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Topics - Candid

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General Outreach & Advocacy / Letter to a therapist
« on: September 24, 2017, 12:08:36 PM »
Dear Therapist

I am so very disappointed, frustrated and fearful of what will happen next since being discharged from the Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service because I haven’t got PTSD.  I know I haven’t got PTSD; I have Complex PTSD.  I am now seriously ill due to insomnia that has become acute since my return to England a little over a year ago, and am beginning to experience physical effects.

I regret not making a copy of the trauma tick-box list I brought to you when we met last month.  Please have it sent to me -- or, if it has been destroyed, a new copy which I will complete again.  I expected to be able to elaborate on the traumatic incidents identified, and will do so in writing if -- as it presently seems -- no one is prepared to listen.

The first paragraph of your letter dated 11/9/17 indicates that I was referred to the Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service in March 2017.  I had requested referral seven months earlier (31/8/16) when I attended Doctors' Surgery.  Dr Name1 had not heard of Complex PTSD but showed an interest and said he would research it. 

On 17/1/17 I took a call from a woman at Common Point of Entry asking whether I still wanted a referral.  I had already seen a BTSS pamphlet that made me hesitant, because it mentioned PTSD-simple only.  I did not want to wait eight months, which the caller said would be the case, only to be told: “You haven’t got PTSD.”  The woman assured me the BTSS was familiar with Complex PTSD and knew how to treat it.

Complex PTSD
It is an indictment of the psychiatric-medical establishment that so very few practitioners know what Complex PTSD is.  Perhaps it would be better spoken of as Attachment Trauma, which is widely acknowledged and understood -- but it isn’t.  The chief difficulty seems to lie in what I call the Motherhood Myth: All mothers love their children.  This widespread myth is immensely damaging to those of us whose mothers clearly resented us -- in my case because, as she frequently told me, I “should have been a boy”.  She already had a girl: my elder sister who was declared ‘the sick one’ (munchausens by proxy) and has been ‘ill’ all her life, finally retreating into bipolar more than two decades ago.  My last therapist, Name2 and email, asked me whether I realised my mother “was a very sick woman”.  I remain uncertain of that.

All medical professionals but certainly the psychological community ought to know about Harry Harlow’s cruel experiments in the 1950s with baby rhesus monkeys.  They should also be aware that humans are the only mammals in which the fully formed head cannot pass through the vagina, so that the infant brain is continuing to develop until about three years old.  During that first three years, a mother’s interactions with her baby wire him up for life.  If she delights in her infant, encourages him, mirrors facial expressions, talks in coochy-coo voices -- in short, adores everything about him -- he will grow up knowing he is both valued and lovable. This is the foundation of self-esteem and confidence, the safe harbour that inoculates him against all life’s tribulations.

Conversely, a mother who resents her child will handle him roughly, not talk to him, be irritated by his baby gurglings, and physically leave the room or even the house because she can’t stand his crying. 

Unloved babies have infinitely more to cry about than mere hunger or wet nappies.

If all this is new to you, please see
DIANE LANGBERG Complex Trauma: Understanding and Treatment
“Complex Trauma involves multiple, repetitive, chronic stressors.”


PETE WALKER website and book CPTSD: From Surviving to Thriving

BESSEL VAN DER KOLK The Body Keeps The Score

First memory
I was sitting on a potty in the living room.  Mother had been gone for some time.  I could hear her doing something in the kitchen.  I had long finished and the potty had become uncomfortable.  If I called out, she would be angry.  If I got up and retrieved my own pants, she might be as pleased with me as she always seemed to be with my big sister.  I struggled to stand.  There was a willy guard.  The potty came up with me then fell back, spilling my urine.  I started to cry.  Mother rushed in, shouted YOU BAD GIRL! and slapped my bare buttocks.  I was pre-verbal.

PTSD-simple typically involves traumatic incidents which may or may not be interpersonal. Complex PTSD is a whole life in which one trauma leads to another, and early self-abdication is the only way to survive.  Hide whenever possible and keep quiet; to be seen or heard is to be in trouble.  Do not exist. Do not stand up for yourself.  Do what everyone tells you to do.  Never express a need.  You don’t matter.  Above all, placate Mother -- and go on hoping to win her over one day, for the rest of your life.

Why now?
I asked for help from Dr Name3 of Doctors' Surgery on 23/8/16.  Since then I’ve been ‘assessed’ five times -- by Name4 of CPE on 26/9/16; by the representative of BTSS on 17/1/17; by Name5 of CPE on 24/1/17; by a psychiatrist who called me (on a bad line and with a heavy accent) on 25/1/17; and finally by you last month. 

I’ve had more than 40 addresses in my 61 years and have had intermittent psychological interventions since I was 26.  Until mid-2015 I had always managed to battle on, chiefly on my own, by keeping busy.  When my industry (the print media) collapsed in the Technological Revolution, and at 55 I failed to find other work, I signed up to university.

On 4/6/15 I found my father’s death notice on line around 2am, when there was no one to call.  There was no one to call anyway.  I had not seen my father for more than 15 years, because he and my mother were a package deal. I was never able to tell him about her covert abuse (ie. when no one else was present).  He could see no wrong in her, but from time to time he would call me to talk -- until he developed alzheimers about six years ago.  Knowing I would never hear from him again, I occasionally put his full name into google at the end of a computer session at home.

He had been dead for six weeks when I found out, and no one had told me.  I am now almost universally despised by the extended family as well as by my siblings. My elder sister and our brother had finally abandoned me in January 2013 when the family’s black sheep was once again homeless, unemployed, alone, and drinking too much.  I understand that maintaining contact with me simply got too burdensome for them.

On 17/9/15 I fell off my pushbike going downhill at speed while intoxicated.  I was in and out of hospital for the next five months: the initial admission to assess the damage; reconstructive surgery for a compound zygomatic fracture three weeks later; and finally two spells in the psych ward where I was misdiagnosed with schizo-affective disorder. Recovery from brain injury requires plenty of sleep; Townsville (Australia) psych ward carried out ‘suicide watch’ every half an hour through the night.  CPTSD means I am hypervigilant; no one can enter my room without waking me.  My sleep issue since teen years became acute while enforced medication with an anti-psychotic was disastrous.

I had to abandon university in the third year of my degree, and I no longer had the nerve to ride my bike -- my only transport in tropical Australia where almost everyone drove a car, and buses were unreliable.  My husband brought me to England where I am now confronting a lifetime of apparently irreparable mistakes.

I need help to make sense of my life, to have a coherent narrative. I need to be heard.

What can we do for you?
I’ve been asked this question many times in the past year -- by doctors Name6 and Name7 who prescribed anti-depressants Paroxetine and Sertraline respectively; by psychiatrist Name6 and a doctor from Doctors' Surgery who prescribed Zolpidem and Zopiclone respectively; and by Dr Name8 at Doctors' Surgery who saw me on 24/8/17 when I was highly disinhibited having lain awake for several consecutive nights. I told her I wasn’t there for more pills, but that I believed I couldn’t last much longer and wanted my decline on record.  I didn’t and still don’t want to die without resolution.

What’s needed is acknowledgment and validation, for someone to see and hear me before I die. This I have received from Name9 of Mental Health Organisation, which offers 12 free sessions of support; and from Name10 of the Acquired Brain Injury Charity, with whom I did a 12-week course in living with brain injury.  I have not attempted to go into the emotions of my “multiple, repetitive, chronic stressors” with Name9, because she and I meet in coffee shops and clearly don’t have the time, the venue or the experience to deal with the fallout. Nor can I ask for help from Name10, who has already written a referral letter ‘to whom it may concern’ about the unlikelihood of me being employed in my present condition. I am in any case an impostor at ABIC, because the symptoms of acute insomnia are identical to those of acquired brain injury.  The only difference is that the latter improves over time.

What I have received is dismissal from the BTSS.  Offers of ‘anxiety management’ miss the point, as do the hundreds of offers (most recently from Dr Name8 at Doctors' Surgery) of a printed ‘sleep hygiene’ list.

To say that my family of origin was “not supportive” (your second paragraph) is grossly misleading.  My mother alone, and the contempt I lived with until the last of my family turned their backs, accounts for the traumatic aspect of everything I ticked on the list. 

In your fourth paragraph, Ms Candid “has not noticed a therapeutic effect” from Zolpidem, a sleeping tablet.  What Ms Candid has noticed is that a double dose of Zolpidem -- declared dangerous by the Doctors' Surgery doctor who prescribed Zopiclone as a replacement -- may (or may not) lead to a few hours of sleep before I come staring awake, often before midnight, and then am awake at least until the next night and the next desperate attempt, while scrupulously observing all the rules of ‘sleep hygiene’.

In your fifth paragraph, Ms Candid “believes that others do not want to hear about her difficulties”.  Certainly no blood relative wants to hear it! For decades I have known better than to talk to friends or co-workers about Complex PTSD.  People unversed in the subject and who had good-enough parenting simply can’t understand.  At best they are uncomfortable and immediately want to change the subject; at worst they respond with minimisation, ridicule, or shunning. One continues to hope for better from therapists.

I am highly unlikely to be able to stop “ruminating”, mentioned more than once in your letter, while “multiple, repetitive, chronic stressors” remain unaddressed. Trauma demands to be heard.  For most people, any adverse experience can be a learning opportunity.  We immediately consider how we contributed to what happened. We continue searching until we discover what we did wrong. We learn and grow as a result.

People with Complex PTSD go through this process perpetually without ever reaching resolution. We conclude that what we did wrong was being born. We are suspicious, even paranoid. We avoid unsafe human contact, which increasingly means everyone because the penalty for trying to talk is almost universally harsh. We know from birth that when we cry out in distress, either an abuser will come -- or no one.

“You can’t have any form of PTSD.  Where are the flashbacks?”
Example 1
As far as I recall, I’ve had only one visual and auditory flashback in my life.  I was at work on Monday 6/10/75 when I found myself once again in the car on Friday night 3/10/75 with a man [graphic detail deleted here].  I was trapped with him in his car for five hours.

An affianced couple, of whom the woman was a co-worker, had taken me to a party at the home this man shared with his wife and infant son.  I had been reluctant to accept their spontaneous invitation, but my mother insisted I go out.  We walked into a flat full of rowdy drunks.  My ‘friends’ left without telling me.  I knew no one else there.  The man told me not to worry, he would drive me home.  I said my parents’ home was just around the corner, finished my drink, and tried to leave.

He cut me off at the front door, gripped my arm, and snarled: “I said I’d take you.”  My upbringing had taught me I must never give offence -- to anyone.  Outside, it didn’t even occur to me to get away instead of allowing him to escort me, still holding my arm, to the passenger seat.  That would be rude.

He drove straight past the end of the street where my parents lived.

At one stage I could have kicked out the passenger window.  That would cause damage. I could also have blasted the car horn.  That would disturb people in the darkened nearby houses.

He dropped me outside my parents’ home as the sun was coming up.  I crept in so as not to disturb the family.  My father came out of my parents’ bedroom as I reached the adjacent bathroom.  He said: “One of these days, young lady, you’re going to get yourself raped.”  I had a small cut on my nose, I had lost an earring, and the very high heel of one of my boots had snapped off so I was limping. 

I said: “Goodnight, Dad” and went into the bathroom.

Following the flashback, my line manager told me to go home.  Mother was alone, demanding to know why I was there.  I told her I was ill and went to bed.  She pursued me, demanding to know what was wrong with me.  She persisted until I was forced to tell her: “Mama, I was raped on Friday night.”

After a moment’s hesitation she said: “Oh Candid, you couldn’t have been raped, not with those marks on your neck” -- and left the room, never to raise the subject again. The implication was that the bruises from the rapist’s fingers were ‘love bites’. 

It was seven years before a boyfriend insisted I see a rape crisis counsellor, my introduction (at 26) to talk therapy.  Name11 gradually revealed what she had identified in the initial interview -- and after six weeks I was discharged, having ‘lost’ my mother.

Example 2
For eight years after fleeing my violent first husband (at 28), I had repeated nightmares of being trapped alone with him.  During the five months we were married he had given me a permanent neck injury, as a result of which I continued to suffer regular debilitating headaches.  On one occasion he pinned me to the bed with his knee, holding a broken bottle in my face and telling me he was going to damage me in such a way that no man would ever want me again.   The nightmares stopped when I learned he had divorced me years earlier, and I no longer feared that he was still looking for me.

Example 3
I continue to think regularly of the ‘family mediation’ held in Frankston (Australia) on 21/10/91.  I had organised it, and went there believing my family would finally hear me and acknowledge me in front of witnesses.  There were two mediators: a man who performed the introductions and said he would be representing the family while the female mediator would be representing me.  I had not considered that my mother, when contacted by the mediation centre, would shift the agenda from my hope of being accepted to an adversarial trial.  She finally moved from covert to overt abuse that day; significantly, both siblings later indicated that they hadn’t noticed. The mediation, which we were told usually took an hour or at the most two, ran from 10am to about 5pm, at which point I was exhausted and said what I had to say -- ie. I capitulated -- in order to get out of that room.  It was an echo of the rape, in which I resisted but did not defend myself in any way for hours before I gave in.

This event, when I was 35, turned my brunette hair completely white long before I saw my second therapist a few months later.  It eclipses everything else I’ve been through, desensitises me to lesser traumas.  Apart from my hair and the recent effects on my face of gross stress, people continue to perceive me as both younger and far less troubled than I am.   I’ve got very good at acting -- so good that whereas I used to be the Real Me in sleep at least, I am now estranged even from myself.

This, by far the most traumatic day of my life, was briefly referred to at the end of your “family was not supportive” paragraph. 

I want to make it clear I am not criticising you or any of the practitioners identified in this account, all of whom are well-intentioned people doing their job: reducing the number of people eligible for help from the overburdened NHS.   I am, however, very frustrated that after I’d waited more than a year for help, had been assured that Complex PTSD was within the BTSS remit, and had steadily deteriorated both mentally and physically, Complex PTSD was not once mentioned in your letter advising that “Ms Candid will therefore be discharged from Berkshire Traumatic Stress Service”.

My gratitude goes to Name9 and Name1, both of whom acknowledged ignorance of CPTSD, both of whom were willing to research it.  It is my sincere hope in writing this letter that practitioners in a self-declared traumatic stress service will consider it worthwhile to do the same.

Yours sincerely,

Introductory Post / MOVED: Men and therapy
« on: September 08, 2017, 07:17:13 AM »

Neglect/Abandonment / FOO 'in' jokes
« on: September 01, 2017, 05:34:21 AM »
My parents often talked about their early married life in a caravan.  They got back from a walk one day and realised they'd left the window open; ElderSis was covered in snow.  It invariably ended: "And she's never been the same since."

I came three years later, and she's always been the same to me.  In Four-F typology it's hardly surprising she's a Freeze.  She looks a good 10 years younger than I do.  We ran into someone she knew on the street, who insisted on guessing who was older.  I said: We're the sister who smoked and the sister who didn't smoke. (From an old anti-smoking ad.)  ElderSis said: No, we're the sister who lived and the sister who didn't live.  She never said a truer word.

One of my dad's jokes was that they were going to move house while I was at school.  I'd had four addresses by the time I turned 10, so this seemed quite feasible.  Enough for me to have nightmares about it, anyway.

There was a time, when I was around 10-12, that my father told me he'd give me a sixpence at the end of any week when I didn't cry.  It was then Mother's and ElderSis's job to make sure I didn't get the sixpence.  Not once! 

To this day, I hide myself to cry.  And then, when I do so, I 'see' ElderSis screwing up her face and going: "Waaaah!" at me.

General Discussion / The pre-emptive smear campaign
« on: August 14, 2017, 08:55:29 AM »
This post has been moved from Blueberry's Loyalty thread. I set out to demonstrate that I understood her situation -- and discovered I had a lot to get off my chest. How come I have no FOO and precious few extended family members? Here's why:

Mother and one sister smear-campaign pre-emptively, ie. telling whoppers to anyone they think I might talk to about them. As one hideous example out of many, I reconnected with an aunt (Mother's sister) when I returned to my birthplace from Australia. Blow me, almost the first thing out of Aunt's mouth was: "[Mother] doesn't know why you're not talking to them. She thinks it's because they took you out of [the school I attended in England until we migrated]."

I was floored. Speechless. Flabbergasted.

I had gone NC with Mother (and by extension, my dad) right after The Most Horrible Event -- the so-called 'mediation' that turned my hair white in a matter of weeks. There'd been no mention that day of our migration 22 years earlier, much less of my old school. Migration was indeed a traumatic time for me, losing familiar town, extended family, friends, pets... but even at 13 I knew it was what my father considered best for the family. Desperately homesick as I was, I never made a murmur about something my parents, my elder sister and I were all going through at the same time.

In order to preserve her reputation, Mother had chosen to make me look like a petty, grudge-holding, spoiled brat. I was over 40 and had a good career when, having heard I was going back to the town where Aunt lived, she came up with this 'theory'. The Most Horrible Event had occurred when I was 35. I can still get steamed up  :pissed: knowing this kind of thing has been spread around the extended family -- and that they believe it. Of course they do. Mother started letting them know I was "difficult" before I could speak. Poor Mother, she's had so much to contend with, and all of it came from me.

I've never once talked smack about any family member. I've never defended myself. After Aunt's bombshell I said: "Mother knows exactly what she did" and left it at that. It was a miracle I could say anything at all.

I'm convinced nothing I can say or do will redeem this caricature of me in the minds of extended family members.  The mircale is I no longer care. Fawning is horrible, makes matters worse. I no longer approach them, but if they approach me they get the current version: largely healed since NC with all FOO. It wouldn't have been my choice, but that's how it is -- and I now see it was a good thing.

All three of my siblings came to me when they hit a crisis

Elder Sis was first, and I can see I was the only person she could have come to. As teenagers we were best friends as well as sisters, and I know there's still a lot of love between us. She abandoned me for her own mental health when I was at my lowest ebb.

Younger Sis was next. She cost me time off work and money I couldn't afford, then dumped me as soon as her trouble was sorted out. Her subsequent collaboration with Mother led to my first psych hospital admission.  (She managed the second on her own, and via the internet.)

GCbro came last. He was still living with our parents and I was at the other end of Australia. I'd flown to their city for his 21st party, after which he told me he was gay. For about a year afterwards I put two letters (no email back then) in each envelope to him: one he could show Mother (because he had to :roll:) and one acknowledging his excitement over each new potential mate he was meeting. "The two clever ones" had a great relationship until my last contact with him, which hurt and saddened me. I had the gall to say so in writing, and he promptly dropped me as well,

Where I am today

It's taken me a very long time to deal with this, squirming when new contacts want to know about family. I know how to handle that now. I know where all FOO members are and, broadly speaking, what they're doing. Most people stop at that. If it goes further, I'm happy to say I haven't seen Whoever for years. The final line, if necessary, is "I'm not comfortable talking about this" -- and I can sit through the silence that follows. Anyone who pushed the point would be crossing the line into the red zone; hasn't happened yet and seems unlikely, but would definitely and the friendship.

Sticking to the facts is the key.

I've always loved all my FOO members and I always will.  Dad is gone. He was more of a support to me than the others knew. Mother and Younger Sis ... I can genuinely wish them well now with the hideous problems they have.  No longer any anger whatsoever towards ElderSis and GCbro. I was homeless, jobless and entirely on my own when they stopped contacting me, and I went into the too-hard basket. After all, they grew up in the same dysfunctional family as I did.

This sounds sad, but isn't. I can love from a distance and it feels so much better than the grief and rage I carried for so long. I still get sad and angry, but I can self-soothe out of it. Distance is another major key. I needed a lot of geographical distance, was always on the run and made a mess of people's address books (they told me so). I don't let myself dwell on the harm that did to career, finances and relationships; I had a lot of adventures. Getting right away from FOO helped a lot, but a far bigger factor was distancing them in my head. If there's any interest in that I'll elaborate, but this post is already too long.

Pre-emptive smear campaigning started early for a lot of us, and I know how damned hard it is to shut it out while we're struggling with self-esteem.  I want people to know it isn't the life sentence it seems.

Family of Origin (FOO) / MOVED: Book about boundaries
« on: August 14, 2017, 04:21:24 AM »
This topic has been moved to Books and Articles.

Having an Exceptionally Difficult Day / MOVED: At the edge
« on: August 02, 2017, 08:37:34 AM »
This topic has been moved to Suicide Ideation/Self Harm.

General Discussion / Hope for UK members
« on: July 30, 2017, 10:33:46 AM » gives a succinct definition of PTSD then moves straight into CPTSD: what it is, what causes it, what treatments are available. Includes a chunk on misdiagnosis with BPD.  :thumbup:

Good to see this in the UK, posted just a couple of months ago. Things are moving! :yahoo:

I'm about to undertake some investigation and will update.

Suicide Ideation/Self Harm / Here I am again
« on: June 10, 2017, 08:20:04 AM »
Drowning in quicksand. Tired of struggling to keep myself afloat. Not a glimmer of light on the horizon. Self-care is meaningless. I don't even want to feel better. Smoking too much and drinking one coffee after another to stop myself screaming for all eternity.

I'm not going to the crisis team this time.  I did that a few weeks ago and I know where it leads. Rah-rah suggestions and medication. I am on my third week of an anti-D I've taken before and it's one of those that knocks you down to start with. The psychiatric world will never admit there are some things that can't be medicated. Lots of things.

I need a miracle now. I wonder what that would look like.

I still don't understand and probably never will, but I'd like others' opinions on why she was the way she was and treated me the way she did.

NPD doesn't really fit. I've seen that checklist that starts "Everything she does is deniable" and ticked a lot of boxes, but if she had NPD wouldn't someone else have seen it?

You see, I was her scapegoat. The impression I get is that she's always been Modesty and Sweetness themselves to everyone but me.

I could see this when I was a child. I thought my mother the epitome of goodness and beauty, even though she gave every appearance of not liking me. That has run my life: everyone in the world deserves my mother's kindness and smiles, but I don't. For some reason this made me more clingy than other children. I was constantly trying and failing to win her approval.

She did nice things sometimes. That adds to the confusion. The mix, and hearing from everyeffingwhere else what a kind and wonderful mother I have, has seriously messed me about to the point of questioning my own perceptions.

Some other things she did:

1. She decided my elder sister was an invalid, and loved to play nurse. Sister herself took this on board and has done literally nothing with her life other than take care of herself. She's never had a job interview or paid rent. She's never travelled. Ultimately she decided she was bi-polar and takes medications (several of) accordingly; she refers to her partner as "my carer". She eats weird, because there are all sorts of basic things she "can't" eat.

I was in my 40s when a cousin asked me why my parents always pretended elder sis was ill. It was such a lightbulb for me, because I'd swallowed it as well. Oh, and whenever I was ill, I got sent to school regardless. :roll:

2. She made it clear to all of us that what she wanted was a boy to go with the girl she already had, making me and younger sister superfluous. Younger sister went through a rough patch in her late teens, I supported her, and we started to put our heads together as to what was wrong with us. At that point M deliberately stirred up trouble between us, backed my sister and became more overt in her hateful behaviour towards me. There were never any witnesses. This was when I first became aware of her smear campaigns.

3. She did the push-pull thing, which I saw on the list of PD behaviours only yesterday. Christmas 83 she told me she wished I hadn't come... after I'd shown up. She could have called me and told me not to come; instead she told me younger sister wasn't coming because I was going to be there. Makes no sense to me. Anyway, that was my last FOO Christmas. But since then she's had flying monkeys on board, called me wanting to talk it out, and so on.

4. Throughout her motherhood years, if she couldn't blame me she blamed EF. I now see him as her secondary scapegoat. She had we three girls believing he'd messed us up. But for some reason both sisters had over-the-top support and 'love' from her, while I got... what I got.

5. A long-ago boyfriend dropped in on her against my expressed wishes. I was furious with him for thinking he could fix things. Anyway, he didn't say much about it except that he didn't think I should go back. She had told him: "I don't know why I couldn't love my children" and cried about it.

6. It was very important to her to appear the Perfect Mother. She took issue with what she considered bad parenting every time she saw it IRL or in the media. You might say she was Mother Superior.

I heard something recently that said narcissistic mothers need to be needed by their children, so any attempt at independence is punished. This rang true for me. Seems I had a mind of my own from the start. So, first memory: I attempted to stand up from my potty and retrieve my own pants. The potty spilled over. M rushed in, slapped me and shouted: "You bad girl!"

I mentioned this to her when I was in my late 20s. She laughed, said she didn't remember it, and "I must have been having a bad day". I take this further: I must have been aware of previous "bad days", because I already knew better than to call her from the other room, and thought she might be pleased if I got up by myself.

A question: What kind of Mother Superior can slap a baby and not remember it?

Books & Articles / Hypnotherapy for CPTSD
« on: April 09, 2017, 10:19:03 AM »
The way to retrain or recondition the bodyguard is to retake control of the body’s nervous system. When the bodyguard cannot usurp the body through sleep or distractions, the conscious ego-mind is returned to its rightful place at the steering wheel.

Recovery Journals / To be Candid...
« on: April 08, 2017, 11:17:45 AM »
... I've balked at starting a recovery journal because I've known about CPTSD for about five years now, I'm an intelligent woman and I don't believe I personally can recover. Younger people, and those who've established a FOC, yes. But not me.

I remember a photo of my elder sister and myself sitting among other children at Dad's work Christmas party. We were watching some kind of show, and our faces were lit up. Okay, Sis looked a bit anxious, but I was sparkling with unalloyed pleasure. I wish I had that picture now, but from many moves and being NC with FOO, I have no pictures of myself before I was about 20.

Most members will probably be aware of Maslow's hierarchy, but for those who haven't heard of it or need a refresher, here it is:

I've mostly been okay with the basic needs, and I am now, but I'm stuck on Belonging. I got by for a long time, believing I belonged in my FOO. As scapegoat :roll:, but I had a role and I knew how to play it. I belonged at primary school and at the first high school I attended, liked by teachers, some close friends (all now long gone from my life), getting good marks. Self-esteem was okay then.

Then my family migrated. In one hit I lost my friends, the extended family, my pets, my school, my familiar town. My childhood. I started a new school where I was teased and mimicked by others for my 'annoying' accent. The scapegoat role became the only one I had. I cried. I kept a journal, which unknown to me my mother read while I was at school.

I went to work, got fired a few times, then found a career and mostly stuck to it. A couple of workplaces -- the best of them -- I actually felt I belonged. Where I didn't, getting up and dressed five days a week kept me going even when I hated it.

I married a violent man and five months later I ran for my life. Mother had already told me she didn't want me in FOO, so I moved a long way away. Soon settled in a job, made some friends, felt like I'd been reborn. Went to university and got a diploma. Kept working. Bought a house. When it was paid for, I bought block of six apartments, then went back to my birth country intending to stay until the mortgage on the apartment block came down sufficiently for me to sell both properties and buy my ideal home.

A few months later a monster flood hit the town I'd left. I had no family, and no friends who cared enough that I could ask them to sort things out for me. With my house and the three downstairs apartments uninhabitable, the mortgage went out of control. I sold the apartments; the bank sold my former home and I got a $10,000 bill for the shortfall.

I kept going. I remarried.  H has never held a job for long. I was the breadwinner while 'we' were paying off a house. We lost that when my industry all but collapsed and I could no longer find work. I left H for five years, went back to that town where I'd once owned property, and got two-thirds of the way through a degree with the usual high grades. There was once again a sense of belonging at university. I liked the lecturers and students and they liked me.

Then the bike accident and the head injury. TBH I think it was the death blow.  In and out of hospital for six months, misdiagnosed and mismedicated for schizoaffective disorder. Medication enforced after I left the nuthouse. I dropped out of university. I could barely get out of bed, I was so depressed. I could no longer ride my bike (developed a phobia), shopping became an issue and therefore feeding myself was a problem. Relationship has been a major issue for me since the initial migration, and apart from two or three exceptions my friendships have all been circumstantial. When I leave, there's no follow-up. There's never anyone to help me through the worst times.

Finally I sent H an email. He makes a good foul-weather friend. A few months later he flew to that other country and brought me here to live with him and his mother. But I don't belong here and I see no way out.

To end on a brighter note, the woman who's been my bestie for the past 20 years suggested we meet for lunch this week. She lives a long way from me so we get together only rarely; the rest of the time it's email. Also, she distances herself when I'm sad. But she's upbeat and inspiring and, just for now, I have something to look forward to. A reason to shower and present myself as well as I can.

TIA for telling me I belong here, and the virtual hugs.

Books & Articles / Review of Karyl McBride's book
« on: March 24, 2017, 01:06:15 PM »
I no longer have my copy but I don't think she mentions CPTSD. However, Will I Ever Be Good Enough? is a great read for anyone who had a tough childhood relationally, and includes lots of helpful strategies.

Web Sites, Support Groups & Organizations / Inner Bonding
« on: March 22, 2017, 03:32:05 PM »
This sounds like it could be useful:

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