If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?

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Bella

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If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« on: October 22, 2020, 11:21:10 PM »
Hi!
I was just wondering; would you consider CPTSD as being a "permanent" condition? Like diabetes fx? If you get diabetes, you have it for life, even though losing weight and eating the right kind of food can eliminate symptoms. If you let yourself go, gain weight and eat junk again, the diabetes will resurface.. Is it like that with CPTSD too? Like, I know one can learn to manage symptoms and function much better in daily life, but will you then "lose" your diagnosis and be considered cured? Or will CPTSD kind of stay in your "system" for life? Don't know if my question made sense, or just sounds stupid...
« Last Edit: October 22, 2020, 11:38:46 PM by Bella »

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Violet Magenta

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2020, 11:07:07 PM »
I think it's a good question, Bella. Just yesterday, I had a sinking feeling when reading Pete Walker's article on Emotional Flashback Management, because he says it'll always be there. I felt a bit disappointed at that thought. I guess I was hoping it could be "cured" and I could be "normal." But he is encouraging that it can be managed and life experience can be improved greatly. And it offers us strengths, too, which he also talks about--when cptsd folks are sufficiently recovered, we might become better at real intimacy and have stronger emotional intelligence than average. Here's a link to the full article (PDF): http://www.pete-walker.com/pdf/emotionalFlashbackManagement.pdf

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C.

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2020, 11:17:20 AM »
Bella, I don't think that your questions sounds stupid at all.  I've grappled with this idea myself as well.  In fact I thought that I was "cured" because I didn't have an emotional flash back for a few years.  But then I did and have been coming back to this site off and on for the past several months again.  Like your reflection on the subject it seems difficult that the illness itself could go away entirely since it's cause is trauma.  And the traumatic events are a part of our past that always exists.  However, as you mention, it does seem that the symptoms go away if well treated.  And, at least in my case, it's not just treatment.  Sometimes real life situations happen that are out of our control and can trigger the symptoms to start up again on some level.  And in that sense perhaps it's somewhat different from diabetes.  The e symptoms the second time around were much easier to treat, at least in my experience.  I was aware.  I knew how to begin to address them and am acting on that knowledge.  So ultimately any resurgence w/the symptoms can be met w/an equally strong response of hope and effective treatment.  And as was mentioned an awareness that as hard as the symptoms sometimes feel we have some strengths from this illness in that we often have a highly develope sense of compassion and empathy, plus an ability to develop high levels of intimacy.

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Blueberry

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #3 on: October 24, 2020, 05:32:09 PM »
Bella, your question makes total sense.

I imagine that it might depend on the individual person. My T said a few years ago that things will get easier for me with time spent in therapy... He didn't say it would all go away. That idea may stem from observing me. I consider my healing time fairly slow - but it is what it is - and I don't do EF management every single time an EF crops up. Somebody else may be more rigorous with these things and may be able to get rid of cptsd faster and/or for good.

It could also depend on things like how old you are and/or how many decades you've spent accumulating more trauma :aaauuugh:  So if you get into therapy in your early 20's with a good T who doesn't retraumatise you and stuff and are also lucky to not be traumatised by other outside events (or your own FOO), maybe you can get rid of cptsd totally too. Or as C. did seemingly at least for a few years. I'd take a few years over not at all myself.

Even my partial healing has brought significant changes to my life that I'm really glad have come about. So imo half a cure is better than no cure at all.

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woodsgnome

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2020, 06:44:35 PM »
As long as we have a 'past' it seems that cptsd and most of its symptoms can recycle. So rather than rely on a fadeout scenario it might be best to just be aware of its presence lurking in the background.

I've gone through several cycles where certain aspects seemed to fade a bit, only to pop up again; maybe even with a slightly different twist. I've also learned to accept this more -- no, I don't mean that I accept how and why the past traumas nearly destroyed me, but I did survive. I can continue working to heal my reactions NOW, though, and strive to still find my way to a meaningful life.

Some approaches I've tried also support the idea that there is no foolproof permanent answer or technique. I find I'm still learning some discernment about how to walk the fine line between despair and hope, though. And I've even run into a couple of major surprises, so that's become another part of my learning curve -- to stay open to their possibilities.

In that sense recovery can be rather individualistic. I guess my whole point is just to stay aware and play with options, without being overwhelmed if and when some things still seem stuck.

Along the way, even if a full cure might not develop, there still might be ways to find enough healing to make up for that.  :)




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Bella

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #5 on: October 24, 2020, 10:45:23 PM »
Thank you all for your comments! I really appreciate it! A lot of food for thoughts there... Thank you for posting the link to Pete Walkers article, Violet Magenta! It was after reading some of his stuff all the pieces fell into place for me... my jaw dropped, cause he could explain things that had been so confusing to me for a very long time.
I do think, after reflecting a bit more about the initial question, that the trauma will always be a part of us. Just like you guys mentioned... But the effect of it, or the symptoms if you will, might go away with the right treatment. If you do manage your symptoms, you would technically not have a "syndrom" would you...? I know this is not really important in any way... I've just always loved to reflect and analyze things... sometimes too much so! But again, thank you all for reflecting with me. It makes me feel kinda... well... that I have some worth I guess...

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C.

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #6 on: October 25, 2020, 02:49:43 PM »
Bella your questions and thoughts are very insightful.  I agree that I to get alot from peter walker and specifically the article you mention.  I  also want to address what you mention about the syndrome...
When I first discovered the title cptsd I felt incredibly validated.  I wasnít alone.  I fit. But imho Iíve noticed that the term and description at least for me is evolving.  And one of the beauties of life, of science is that as we learn we are able to reflect and adjust to increased understanding. So no, I donít use the term disorder/syndrome any longer for me.  I prefer relational trauma survivor.  I identify as surviving an experience and disorder or syndrome now sounds like more permanent damage?... and Iíve noticed this reflected in the language here on this site as well... more use of the term relationship trauma...Perhaps itís simply a matter of semantics?... anyway thatís one perspective on how to integrate the terms and illness into oneís identity...

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woodsgnome

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #7 on: October 25, 2020, 04:40:24 PM »
Those who've come to live this set of events called cptsd already come overwhelmed with a heavy load. And, as C noted, the 'disorder' identifier can make it feel even yuckier.

At first it almost seems invalidating, and suggests there's something wrong with us; instead of the injured condition it more resembles. It already feels like we're 'out of sorts'. It's like the clinical terminology uses its own set of words, and then we learn and incorporate as best we can how to finally break loose of the storms that followed us here, whatever it's called.

In the end, we're people, not categories. Despite the difficulties thrown across our road, we're still traveling.  :grouphug:

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Pioneer

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #8 on: October 27, 2020, 05:53:58 AM »
Just as C. said, these thoughts are insightful and helpful! Thank you for asking your question, Bella! I have also been pondering lately about whether CPTSD is a lifelong "condition" for me. I felt much more understood and comforted when I realized that I have CPTSD and that there is a community of people who do, too - the pieces were beginning to make sense. And that has been encouraging, but there is definitely a weight to pondering the future...

I also think that we are survivors. A good friend of mine, after I told her that I have PTSD, sent me a book which another friend of hers had found helpful for dealing with PTSD. It is called "How to Survive" by John Hudson the UK military's chief survival instructor. I haven't come close to finishing the book, but one thing I realized as I was reading through the thinking patterns of someone who is trying to cope/survive a difficult situation is that I developed a lot of those thinking patterns as a child while experiencing trauma. The book has reminded me of the skills I had developed and of the characteristics that have made me the way that I am. Those also happen to be characteristics that I tend to like about myself. They shaped me.

And I think that as we go through life, our "weaknesses" also become our strengths because we have learned to cope and survive in ways that we wouldn't have otherwise. And we now have the opportunity to show compassion and care for people in ways that many don't - because we are more aware of hardships and of the pain. I have seen so much compassion and genuine care on this forum, as well as wisdom that can't be found very easily.

And this is a bit more of a comical example of having strengths as a result of CPTSD - but has anyone noticed that many of the superheroes in movies (such as the Marvel movies) have some kind of trauma or ptsd that shapes them and makes them stronger? They have to work through the trauma, but it makes them stronger in the end. And they are more relatable because of the trauma they have had to work through.

I seem to be going all over the place with this comment. I guess what I am trying to say is that past trauma and potentially CPTSD symptoms might be lifelong for us - but I think in the midst of the struggle and pain there is a lot of potential for strengths and even surprises, as Woodsgnome said.

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Bella

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Re: If you have CPTSD, do you then have it for life?
« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2020, 06:56:34 PM »
I love to hear other peoples reflections about things... gaining new perspectives is very enriching. Thank you guys! Yes, I think words in themselves can have tremendous power, both for good and for bad. Finding and using the right kind of words, both when it comes to our condition, symptoms, diagnosis and also identity, is crucial really, to how it will evolve. I guess the question shouldn't be wether or not CPTSD is for life, but more about how we let it shape us. I defenetly agree there is a huge potential for strengths after trauma.