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C-PTSD - The Harsh Reality

For me, the hardest things I have to control are the triggers. After years of therapy and research, being in and out of hospital, there was and still is not a great deal of understanding of C-PTSD and PTSD. As the years have gone on, I have more understanding on why I do the things I do, behave in the different ways I do – always on alert. From the age of 13 I have been dealing with this and only now finding some answers as why I am the way I am. I am different and with the length of the court case (10 years) reliving and reliving and reliving it over and over again, it got to the point that no one was left that could do much for me, I was trapped in the nightmare groundhog day so the best they could do is to sort out the medication I needed for me to survive. With a lot of experiments with different drugs and combinations they got something worked out the best they could. That’s just the way it is now.

I was lucky when I went to find help many years later. A lady through another lady that she knew this lady that she heard was good with trauma. So, off I go deciding that I needed help. I was raising 2 children as a single parent and didn’t want them to have to deal with the crap I was going through. Well, what a ride that was. She is a clinical psychologist specialising in trauma and had the understanding of what I was dealing with not just the shell on the outside but she understood feelings and emotions and I got answers for the first time on why I do/did the things and acted the way I do. Still to this day I have seen other psychologist and obviously psychiatrists too (to work out medication). No one has told me or gone through things with me that she has not predicted would happen to my body or mind that has either not already happened or are about to. The body can’t survive running the way my body does, it’s that simple. I am not the only one but I can only say how it is for me.

Triggers can be anything from sight, smell, sound, environment, to even a song. The smell in the wind as it changes. I went most of my life not understanding this and what it meant; I thought it was just pure rage, a raging bull going flat out. It is hell, un-controllable, un-stoppable in many ways and care factor is zero. I had no idea what was going on with the emotions and the anger. I have many social, anxiety based conditions I can’t leave the safety of home for weeks on end. My mood can change with wind e.g. triggers. I still have many problems dealing with this and I have now just come to accept that after all the years of therapy and the same things being said from different professionals, this is the best that I will be, and that’s ok. I have learnt to deal with it the best way I can, though not perfect, but sometimes you can damage something that bad that no matter how hard you try you can never get it back the way it was. But, who was I? I don’t know. I never had the chance to grow and develop as a ‘normal, un-traumatised’ child into adolescent adulthood. It was fight or flight, there was no other option. From the moment of the sexual abuse and exorcism my life was no longer my life, something had changed inside me, the anger and hatred grew over the years, though I was in such a conflict because I knew I was smart and artistic but I was so torn inside in many ways I just want to put my hands into the centre of my chest and tear it open and scream to let all the hurt, anger, emotion over the years and years come out in a massive roar and let it all out.

I still deal with it the same now. It just works for me. I’m a recluse basically. Friends and family walked away when they found out what the extent of what happened. They just can’t deal with it I expect, like most people, they don’t want to know about it but they know it happens. I don’t get it, but that’s the attitude. I’m just a damaged person, with lots of problems. I never asked or wanted to be abused but I have to deal with it. It makes it so much harder when friends and family just ignore you, they don’t know what to say I guess, I don’t know but that is just the way it is. The research and treatment of CPTSD is young. The physical strain it takes on your body to be constantly running on adrenaline is so immense that it is causing my body to shut down. Slowly, but surely, my body is beginning to deteriorate because of such a constant heightened state of emotion. Internally, my body has been destroyed from the amounts of stress.

I tired and have nothing left inside, there is no spark left. Still trying to find and ask questions why me? I know they will never be answered, but you still ask and the what if questions constantly replay over and over in your mind. I feel like I just want to have a breakdown, time out, but wherever I go it follows. I can spend days awake. I see so much hurt and pain out there from what these people have done.

The abuse of alcohol and drugs seem to go hand in hand with child sex abuse, anything to deal with the pain of the reality. Again, over the years, diet and exercise help, though those that know the depression know how hard it is to get moving, let alone exercise and not forgetting to take your medication.

The frustration of not finding help is extremely hard. The right help with the knowledge of childhood trauma is a must, but there is no one that I can find; even after years of searching. I have phoned all the institutions and they have not been able to help, and in some cases have made it worse.

The most respect I got was recently when my GP asked the mental health to check on me as I hadn’t been well for some time. They came into the house and sat down on the couch and asked some basic background questions. I stopped them there and went and got the medical reports and gave it to them to read. There were three of them; a supervisor, a psychologist and a trainee and she read it as tears rolled down her cheek and the supervisor got up and just said ‘this is out of our league, what we can do is make sure you have enough medication’, then handed me back the paper work, within the conversation they organised medication and that was the best thing they could of done for me. I felt that they showed me the greatest amount of respect that I have seen in a long time. They didn’t make excuses or try to fix something they couldn’t, it was just what can we do for you for right now.

I am writing a book, If I ever finish it. What happens when you find yourself in a deeper depression in a darker place than what anyone has experienced? This is what I found with the institution’s dealing with depression, anxiety etc

How it has best been explained to me is if you can imagine cptsd is the mother of them all, sits on top then you have everything else that branches off under that, just like a pyramid scheme diagram.

  • Anxiety

  • Major Depression

  • Disassociation

  • HyperVigilance

  • Hyperarousal

  • Audio & Visual Hallucinations

  • Over Stimulation

  • Intense Rage Outbursts

  • Suicidal Ideation

  • Nightmares

  • Insomnia

  • Attention Deficit

  • Paranoia

  • Self Mutilation

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD; also known as complex trauma) is a psychological disorder similar to post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) which results from repetitive, prolonged trauma involving harm or abandonment by a caregiver or other interpersonal relationships with an uneven power dynamic. C-PTSD is associated with child abuse or neglect, intimate partner violence, kidnap victims, hostages, indentured servants, slaves, sweatshop workers, prisoners of war, concentration camp survivors, and defectors of cults or cult-like organizations.

Situations involving captivity/entrapment (a situation lacking a viable escape route for the victim or a perception of such) can lead to C-PTSD-like symptoms, which include prolonged feelings of terror, worthlessness, helplessness, and deformation of one's identity and sense of self.

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