Recovery notes... new stages and observations

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Recovery notes... new stages and observations
« on: September 14, 2020, 06:37:14 AM »
Hi all,

entering a new phase now it seems, mostly good, so I thought I'd share my objective view of how C-PTSD changes as you move forward.

The thing I most notice now is that while the overall curve of recovery is up over time, the peaks and dips are more extreme as you reach the later stages. By this, I mean that you feel the dips a lot harder. Two reasons for this I think. Firstly, you are shedding the numbing, dissociative effects that were the defence when things were at their worse, so the feelings are felt more deeply, but secondly, you have a kind of despair that kicks in when you feel things you thought you'd seen the back of. Perversely, you hurt more the better you are. At least that's how it feels to me. It's not constant though, that's the thing, and it's to be weighed up against periods of what looks a lot like normal.

The good periods can be oddly perplexing too. I find I just start running with the better energy and concentration and then crash because I've forgotten that I'm still not running on a full tank. I seem to just grab the energy and kind of binge on it and then poof, flat as a pancake. The only thing is to manage the energy sensibly and to not take on too much, which considering that I have always had fingers in a million pies from writing novels to making music and painting alongside a day job and freelancing, isn't me at all. I have to factor in rest and downtime or it just bites my behind.

The way the C-PTSD comes in now tho is different, less panicked and more a low-level depression. I have less emotional flashbacks and am less paranoid about social interactions, but occasionally I start running a sweat thinking I have to draw massive barriers around myself to avoid repeating old mistakes. The depression comes in as a kind of overview, a reflection on the last 10 years and the road there and a feeling of dejection when I think about how I was treated. The waste of time of it all is big too, and energy, all that trust and hope and love you put into people for no purpose... its hard not to dwell on that. The antidote for this just seems to be a kind of acceptance, a shrugging 'so what' feeling that feels alien at first, but given that the other emotions that it creates go nowhere, why not just see it as a history of someone else, far away, and point forward? Being 57 doesn't always help that, it's a lot of life to be squandered for sure, but what choice do you have but to move ahead?

Guilt is another lurking emotion, and I only really feel this towards my ex-partner, who sadly died this time last year after falling downstairs, likely drunk. It's an odd one this, because her alcoholism was a dreadful experience, changing someone I had loved deeply, no matter how flawed, into someone impossible to help or love and who was *-bent on her destruction and the relationship and most likely me had I not bailed. But it's a very tough thing, and being a male leaving a female alcoholic meant that there were all sorts of assumptions made about me which were deeply unfair. Maybe I imagine many of these, but I felt them deeply, the insinuation that her alcoholism must have been caused by me, or that I should have stayed and taken it all on the chin alongside all the other abuse I was taking from family and work at the same time. It's just so easy for people frame these events to fit their own agendas, be they gender, politics or just plain gossip and, I dunno, I'm such a moral person, keen to do the right things, so misrepresentation, even from idiots, cuts deep. I tried for 5 years, by any metric that's a long time going nowhere but downwards.

It's all led to me deciding to let a few people go. I've found the silence of some people worse than direct attacks frankly, the lack of comfort or encouragement has for me, a naturally empathic and supportive person, been deeply saddening, and yet those people still haunt the margins of my life, on social media for instance, still with the definition of friends. I just don't really know what to do with them. I would never have thought that such a crisis would elicit such a minor response, and it hurts especially when it has come from those who I'd helped through divorces or other periods of crisis.

Which kind of brings me to another observation, which is fighting with the need to be more selfish.

Oddly, despite being primed to be unassertive by my family and then working hard to become assertive and then standing my ground throughout the worst of things, it was the aftermath with the C-PTSD that wrecked my confidence, making me madly passive. It seemed to make me fear people hugely, becoming convinced that interaction with anyone would mean I would lose something, be emotionally battered and manipulated and therefore, to be avoided. Work was hellish, and my business partner made things infinitely worse so by the end of it all, as I went into a new relationship I was fighting near constant panics triggered by just about everything. That's mostly gone now, and I owe my GF a big debt for just weathering this Tasmanian devil with skin the thickness of cigarette paper.

She has encouraged me to push back, even at her, if I feel restricted or controlled and I'm getting there, I really am. But I still feel the roof is going to fall if I do anything for myself, and it's nuts. We are entitled to our lives, you know? C-PTSD seems to just flatten self-determination, and you have to keep thrashing the thing back down until it stays down. We deserve our own lives, why is that even a question?

It's just so important to remember that what has happened to bring us all to this point, WAS NOT NORMAL. Our reaction to it IS NORMAL, it's also very HUMAN.

Sadly tho, many cannot or will not take a chance on getting into our heads to understand this horrible condition, and we have to live with that. Maybe it can't be understood. In some ways, even my own understanding of it and the memory of the feelings is waning as I move ahead, leaving me with very mixed feelings. I wanted understanding, I wanted support, if it all vanishes and I forget what was it for?

Hoping for that intervention and recognition is understandable, but it has to be tempered against what people will likely do, and at the end of the day, we are here on our own fighting this battle and we can only hope that the strength it brings, in the end, will be enough. You have to act like that judgement or condescension doesn't exist, because really, it doesn't. Let it go.

Hoping you all find something in all this anyway. It's a long old road, I know, but it DOES get better. You can't return to anything as it was, the future is new, and our happiness needs to be new too.

Onwards, and upwards.



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Re: Recovery notes... new stages and observations
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 06:04:33 PM »
I really liked this. Thank you for writing it.