How do you cope?

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How do you cope?
« on: July 04, 2020, 10:47:59 PM »
I feel like no matter how much I try, no matter how good my intentions are to practice self-care and take control of my life, I can't manage anything.  I can't manage my time, my budget, make decisions in a timely manner, can't decide what to do to make myself feel better when I'm struggling.  Sometimes it doesn't take much for my anxiety to kick in - I hear something relatively minor (or sometimes not so minor, like my boyfriend getting tense on the phone with his mother), and the fight-or-flight response is there.  I can only spend so much time breathing when there's work, bills, housework, making food - all the mundane life stuff that is unrelenting no matter how good or bad I'm doing.

I know I'm not alone - that other people have been through similar traumas, sometimes worse.  Yet other people seem so much more capable of getting their life together, having families, having time to focus on themselves, being able to be independent of their families.  My boyfriend and I still have to rely on the very people who traumatized us for financial and practical support, which beats us down and keeps us in a constant state of fighting against despair and hopelessness and shame.  How do other people do it?  How do you manage to keep a stable job and home and take care of your family and still be able to focus on/take care of yourself and learn to love yourself and counter-program all the negativity you were raised to think about yourself?  How do you make progress when every inch you fight for usually ends in getting beat back a foot?  It has been hard enough without the emotional static of the people who have traumatized us, but those family issues haven't been helping.  They really haven't.

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saylor

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Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2020, 12:46:35 AM »
BP, you have a lot going on. And to be in a position where you canít get some distance from your abusers sounds like a nightmare, especially since the first step in trying to heal is to remove the sources of trauma. Iím so sorry that youíre going through this. :'(

I was once talking with a non-CPTSD person about my experience of life after having marinated in trauma for my first decade+. I came up with an analogy that felt appropriate: all humans are swimming upstream, but CPTSD makes it feel like the river is made of molasses. It can be really tough and exhausting just to accomplish ďbasicĒ tasks.

Youíre not alone  :hug: I wish I could share a magic formula for coping, but I havenít figured it out yet

Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2020, 03:06:36 AM »
 :hug: BP, The short answer is: some days I don't cope, and some days I cope in some ways. Sometimes time goes by that seems relatively 'normal' then you get blind-sided by an Emotional Flashback triggered by something bizarre and unexpected. The fact that you are here, posting, is a sign that you are performing self care. It's why we are all here. Hope it helps.

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Blueberry

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Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2020, 09:14:05 PM »
I feel like no matter how much I try, no matter how good my intentions are to practice self-care and take control of my life, I can't manage anything.  I can't manage my time, my budget, make decisions in a timely manner, can't decide what to do to make myself feel better when I'm struggling. 

My eye is getting stuck on "I can't manage anything." Could that be your Inner Critic? I used to think that about myself too actually. I imagine that there are times when you can manage your time, your budget and that you do practice self-care. Simply writing on here is a form of self-care! Maybe you can't manage your time and budget 100%, but maybe more than 1%? I don't want to negate your feeling of not being able to manage, but it's not always all-or-nothing.

I know I'm not alone - that other people have been through similar traumas, sometimes worse.  Yet other people seem so much more capable of getting their life together, having families, having time to focus on themselves, being able to be independent of their families.  My boyfriend and I still have to rely on the very people who traumatized us for financial and practical support, which beats us down and keeps us in a constant state of fighting against despair and hopelessness and shame.  How do other people do it?  How do you manage to keep a stable job and home and take care of your family and still be able to focus on/take care of yourself and learn to love yourself and counter-program all the negativity you were raised to think about yourself?  How do you make progress when every inch you fight for usually ends in getting beat back a foot?  It has been hard enough without the emotional static of the people who have traumatized us, but those family issues haven't been helping. 

I for one do not have a stable job, I don't have a partner far less being married or having children. Most of the time looking after myself and my pets is quite enough and/or too much. As for how to make progress, I finally found a T I could work with. But even if that's not possible, there is help out there e.g. on these very boards. Check the pinned threads here e.g. https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?board=49.0  or here https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=11363.0   I used to use this one https://cptsd.org/forum/index.php?topic=6024.0 quite a lot for self-care.

other people seem so much
The operative words here. "Seem" is not always reality.  :hug:

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notalone

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Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2020, 11:27:54 PM »
Some days I'm mostly okay and functional. Other times, internally I'm in distress, but am outwardly able to function. Sometimes I'm attempting to function and the pain leaks out. Also, there are moments/hours/days where all I can do is curl up into a ball and survive.

Jazzy posted this in a response to a time I was struggling with doing every day minor tasks. I found it helpful.
Maybe this is obvious, but I keep reminding myself that CPTSD is a stress disorder. First of all, our minds are always busy (even though sometimes we don't notice), and our body follows our mind. Also, even the small things are still minor stressors, but when one already has a stress disorder to begin with, it has a big impact. Imagine asking someone with a broken toe to tap their foot to some music. Tapping your foot is a very easy thing to do, except for that pre-existing condition.

Living with cptsd is really hard. And you have the added stress of relying on people who traumatized you. Go easy on yourself. This is super hard.

For me, seeing a therapist who understands and is experienced and skilled in dealing with trauma is crucial. Also, I'm learning about self care and am getting better at practicing it. Sometimes I contact a small group of core friends. Just knowing that they know I'm having a hard time and that they care helps.

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Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2020, 08:53:19 PM »
Thank you, everyone, for your replies.  While it's not *great* to hear that other people are struggling, it does help to realize I'm not alone.  Saylor and Alice-in-Wonderland, your words of support and empathy did a lot to help.  Sometimes (often) having understanding is better than being given answers.

Blueberry, yes, there are a lot of self-critical thoughts that run around, sure, and they get worse the more stressed out I feel.  I do realize that most people (even those without CPTSD) have their own struggles, some worse and some not as bad as our problems.  It's sometimes hard to tell, though, because we don't have the most contact with friends, so it's hard to judge where most people's 'baseline' is.  To hear the BF's mom tell it, *everyone* in the world is succeeding in life, and we're the only ones being utter failures.  I will check out the boards you linked.

notalone - thank you for your post.  Jazzy's quote was very helpful to read.  It was a slightly different way to think about CPTSD, and it does help me feel less hard on myself about it.

We have tried to find therapy we can afford.  We are in a very fortunate situation that my BF's uncle is not charging us a ton of rent to live in a really nice, secluded house, but we are still struggling to make ends meet.  I've been to a number of counselors (I was even a counselor myself for a few years), but finding an affordable licensed therapist is challenging.  Still hopeful, though, because I'm pretty sure between my BF and me, we could give a couple of therapists a real education in dealing with trauma issues!  I'm also still hopeful we can relearn how to be the adult versions of the happy, innocent, open-hearted, creative children we started out being.

Thank you again, everyone, for your words of support and empathy.  I am ready to try again today.



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saylor

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Re: How do you cope?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2020, 09:15:19 PM »
I am ready to try again today.

Thatís wonderful!  :)