New to cPTSD

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SerenHybrid

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New to cPTSD
« on: November 12, 2019, 10:43:53 PM »
Hello everyone

I'm 33 and live in the South East of England. Between both parents I received at least three different types of abuse as I was growing up, although in very different ways. In my mid twenties I came to understand that what my father had done was abusive, and after several years he was sentenced to jail. It took much longer to recognise and accept that my mother has also been (and was currently) emotionally abusive due to her own mental health needs.

People who know my whole story would always have expected me to have PTSD, but as I never got typical flashbacks I didn't think it would apply. I do not have a clinical diagnosis, as mental health services are extremely underfunded in my area and I had to choose between seeing a psychiatrist for a diagnosis or receiving therapy. I have started using the diagnosis because it really helps to explain what is happening to others, and to myself. It's really only in the last few months that I have labelled these emotional flashbacks, having always experienced them.

It would be really helpful for me to hear about how other people experience emotional flashbacks, and what having C-PTSD means to you. I'm really struggling to get support from any professionals, and I've recently been signed off for 8 weeks and am desperate to get back to work.

I would also love to adopt a child some day, having worked with looked after children throughout my career. But I do worry about how this diagnosis affects parenting skills, particularly when it was developed in childhood.

Anyway, a long introduction, but the basics are that I would love to hear from anyone about their experiences, and I'm just so excited to find a community of people who are talking about this. Thank you!

SerenHybrid xx

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Jazzy

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2019, 11:49:15 PM »
Hi SerenHybrid; welcome to the forums. Sorry to hear you were treated so badly in childhood. A lot of us here have similar pasts. Although, I'm glad to hear you have accepted the reality of the situation, and are moving forward with your healing journey.

About the EFs, like you pointed out, I think its interesting that they have a way of sneaking up on you. Of course, it depends how bad they are. Some of the extreme ones are pretty easy to notice, but most of the time it is an invisible force taking over your moods and your mind. It took me a lot of work to be able to recognize them, even though I probably still miss some. To be more specific, during an EF, I usually feel unsafe and hyper-vigilant, but at the same time disconnected, and kind of going through everything on autopilot.

Unfortunately, its pretty tough to get support from professionals. Living with CPTSD is a constant struggle, that most people don't even know about, never mind understand. Thankfully, we have a good group here who does.

Take care! :)

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notalone

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #2 on: November 13, 2019, 01:51:05 AM »
Welcome.  :heythere:

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Snowdrop

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #3 on: November 13, 2019, 05:17:34 AM »
Hello, SerenHybrid, welcome! :wave:

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bluepalm

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #4 on: November 13, 2019, 06:30:07 AM »
Welcome SerenHybrid - I'm glad you've found this place. I found it earlier this year but I'm still excited about the find.

I think this explanation by Jazzy of how emotional flashbacks sneak up on you and how they feel is absolutely spot on from my experience:
Some of the extreme ones are pretty easy to notice, but most of the time it is an invisible force taking over your moods and your mind. It took me a lot of work to be able to recognize them, even though I probably still miss some. To be more specific, during an EF, I usually feel unsafe and hyper-vigilant, but at the same time disconnected, and kind of going through everything on autopilot.

Yes! This is it. And I feel I still miss being able to identify most EFs. It's my 'normal' and I just get lost in them. But the contributions of members of this OOTS community, with comments like this one from jazzy, are allowing me to feel less alone in my daily struggles.

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Three Roses

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #5 on: November 13, 2019, 09:10:08 AM »
Welcome! For me, EFs can take several different forms.

In one type, it's an overwhelming sadness that seems to spring from nowhere. After reading Pete Walker's book CPTSD: From Surviving To Thriving", this feeling I get seems to match most closely with what he calls the abandonment depression. http://pete-walker.com/fAQsComplexPTSD.html#Abandonment for more info on this, scroll about 2/3 of the way down for the paragraph that describes the abandonment depression, or abandonment melange.

In another type, I can be triggered into the "fight" type of the 4F reactions. (Fight, flight, freeze, fawn - Pete Walker again, http://pete-walker.com/fourFs_TraumaTypologyComplexPTSD.htm)

Other types of EFs can make me want to isolate myself completely for a day or days at a time. I can also feel like I have to fix or placate everyone around me in order to feel safe.

Do any of those sound familiar? I hope this info is helpful. Again, welcome and thanks for joining.
 :heythere:

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Blueberry

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #6 on: November 13, 2019, 11:36:04 AM »
Welcome to the forum SerenHybrid! :heythere:
Sorry you need us but as that's the case I'm glad you found us.

Check https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?board=57.0 to see mbrs' experiences with EFs.

You don't need to have an official diagnosis to be a mbr on here.
« Last Edit: November 13, 2019, 11:44:26 AM by Blueberry »

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SerenHybrid

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2019, 12:13:41 AM »
I can't seem to reply to individual messages, so I hope I'm right in doing it this way.

Thank you all for your comments and welcome. It's certainly been very helpful to hear about other people's EFs, and I really identify with them feeling like my normal. 'normal' is something I've always really struggled with - what is my normal, what is my personality and what is my C-PTSD, and does it matter? I'm obsessed with what people think of me but I hate being praised, I never believe it and it doesn't feel safe. Thoughts about 'is this an EF?' tend to lead to a lot of overthinking which extends the EF.

I'm really muddling through my self at the moment, trying to be kind to my self but also not give up and withdraw from the world, to give myself motivational talks but also down time, and the constant balance between hibernating away from the world and making myself do the typical things that are recommended for depression - seeing friends, exercising etc.

I'd like to get more into the forums as they are such a rich resource. Does anyone have a rec for the best place to start?!

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gentle rain

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Re: New to cPTSD
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2019, 01:59:57 AM »
Hello and welcome ~

I'm new here, too, and I think one place to start is to read other introductory posts (which is how I discovered your post), as well as reading topics that relate to your abuse experiences and symptoms.

Just being able to relate to another's experiences has had a profoundly positive effect on my own coming to terms with my past and my understanding of CPTSD.

For instance, I have recently been having strong, recurring flashbacks regarding my mom, exactly as you describe here:
Quote
It took much longer to recognise and accept that my mother has also been (and was currently) emotionally abusive due to her own mental health needs.

I've also discovered posts about cognitive dissonance and delayed anger response in this manner, which relate to my new flashbacks.

Another thing you can do is start posting—whether it's a new topic about what you're going through or maybe a journal.

Or, you can just ask questions. I haven't as yet, but I've learned much by reading others' questions and the responses they receive. And folks here are more than happy to assist.

Hope all of this helps. You've already helped me!
« Last Edit: December 05, 2019, 02:27:10 AM by gentle rain »