"What I wish I had known straight away when I found out about CPTSD..."

  • 14 Replies
  • 3808 Views
Do you think it could be helpful to collect all the things we've found out about dealing with CPTSD? Not sure how much sense that makes. After all, each of us has a different story.

But I thought today: "Man, I wish I'd known about titration a lot earlier." And it occurred to me: each of us probably has something we wish we'd known earlier, or a bit of encouragement we'd tell ourselves, or a warning about side-effects to watch out for. And if we had a thread full of such things, that might be an interesting thing for OOTS members who only just found out about CPTSD.

So if you could go in time and meet your past self shortly after you realized you had CPTSD, what would you tell yourself?

I'll start.

Hi Cat! You found out that you've got CPTSD, right? First of all: don't panic. It'll be fine. You're used to trouble. You can cope with this, too. Do NOT read all the books at once, uncover all the traumatized feelings at once, tackle all the problems at once, or do anything else trauma-related in one big heaping portion. You want things bite-sized. If you're reading a text, for example, stop reading before you've reached your limit. If you're journaling about your past, stop writing before you've reached your limit. If you're deciding how to fix a problem, stop before... well, you get the picture. Never stretch yourself to your full capacity. You do NOT know what feelings might well up inside of you hours or days afterwards. Do a little, then stop and wait, feeling your mental pulse to see if you're okay, and if anything comes up (anger or the fidgets or misery or grief), deal with that first. Take care of yourself. Always plan ahead so things will happen during the day that nourish or energize you. Your journey to recovery must NOT be a full-tilt race to the finishing line. Make it more like a sauntering stroll through a sunlit park, as much as you can.

Also, get rid of stressors. Learn to focus on yourself: to know your own needs, and to care for them. This is NOT navel-gazing. Go low contact with your family of origin. Listen to Rain and read The Narcissistic Family as soon as you can, even if it does cost fourty Euros now. Be aware of one thing especially: if you're teaching yourself how to have proper feelings again, at the same time that you confront your past, then do NOT be surprised if you end up having plenty of proper feelings about said past.  :doh:  Lastly, celebrate. This is the beginning of a rocky journey. But it's a journey that will hopefully spiral upwards in the end. CPTSD recovery can be miserable, but it's a happier and more sociable kind of misery, if that makes sense.

*

Jdog

  • Member
  • 1003
    • View Profile
Hi -

I would say to this to myself:  "JDog, you have spent your entire life trying to prove that you are "enough", but guess what?  You already ARE enough and have always been enough.  Each day, you have been and will always be doing your very best given what you know at that time.  You don't have to look at yourself through someone else's eyes all the time in order to stay safe.  It is only what YOU believe about yourself that matters, and the times when you really believe that are the times when you will be able to connect to yourself and everyone else authentically."

And, I would include the things cat says about not racing toward the finish line - though it is tempting to want to just "get it over" and get past the icky stuff that comes up.  We learn new coping skills all the time just by taking baby steps and that helps deal with the next set of issues that come up - triggers, EFs, etc. 

The commitment truly is daily - good self care takes constant practice.  Thinking well of oneself is a learned behavior, and it is never to late to start! ;)

*

DeeSchex

  • Member
  • 3
    • View Profile
Do NOT read all the books at once, uncover all the traumatized feelings at once, tackle all the problems at once, or do anything else trauma-related in one big heaping portion. You want things bite-sized. If you're reading a text, for example, stop reading before you've reached your limit. If you're journaling about your past, stop writing before you've reached your limit. If you're deciding how to fix a problem, stop before... well, you get the picture. Never stretch yourself to your full capacity. You do NOT know what feelings might well up inside of you hours or days afterwards. Do a little, then stop and wait, feeling your mental pulse to see if you're okay, and if anything comes up (anger or the fidgets or misery or grief), deal with that first. Take care of yourself. Always plan ahead so things will happen during the day that nourish or energize you. Your journey to recovery must NOT be a full-tilt race to the finishing line. Make it more like a sauntering stroll through a sunlit park, as much as you can.

Cat!  Thanks!  This post really helped me.  Today I was reading a book on safe vs. unsafe people plus reading through forum posts on OOTF.  These are all good things; however, I reached critical mass and kind of imploded.  I'm just starting to build a support network and in the process I'm hitting a lot of walls and realizing many of my friends are 'fair-weather friends.'  I realized I could only turn to my unBPD mom for support --- in this relationship I'm the GC and she listens and provides me with nurturing (and she has made some serious progress, believe it or not)... but it was against my better judgment.  So, I'm realizing that until I have some safe and supportive allies that are not in my family to talk to about my unNSM, I will need to be gentle with myself and the growth process.  I will be strolling through that sunlit park for the rest of the day!

Thanks again.

Dee

*

Convalescent

  • Guest
Thank you for this :) I've just started on my recovery, and this helps me ground myself (is it called "to ground" in english? I mean, calm myself down, make myself more "down to earth" again, or how I should say it) a little bit. Days like this escalates very quickly... be this, do that, never good enough, etc. All the friends I should have more contact with, I should be working, I should be more involved with my family, I should have more knowledge, I should should should. And yesterday I had a panic attack from *, feeling like I don't have any room for myself - from mistakes or demands or god knows. And then I start again.

I've just begun, as I've mentioned, but one thing I'd like to remind myself about, and wish I'd known as well, is... remember what your motivation is. I can start out with a constructive motivation, like: "OK, I miss my friend from way back, we haven't had contact in a while, so it's hard for me to call or send her a message, but I want to feel less alone, and I miss her", and suddenly it all goes haywire, 'til: "Oh my god, my friends are going to abandon me, I'll have no more friends left and what if they're angry. They'll cut my off soon. I feel so guilty. I should be more with my friends." etc. etc. It's so easy to get caught up in traveled routes.

*

MaggieMayCat

  • Member
  • 12
    • View Profile
Dear Be,

It's OK to stop running around, trying to prove to yourself and others that you are good enough, smart enough and whatever other "enough"s you've decided are worthy to be attached to your persona. Please just feel crappy and accept it as much as you can. The mountain doesn't have to be attacked today. If you want or need to rest, be all means, DO IT!

Take off the imaginary white Dr.'s coat and put down that stinking clipboard you mentally carry. Stop measuring, inventorying, listing, compiling massive amounts of anxiety over not doing ENOUGH! Do take time to slow down, way, way down so you can see the day's tasks and leave plenty of room between them.

Stop being obligated, stop promising "one more thing", stop saying yes when your heart says NO. Take time to connect with everyone you meet, share a thought, a smile, and appreciate how others reach out too. Stop seeing yourself as separate, damaged, ill, disabled, "less than". There are plenty of people who have endured greater trials. Find them and learn from them.

Consider life as a non-renewable resource. Time is not endless. This is a day in which you spend your time wisely. Look in the mirror and find things you like, even love. You've made it this far by "doing" things one way, but now's the time to ease up, learn new things. Recognize that more people than not have dysfunction, so we're in this together. 

Listen closely to your feelings.  Take them seriously.

 :yeahthat:

This one's going in the journal too!

*

Convalescent

  • Guest
Same for me Maggie, that really hit me. Along with the rest of what BeHea1thy wrote.

*

Dyess

  • Guest
I would say Trace this is something that you have had for a long time and will have for a long time but there are ways of managing that, so I've been told. The healing is not a fast process and will be full of surprises (triggers) that you will have to deal with one issue at a time. Don't think you have to find the answers/cures in a few days, or weeks, or months. You will drive yourself crazy with all the symptoms and test. You will be convinced you are totally nuts before you finish. Take it slow and don't overwhelm yourself with anything.

The process is not fast, or easy and you may lose some things along the way....job...friends...interests and/or hobbies. That happens. These are minor setbacks don't let them control you.

*

Sandals

  • Member
  • 204
  • Self love | Self acceptance
    • View Profile
I would say: It is within this painful place that you will discover the most beautiful love you've known. And you'll have moments where you look around at the world and just be amazed at life.

Yes, there will awful pitstops along the way. Reach out and talk to someone about them, even though it's the last think you'll want to do. Don't keep it bottled up inside. Spit out a word, any word. Because that word is your life line. And the more words you lay down, the more you'll make it down the road to see that beauty.

Scream if you need to scream, cry if you need to cry, puke if you need to puke. Let your body do as it wants to. Respect and cherish it.

And get mad when you need to. Even if you don't know what you're mad at...just let yourself get angry. You will figure out what you're angry at sooner or later.

Be with those who are like-minded. For those who are not, offer them love but not all of you. Trust that there is a plan.

Spend time laughing and playing. Build a tower and knock it down, so you can build it again.

Be outside. Breathe. 

*

C.

  • Member
  • 1053
  • Reciprocity here as we heal from relational trauma
    • View Profile
Wow Sandals.  With your words I feel like you've taken love, pain and hope and created the perfect balance...I'm saving these words to remind me of that as needed.  Thanks.

*

EmilyJ

  • Member
  • 1
    • View Profile
Re: "What I wish I had known straight away when I found out about CPTSD..."
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2015, 08:15:49 AM »
Sandals:


It is within this painful place that you will discover the most beautiful love you've known. And you'll have moments where you look around at the world and just be amazed at life.


Thats is something that I will carry with me. That has never been more true than it is now.

I would say:

You will receive a 'name' for why it is you're experiencing (i was given the diagnosis 2 months ago) and you'll finally know what monster it is you're dealing with. Life will get better. It seems dark, horrible and scary now yea, but through all that black fig you will find light. Don't fight the help and change that is offered to you, instead embrace it..


*

Sandals

  • Member
  • 204
  • Self love | Self acceptance
    • View Profile
Re: "What I wish I had known straight away when I found out about CPTSD..."
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2015, 07:48:24 PM »
:hug: I'm glad that landed for you, C and Emily.

*

hypervigilante

  • Member
  • 55
    • View Profile
I would say: It is within this painful place that you will discover the most beautiful love you've known. And you'll have moments where you look around at the world and just be amazed at life.

Yes, there will awful pitstops along the way. Reach out and talk to someone about them, even though it's the last think you'll want to do. Don't keep it bottled up inside. Spit out a word, any word. Because that word is your life line. And the more words you lay down, the more you'll make it down the road to see that beauty.

Scream if you need to scream, cry if you need to cry, puke if you need to puke. Let your body do as it wants to. Respect and cherish it.

And get mad when you need to. Even if you don't know what you're mad at...just let yourself get angry. You will figure out what you're angry at sooner or later.

Be with those who are like-minded. For those who are not, offer them love but not all of you. Trust that there is a plan.

Spend time laughing and playing. Build a tower and knock it down, so you can build it again.



This is so beautiful. I feel the urge to print your words to keep them closer to me when I need to remind myself of your incredibly wholesome perspective.

I'm happy you engaged in this exercise because I feel the advice you've given yourself speaks very closely to my heart. Especially when saying you can give others love but not all of yourself. Very well said, thank you for sharing.

Be outside. Breathe. 

*

PaintedBlack

  • Member
  • 40
  • Truth Seeker
    • View Profile
this is lovely. I just became aware of the concept of inner critic. many of these suggestions are so encouraging about how my inner critic should be compared to how it is. Thank you so much, I hope one day I will be able to add something to this thread.

*

Dutch Uncle

  • Member
  • 2108
  • Slowly freeing myself of a burden.
    • View Profile
Thanks for bumping this.

And Schrödinger's Cat: thanks for the kick-off. It certainly rings a bell!

SlowDownslowdown slowdown…slowdown….slow….down…..slooowww…...