitting & have since before we met.  He then asked if I was that nervous about Monday, & I realized that must be why I forgot this ridiculously simple task.  Monday I have a doctor’s appointment that I am dreading- not because anything is wrong, it’s a simple check up, but because most of the staff can be so hateful.  It’s very triggering for me.  Unfortunately I’m stuck with them for now, so I must endure the nastiness from these people.  Anyway I hadn’t realized just how anxious i was about this appointment until that moment last night.  That anxiety is filling up my brain too much- so much so, it temporarily pushed out knowing how to do a simple knitting technique.  

I also had a difficult conversation with my mother yesterday afternoon, which added to my anxiety levels being higher.

If this describes you, too, know you aren’t alone.  Yes, it can be so very frustrating to forget things, but it is a part of C-PTSD.  You aren’t crazy.  You have a disorder.  Be understanding of yourself & gentle with yourself when these things happen.  

As for me, I looked up on youtube how to continue knitting on my hat.  I’ll continue working on it this afternoon.  🙂  “Yarn therapy” is very helpful.

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Filed under Abuse and the Healing Journey, Mental Health

September 6, 2013

Good morning, Dear Readers!

I just came across this symptom tracker this morning on a page for people living with PTSD/C-PTSD. It looks quite helpful. It keeps track of your mood, activities, sleep patterns & so much more. It can be printed out (handy for those of you seeing a counselor). I downloaded it- figured it could be interesting & hopefully helpful. I hope it helps you too!

http://www.findingoptimism.com/

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September 6, 2013 · 10:17 AM