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General Discussion / Re: Cities vs. Nature
« on: September 16, 2019, 12:12:31 AM »
Glad to hear my post was helpful to you in some way, woodsgnome. Really, thanks for sharing that, it was encouraging for me to read as well.

Learning to not apologize for things that we don't need to apologize for is a good step on the road to recovery and just personal growth. I know it's something that's been a process for me as well, and still is.

Also, just wanted to add: even in cases where it could be argued that those with CPTSD *are* avoiding something problematic, they probably have pretty good reason to do so! For example, someone with CPTSD might very well not trust other people at all, and who on earth is anyone (especially someone with no experience of CPTSD) to say that they're wrong to do so? "Oh you just met a few bad apples, not everyone is like that. You can't give up, you just have to put yourself out there and try again..." blah blah etc.  That's all very easy to say when you haven't actually lived in someone else's shoes and seen the huge cost of that broken trust they've experienced, and what it would mean for them to experience it again.

Anyway, don't mean to go off on a rant, but this sort of judgmental/shaming attitude is unfortunately something pretty prevalent in our society and something I've personally gotten pretty sick and tired of. In any case, even when people don't really mean anything bad (and are mostly just coming from a place of ignorance), it's good to be able to recognize that sort of thing for what it is so that we can handle it appropriately.

General Discussion / Re: Cities vs. Nature
« on: September 02, 2019, 12:10:57 AM »
Thanks to everyone who shared their experiences and views.

Agree with what Kizzie said as well... I really believe that there's some sort of accumulative damage and/or just wearing down of the brain/nervous system/other body systems by all the trauma and even general stress over the years. And that urban areas tend to significantly worsen a lot of the symptoms people with CPTSD experience. It's an area of science I wish I was more knowledgeable of, and to be frank, I think even the "experts" out there have only really scratched the surface of everything there is to know in that general area.

And yeah, the whole "avoiding the problem" thing may apply in some situations in life but I really don't think it does here. It's like saying someone is "avoiding their problems" when they have a compromised immune system and avoid being out in crowded areas... which most people would probably agree would be a pretty ridiculous thing to say. I think the fact that so few people in the general population really know much (or anything) about CPTSD makes it easier for them to be dismissive of those dealing with very real issues and limitations caused by it.

General Discussion / Cities vs. Nature
« on: August 31, 2019, 03:58:53 PM »
Wasn't sure whether to put this here or elsewhere (e.g. the recovery section). It's a pretty general topic, and deals with symptoms but also I think is relevant for recovery.

Anyone else here find themselves really negatively affected by living in big cities vs. living in more rural, or even suburban, areas?

For me, I spent a lot of my life in a major city. And for most of my time there, I didn't really notice any signficantly negative affects.

But as my health worsened (increasing CPTSD, burnout, etc.) and as I've moved back and forth between living in more urban and rural areas, I've come to the point where I can feel the negative impact very quickly and strongly moving from more rural areas back to a big urban area.

The negative effects are numerous, but I guess a lot of it just falls into a general category of negative sensory overload from things like too much noise, too many crowds, too much hectic and rushed activity, unpleasant smells, lack of personal space, etc. etc. Basically, I explained it to someone else as if, the second I stepped back into a busy city street, it was like my brain was just telling me that it was overwhelmed and wanted to get out of there asap. Public transportation, especially when it's overly crowded, is a total nightmare and honestly one of the most exhausting and unpleasant things I can think of experiencing on a day-to-day basis.

For me, at least, I feel like I need to get out of the city again as soon as I can, that it's very hard for me to try to keep up any sort of generally good health (mental/physical/etc.) while I'm living in that sort of environment.

Being out in nature, on the other hand, I find to be healing in so many ways... the air is cleaner, the environment is quieter and whatever sounds you do find are generally relaxing (a river, the wind blowing, birds chirping, etc.), the scenery is actually pleasant, there often isn't a single person anywhere around you (and certainly not the crowds you find in cities), and so on.

Anyway, I'm curious about what other people's thoughts and experiences have been in this area. I'm not suggesting that living out in nature is enough to "cure" CPTSD or anything, but I find it generally helps me to feel a lot better and eases a lot of the symptoms. There are potential dangers too, I realize, like if you live somewhere too rural, ending up feeling overly isolated, not having the same opportunities to make friends or interact socially, etc. Overall though, at least for myself, I find it to be a much more positive environment for me to be in compared to cities.

Therapy / Saw new therapist today... lots of thoughts
« on: March 16, 2019, 10:44:23 PM »
So I saw a new therapist today, and have a lot of thoughts going through my head after the first appointment...

He has some sort of experience with treating trauma (including training in EMDR). I specifically asked him what his knowledge was around Complex Trauma and I honestly wish I remembered more of what he said... it's somewhat of a blur to me now. Something about multiple incidents, I think... sigh... I may just have to ask him again next time to repeat himself. It seems pretty obvious to me though that his background is much more in "classical" PTSD, e.g. treating war veterans, etc.

Anyway, the biggest issue I had at the end of it all was that he said he didn't think I had any sort of trauma-related condition (classic PTSD or Complex, etc.) because out of everything I told him, there wasn't one single "especially traumatic" incident, something that I have nightmares over and can't move on from, etc... this is after telling him of my background of verbal/emotional abuse from my dad when I was growing up (including extreme rage blowups over the most insignificant things), having gone through all sorts of other difficulties in just the last several years of my life, etc. And there's a whole truckload of stuff I didn't even have a chance to mention to him.

He admitted I had a lot of difficult things happen to me over time that all added up, but apparently this doesn't qualify as "traumatic" in his mind.

I even told him about how I tend to dissociate whenever I get in certain stressful situations with other people, essentially flashback to feeling like a powerless little child, how the negative emotions that come to me afterwards can last a day or even more, keep me from sleeping, etc. But not trauma. Nope. Despite the fact that most "normal" people would hardly be phased by these things that affect me so negatively.

To be blunt and vent a bit... I really hate the overly narrow definition of trauma that many so-called "experts" still use... as in, if your life wasn't literally in jeopardy at one point, or you didn't see someone get killed right in front of you, what you experienced wasn't really traumatic, just stressful and sort of sucky... it feels so invalidating, even if the people who believe that definition of trauma don't mean to be invalidating.

It's even more frustrating because so much of what I've been through can't even be described in words. It's not something as straightforward as physical/sexual abuse (don't get me wrong, I don't mean to belittle the seriousness of that at all), but that doesn't necessarily make it any less traumatic. Just because someone can't understand what I've been through and fit it in some neat little category of commonly accepted forms of trauma, that doesn't mean I haven't been traumatized by it.

Ultimately, I guess I'm just really frustrated and fed up with the ignorance of trauma among even many professionals... it feels like the general and common knowledge of trauma is still in the stone ages and we all have a long way to go...

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Re: Boundaries and border crossings...
« on: January 28, 2019, 03:22:48 AM »
Thanks for all the responses and support everyone. I guess I've settled down somewhat since the experience a few days ago, although still feel shaken up by it. I definitely feel like my eyes have been opened to the dark underside of border patrol operations... and reading some accounts of other people online, there's some really sad and disturbing stories of what people have experienced at the hands of some border patrol agents.

I think it's a difficult situation for most people, but when you have CPTSD it's ten times worse because it feels so much like being trapped in an abusive situation with little or no power.

Was thinking about this statement... I agree that the situation is naturally made much worse having CPTSD. However, I'm not sure if you meant it as I read it, but I disagree with one point. It's not just that it feels so much *like* being trapped in an abusive situation with little or no power, that sometimes (if not often) actually *is* the case.

I can understand how people with CPTSD could potentially see a situation as abusive when it isn't really, or perhaps see it as more abusive than it really is. I think that's a very real struggle that many of us, if not practically all of us, go through.

However, in this sort of situation... when you're alone with border guards who have few restraints (legal or otherwise) on what they're able to do to you, and naturally are in a position of having much more power and authority than you do... that's a situation that's extremely high in potential for easy abuse. The fact that there's extremely little external oversight or accountability on the actions of the border patrol makes the situation even worse.

I suppose you technically have some legal rights when you're detained by the border agents, but as I've just recently found out, lot of the problem with how they operate is that they're in a very murky area of the law and given an enormous amount of power and freedom to do what they want with people crossing the border. They can search you and your property without any given reason, and can ask any questions that they feel are necessary for their investigation, and you're practically obligated to answer them (or else you're "hindering the investigation"), no matter how personal, inappropriate, or insulting (or just outright irrelevant) those questions are.

For example, after the one border agent went through my text messages, he started asking me questions about my friends and family and whether I was in regular contact with anyone, and then sort of indirectly told me he found it suspicious that I only had text messages from one person in the recent past (as if being isolated from other people is a sign you're a criminal). And at one point he basically admitted that he thought I could be a pedophile because of the old cell phones he had found in my trunk, telling me about a pedophile he had caught who also was also carrying a bunch of old phones... as if there was no valid reason a non-criminal could be carrying multiple cell phones with them...

It was pretty obvious to me from the beginning that this border guard didn't like me, and thought I was "suspicious" for some very dubious reason(s), and so he was just looking for any possible reason to detain me, go through my things, and grill me with ridiculous questions.

Eventually when he couldn't find anything after his ridiculous search, he let me go (no doubt very reluctantly and feeling very disappointed that he didn't find proof that I was a pedophile like he thought).

The amount of power these border patrol agents have is something I honestly find excessive and even disturbing... they're not limited nearly as much as regular police officers are, as I found out. I'm not saying all border agents are terrible people, or will take advantage of the power and freedom they have... but when you run into a bad apple... well, things can get bad very quickly, in any number of ways.

Anyway, this post has gotten really long, and I could go on even more... suffice it to say, my views on this whole topic have changed dramatically after that experience a few days ago. It seems to me like the entire system needs serious overhaul, and especially a lot more external oversight and accountability, to limit the potential for easy abuse.

Frustrated? Set Backs? / Boundaries and border crossings...
« on: January 25, 2019, 12:47:52 PM »
So I haven't posted on these forums in a long time, but I had a terrible experience yesterday that I wanted to share with you all, since I felt like most people here could understand this a lot better than the average person.

Just some advanced warning, there may be "triggers" in this post for people who fear authority figures or have had bad experiences dealing with border guards.

Anyway, I was crossing the border from the U.S. back into Canada yesterday when I was questioned by the Canadian border guards. I had nothing to hide, and I'm a Canadian citizen, so I didn't expect anything much... just maybe a couple simple questions and then they'd let me go.

Apparently not. I won't go over all the details of what happened, but basically there were a couple misunderstandings and I ended up driving into an area I wasn't supposed to go, and so I was sort of anxious from the get-go. The border guard took this nervousness as being "suspicious" and then found some old cell phones in my trunk, which he also found to be "suspicious"... etc.

So basically, the net result was that I ended up being detained for very dubious reasons. They went through all my stuff, and even confiscated my phone and computer and essentially told me that I'd be arrested if I didn't unlock it for them and allow them to go through all my private data... Talk about a major intrusion of privacy, and crossing all sorts of boundaries (excuse the unintentional pun...).

The whole thing made me feel so violated that it just sent me spinning and spinning... I couldn't believe what was happening to me or what I had done to deserve such a thing. And in a country like Canada, of all places, and me being a citizen!

It's hard to really put into words how the whole thing left me feeling... violated, angry, incredulous... I couldn't believe that the government of my own country would condone such practices, but it seems they're basically legal.

Anyway, I partially posted this just to sort of vent/share my frustrations, but also partially as a warning to everyone else who might not be aware of this stuff (as I really wasn't before today)... if anyone else is concerned about this sort of thing, I'd suggest traveling with as few electronic devices as you can (especially ones that have private/sensitive info), and perhaps just getting a cheap laptop/phone for travel purposes, if you can afford it and it's worth the safeguarding of your privacy.

Also, if it isn't already obvious from my story, I'd suggest avoiding traveling with more than one phone if you can...

It seems like this sort of intrusive searching at borders is becoming more common from some statistics I saw... in the U.S. and Canada and probably other countries as well. So just a heads up to any of you who weren't already aware of this sort of thing... don't want to unintentionally "trigger" people or make them even more nervous when crossing borders, but I think this is just some stuff we should all be aware of. This is apparently the sad reality of the world we're living in today.

I think part of what made the experience so especially negative for me was I was totally unaware that this was a "normal" thing, or even something that was legal for border guards to do, so I was caught very off guard... hopefully my experience and sharing about it can help at least a few more people to be more prepared than I was.

Other / OCD?
« on: August 08, 2018, 02:40:11 AM »
Hope this is the right place to put this. I was curious if anyone else developed severe OCD along with C-PTSD, and if so how they've dealt with it. I think I remember reading about it in Pete Walker's book, and so was wondering if this is a fairly common thing among people with C-PTSD.

I only really started to have obvious OCD symptoms when I went through a really stressful/difficult period of my life a few years ago, and all the C-PTSD stuff got a lot worse. For me, the OCD was the order/symmetry kind, and it's been hard to deal with since practically anything and everything can set it off (e.g. two things that aren't arranged "just right", etc.).

I know there's specific therapy and treatment for both OCD and C-PTSD, but I've heard different things about how that should be tackled. I even heard cases of where the OCD therapy/treatment actually made the C-PTSD symptoms *worse*, so perhaps tackling it the other way would be better? I don't know.

One of the reasons I haven't gone in for full-blown CBT/ERT therapy for OCD is that I feel like the C-PTSD stuff is really underneath all of it and that OCD therapy on its own is either not going to be successful without dealing with the C-PTSD stuff first, or else it'll even make the C-PTSD symptoms worse.

Introductory Post / Re: Hello
« on: August 07, 2018, 05:18:06 AM »
Thanks for the welcome Blueberry :)

Hi Sasha,

Glad to hear you heard that TED talk too and thought it was good.

Yes, I think I'd agree with what you said, that the burnout essentially made the C-PTSD worse. I went through a lot of other difficulties in my childhood besides just issues with my parents, and developed quite severe depression/anxiety in my teenage years, but it was only much more recently that I started experiencing other big C-PTSD symptoms like significant sleep disturbance. Although thinking about it more now, I actually had a lot more of the C-PTSD symptoms at a younger age than I had previously realized (e.g. difficulty with regulating emotions).

It's an interesting question why some people experience burnout and others don't, even in seemingly similar situations. I can't pretend to understand it all, but I think it's definitely possible that some roots of trauma often exist in people who end up developing what's typically described as burnout (mostly in a job-related sense, but can be more general of course).

Hard to say what posts have stood out to me most or been the most helpful, there's really been a lot. But probably what's resonated with me most are the posts in the relationships section... things like hypervigilance, and just difficulty in being around other people is something that's been a big difficulty in my life and not something I really heard talked about much by other people before (i.e. it seems fairly specific to survivors of trauma).

In terms of what's personally gotten me thinking most, though... well, quite a lot of things, really, over the last year or so. I've been seeing a naturopathic doctor for a while and being treated for what's commonly called adrenal fatigue. I don't know if you've looked into that condition at all, but it's quite interesting in how it often shows up in burnout and similar conditions, and all the negative health effects it has.

I've been taking some supplements for a while that the ND recommended (B-complex, Vitamin D, DHEA, 5-HTP) and have found them help me to feel better to some degree. Also just reducing stress levels in general has been helpful... of course, the feasibility of that really depends on a person's individual situation as to how much they're able to do that, but I've thankfully had a fair bit of freedom there.

Introductory Post / Hello
« on: August 06, 2018, 04:37:37 AM »
Hi everyone,

I just recently discovered this forum, and just reading the posts here has been so validating and encouraging. Itís amazing to read about other people going through so many things Iíve struggled with and felt so alone in. Iíve seen the word ďalienĒ used here by different people and thatís exactly how Iíve felt for so long, like Iím from a different planet compared to most people, and thereís no way to explain to ďnormalĒ people what it is I go through on a day-to-day basis.

As for how I found out about C-PTSD, well, itís a long story, but basically... I was going through severe burnout (job-related and personal-life related) and reading up on it, and watched a TED talk linking burnout and PTSD, and it was like a million lightbulbs went off in my head. I eventually discovered C-PTSD and believe itís the most accurate description of what Iíve been going through for a long time.

I think the roots for me were in childhood, with neglect and verbal/emotional abuse from my parents, but I only really experienced most of the really severe C-PTSD symptoms a couple years ago when my personal and work life just got to be too much (a lot of stress at work, increasingly feeling isolated, ďfriendsĒ abandoning and turning against me, and a bunch of other things I wonít go into here, and all of that happening within the span of less than a year).

Itís sad and disappointing to me how little is known about C-PTSD, not just by the average person, but even professionals (doctors, mental health professionals, etc.). I hope understanding and awareness of this condition increases dramatically. Who knows how many other people out there are silently suffering with this and being misdiagnosed and mistreated by health professionals.

Itís nice to see some progress being made, like the inclusion of C-PTSD as a real condition in the ICD as of 2018, but thereís so much more that needs to be done. Most people donít even seem to know anything about PTSD other than itís what ďsoliders getĒ and most havenít even heard of C-PTSD. And itís obviously hard to tell people about it when itís still not even something you can be diagnosed with in many places.

Thereís a lot more I could say about myself and other things, but was planning to save specific things for other posts.

This looks like a good community with a lot of good people, and Iím thankful to have found it.

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