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Complex PTSD - please help :’(

T

tentgirl

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I really need help. I am so alone and not coping and I can't see my way out of this trap.

I have Complex PTSD which has impacted on emotion regulation, chronic low self-esteem, disassociation, etc. Basically my life is messed up as well as how I perceive myself, etc. Although I also have anorexia and OCD, there seems to be little way to regulate my destructive behaviours which I know is meant to be done before confronting the various traumas and then rebuilding my life again.

Complex PTSD seems like such a specific problem and its treatment is different to other MH issues. I feel so alone and don't know if I can get out of where I am.

Please help. Can't do this any more :’( :’(

Sarah Xx
 
catkin

catkin

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Hi Sarah
I have been diagnosed with BPD but told prob also complex ptsd altho unable to talk about it enough for them to diagnose. But the symptoms you describe here are what I struggle with, and imagine others do too. I hope that you don't feel isolated by the label of c-ptsd? You can be helped, am sure of that.
I'm not in a good place myself so am sorry not to be of help but just wanted to reply to say you aren't alone and that we have to hope that things get better than now. It's a long road, wish it wasn't. xx
 
T

tentgirl

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Thank you Catkin. For me, I don't feel isolated as it was helpful to read about c-ptsd and realise how I fulfilled all the criteria and that there was a reason for the way my head is. It seems even more complicated than non-complex Ptsd in terms of NICE treatment guidelines cos on the effect on our development as people, etc and how so much work has to be done even before getting to talking about THE issues. I too can't talk about the traumas but it doesn't stop the flashbacks, etc.

Sorry to hear that you're in a bad place. Please know that I am here for you too and thanks for reaching out

Sarah Xx
 
pentagram

pentagram

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Hi SarahMc, I too have c-ptsd, with dissociation and other problems. I don't know what to say about finding treatment for your problems but only for my own version of this. I have had cbt, have a circle of therapists and am trying my best to overcome this but I keep slipping back into the past with very painful flashbacks. I thought I was brain damaged but my latist therapist (psychiatrist) reckons I must have a very strong mind to have been able to actually survive through my long (40 years ) torment. I suppose it is a compliment to hear that I have a done well to survive till now, but I don't really see it that way. One of my closest friends revealed to me only a year ago that she was amazed that I was still alive after going through my experiences, as a weaker person may not have, another strange compliment.

I have tried to confront my traumas head on but this is not the right approach as I just get stuck in it. and despite what they say about the flashbacks 'not really happening now' and all in the past, my own flashbacks are so physically painful that I can feel the electric shocks wracking through me, I know that I need to get through these to find my way to the other side.

My therapists often ask me what my perfect future would be, my goals of treatment, I only have 2, and those are to have peace in my mind and body, the problem for me at the moment is that I can only see one way of getting that.

I need help from others to give me another way. I am just trying to find the way out with various treatments. I have found aromatherapy massage is good for my body, and Reiki somehow helps my mind, and am going to go on bothering the NHS mental people until I get the help I need.

I can't do it on my own.
 
Gajolene

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PTSD seems very unspecific to me as it encompasses so many area's of health, mind, spirit and body. The parts are connected and all part of the PTSD, forcing oneself to work on only one area before another I really think is near impossible. Have you recovered all your trauma memories and not just like seeing them play out in a movie or a book, all the emotional memories? I found once my subconscous mind was strong enough it allowed myself to remember the emotional memories. At the time even though it was terrifying, I thought I was going crazy, would never get better ect. all the symptoms or other conditions with my physical health and mental health seemed so very different when in fact they were all interconnected.
Once I realized that it all became clear and made scense. Only then when the emotional connections were reached was I able to trully begin recovery. There was no one thing, then the next, methodically planned out, or schedules by docs and therapists, it was my mind going willingly into the gateway, into that intensely emotional and behavoural roller coaster, remembering it all, contantly twisting, turning, so many ups and downs. It was true acceptance of myself in whole including all the bits I had locked away. It wasn't just therapy that brought me into recovery. It was accepting what the trauma's had done to me throughout life, how they had affected my growth and development into adulthood, how much destruction it had caused in my life. I trully felt all that pent up fear, anger, courage, resentment, hope that I had been suppressed or that had been kept from me, all that love, so many emotions and for so so long. Seeing them for what they really were, I allowed myself to feel just how monsterously intense those emotions are. They seemed at the time of flashbacks, night terrors, and remembering so overwhelming, insurmountable, confusing. A million peice jizsaw puzzle that I couldn't put together.
It took about 15 years for me to have full recall , and realize the ways in which my life had been affected. The flashbacks/night terrors do settle down and subside with the more you learn and understand in time, no matter how much time that is. Just take it in baby steps, even if it's years of baby steps.
It is so scary to remember, but the flashbacks are a sign of healing, that your conscious mind is ready and strong and brave enough to accept the truth. A sign of the reality, and that you carry within you, that beautiful person you trully are, were meant to be and deserve to be.
We are all uniquely different, with PTSD we have many different symptoms related to that PTSD and heal differently. Just work on what you can when you can, with and without your therapists help. Try to remember and keep reminding yourself you WANT to be well and healthy, in mind, in spirit, in body. When one area gets too overwhelming, switch to another area, I really don't think there is any one particular set of rules we have to follow in recovery, as long as those area's aren't life threatening. If there ARE trully life threatening areas, you must keep recovery in those area's at the top of the list of things you actively work on, while you switch the other less severe symptoms, more often.
You will find that you can accomplish so much by taking the pressure off yourself, just accepting, being patient with yourself, giving yourself love and knowing things will get better in time.
Good luck, wishing you well, hope this helps
 
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T

tentgirl

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Thank you for your comments and I am so sorry to hear that you too have gone through traumas. I have always been aware that I've gone through four different types of trauma - one being prolonged over a few years - but believed that, on top of this, that I was also a freak. I would see people around me appear to be normal whilst I have had always had the sense of being different and disconnected. Looking back now, it does explain how I have warped sense of myself, etc. You're right that you can't separate the various elements of c-ptsd and this then scares me cos I don't feel safe to tackle the immediate issue of anorexia with the fear that THE issues will arise. I have to say that I have incredible support on the NHS and my CPN phoned my psychologist the other day about the c-ptsd and how they need to rethink my treatment plan.

I am reassured that to have an explanation of my decades of difficulties ..... But I am now sat here thinking about, almost grieving, about the person I could have been. What if I hadn't gone through the traumas? How might I have been? Suddenly so sad :’(
 
Sweet

Sweet

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Just a suggestion of what has been helping me. I am writing out my crappy childhood like a book. It is so hard and I cry and type and it feels like reliving it again. Im also typing out stuff I dont even remember until I remember it typing if that makes sense. i actually am feeling a bit better. even my nightmares seem to be easing off. It might help you guys too but is bleeping hard. luv Sweet
 
pentagram

pentagram

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I agree with you Sweet, I am writing my book and it does help even though it is also painful. I hope it doesn't take me another 15 years to get right in the head though cos I'll be 75 by then and too old and knackered to enjoy my peace.
 
Gajolene

Gajolene

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I went through so many phases during my flashbacks, whether I wrote them out or not the memories just kept coming. The journalising helped me connect lost and forgotten emotions though. As you said remembering initially was very painful and so overwhelming, triggering instant panic and unimaginable stomach cramps, and yes annorexia too at the time. When I connected to my inner child finally and felt all the emotions she had experienced all she was neglected of the anger and sense that I wanted justice for her took over. At first I just grieved, months and months of insessant greiving and self pity, self loathing for not being stronger ect. I cried seemingly forever, totally exhausted from the stress and strain of remembering. From there I hit the ackowledgement phase as I call it. Calling up family, insisting they tell me all they knew, what they hadn't told me wanting them to know what I went through. That didn't go well at all. Then the anger hit, I lashed out at so many in defensive mode for that poor scared little girl. Determined to give her recognition and justice. Let's say I lost several friends and family members during that time. The peices of the puzzle still coming together but not quite and still quite lost. When I stopped being angry the rationalising stage hit. The hows and whys of how life had gone wrong, at the different stages growing up and through the trauma's. I did all of this alone without a mental health team involved. I had become a survivor rather than a victim. I researched my illness endlessly with several misdiagnoses at the time from regular doctors. Still calling relapses "nervous breakdown's" The internet was still relatively new at the time so most of my research was at the library. When I finally came across PTSD in the medical journal's and emailing doctors and professors directly all over the world I was so relieved to finally have a name to my condition. The majority of doc's didn't believe in PTSD at the time so this was over 7 yrs for this taking place.
My journals were invaluable to me, sometimes just plain emotional venting and even though while writing, emotions may have been misplaced, in rereading those journals it helped me to find where the rightfull places for those emotions were. I became more and more able to feel those emotions without it being cataclismal, the flashbacks lessened, the emotions became more manageable.
The little girl I visualized being carried next to my heart rather than being imprissoned and forced silent in my subconcious, and that now being carried next to my heart she was loved, cherished, protected rather than hidden away, vindicated, and given courage and hope. She could cry, scream, be angry, ask for attention and reach out and would always be heard and cared for. I don't know it may sound weird to people and hard to relate to. But it really helped in my healing process. The idea of EMDR terrifies me but in actual fact I did do that myself through sharing, talking about it and journaizing I hope this helps
 
T

tentgirl

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Thank you for your comments above. I had heard of PTSD but not c-PTSD so it's been a long learning journey.

Does anyone have problems with dissociation? It's been increasingly more and more of a problem where I am not sure if I am actually where I meant to be. For the past two days, including when I've been at two separate CMHCs, I've been so disconnected from reality, as in completely unsure of whether I am even awake or asleep. I know that it falls under symptoms of this MH issue but it would really help to know if I am alone here. Very scared :’(

Xx
 
pentagram

pentagram

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You are not alone. I have huge problems with dissociation. I dissociated to save myself pain during my traumas, but this has lead me to experiencing all sorts of problems with what is a true memory and what is false.
I dissociated to survive, but now I dissociate just cos it is a habit I have got into.
Because my mind was not connected to my body things happen which make me question what is going on. I am only at my peace when I am fully connected.
 
T

tentgirl

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pentagram:489063 said:
You are not alone. I have huge problems with dissociation. I dissociated to save myself pain during my traumas, but this has lead me to experiencing all sorts of problems with what is a true memory and what is false.
I dissociated to survive, but now I dissociate just cos it is a habit I have got into.
Because my mind was not connected to my body things happen which make me question what is going on. I am only at my peace when I am fully connected.
Hiya

Whilst I wouldn't want anyone gjadwtm experience this, it is, in some ways, reassuring to know that it's not just me. At one appointment this week, I was sitting telling the psych that I didn't know if I was really there and it's so scary. Yes, it's like living in a trance and, yes, for me too, there have been times during the traumas that I had to move myself psychologically from the situation in order to protect myself but for it to happen unintentionally means that I am not in control.

Can I ask if you've found anything that helps? I know about grounding techniques and I find that by naming ten objects around me brings me back into the here and now but never for very long.

Thanks
Sarah x
 
pentagram

pentagram

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Hi Sarah, over the years I have found a few things that I am both very good at and very focused on and happy doing them. These are driving, rockclimbing/mountaineering and my work. I work in the countryside building dry stone walls, not in gardens often but out in the hills and mountains. I was always confused as to why these 3 things made me feel good, whereas being with people, in shops, on public transport, in offices, queues,hospitals, at parties and such always leaves me distracted.

Now I have found out about dissociation and had it explained to me that that is what I have been doing, I have been sort of studying my dissociations from the side looking in. I see that these 3 activities are when my mind and my body are working in unison, I can't daydream doing any of them, I am living in the NOW whenever I do them.

But shove me in any situation where I don't have to be where I am at and I am off. I learnt to do this way before my actual trauma having been brought up in an extremist religious household where to be gay had to be hidden at all times. My parents thought I was around cos my body was there, but in fact I (my mind) wasn't. When the trauma of my electric shock treatment got too much I readily dissociated to escape. That seemed a good idea at the time but unfortunately I seem to have brought back a false memory which I believed in and lived my subsequent life by

I once went on a Shamanic journeying course and amazed the tutor in my ability to readily have journeys. But if these journeys are analysed they can be seen as moments when 'I am out of body'. I quite like the idea of Shamanic studies but I had to stop as on another course I journeyed back into my trauma and scared myself and ended up sat in a roomful of people crying and shaking, without really being able to explain to them why I was like that. They were very supportive but now I am scared to do too much meditation type things for fear of returning once more.

My grounding techniques used during therapy are to give my T a list of mountains I have been up and get me to imagine walking up them, this usually brings me back to reality.

Trouble I find is getting back to 'NOW' when I am on my own in a 'stress' situation, when I am dissociating but not aware of it till later.

I am not sure whether that all makes sense, I hope it does.
 
T

tentgirl

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pentagram:489230 said:
My grounding techniques used during therapy are to give my T a list of mountains I have been up and get me to imagine walking up them, this usually brings me back to reality.

Trouble I find is getting back to 'NOW' when I am on my own in a 'stress' situation, when I am dissociating but not aware of it till later.

I am not sure whether that all makes sense, I hope it does.
Thank you. It does make sense and I am so sorry to hear what you've gone through. I use a similar grounding technique in that I list five objects in the room that I am in. When I go to one of my MH centres, I have to look at all the leaflets and posters on display in the waiting room and go through the alphabet to find each letter on display. I was in group therapy on Wednesday and ended tearful as I didn't know whether I was there or if I was dreaming. It was scary. I feel like I am walking in a bubble and there's a physical barrier between me and everything else. I guess that bubble has kept me mentally safe in the past when I've had to convince myself that I am not there when stuff happened :’(

Hate this feeling. Just want to connect with life again and not sure if I'll ever get there. I wonder what I would have been like personality and confidence-wise if things hadn't happened to me. Really sad :’( Xx
 
L

Luna Looney

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Have you tried eye movement desensitisation? I was taught Emotional Freedom Technique and it is helping me. The psychologist said i could not have EMDR because i have too many traumatising events and it would overwhelm me too much, i guess you are the same?

It is a long road to recovery, but we will get there. I also have a mood disorder that i had before the trauma. It was hell, triggered my mood left right and centre. Fucking awful.
 
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