hullo

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sj

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hullo
« on: July 10, 2018, 11:14:04 AM »
Hello to the members of this forum

I've now had 3 separate therapists say that they think I have CPTSD. I have only ever otherwise been dx with depression and anxiety, though I have a lot of stuff going on over the years that I never took to any medical or psychotherapeutic practitioners due to deep mistrust on my part. I also 'spiritualised' a lot of my experiences, which I would now describe, to some though not total degree, as attempts to normalise those experiences and give myself some sense of power and control over quite intense and overwhelming/out-there experiences (nb; I also don't completely dismiss this aspect either, as there is still some wisdom and sense and growth I've found in it all). I've also pretty much experienced the Failure to Thrive, thing, having never been able to maintain full-time study or employment for more than about a year at max since I left high school - I am now in my 40s (also living with chronic, debilitiating health issues since age 30). I have a mid-to high range ACE Score.

Anyway, the more I have come to look at CPTSD, in recent years, the more I am realising it covers all of what I have and continue to live with, so I have recently pretty much started to focus more on researching and understanding all the things related to both what causes this and how to try and recover from it.

I can't believe I have spent since age 16 (major dramatic event, tho abuse exposure started when I was in utero) actively working to try and 'heal' myself, yet always seemed to get dragged back down to Hades, no matter how hard I tried. Like trying to wrestle with ghosts. My life has been pretty much only this, and I have so much grief and rage about that. And still a lot of shame and  self-blame I am trying to release.

I'll leave my intro at that.

All the best to everyone here and to whoever reads this.

sj


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Kizzie

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Re: hullo
« Reply #1 on: July 10, 2018, 06:15:01 PM »
Hi and a very warm welcome to OOTS SJ  :heythere: 

I read some of your other posts and being in contact with and to a degree dependent on your parents because of your physical issues may be a major reason you are struggling with recovery.  The trauma is not "post" really but is still ongoing and accumulating. You have ghosts to be sure, but you also have the real thing and that can be tough to deal with.  Have you looked into disability so you have the option of going NC at some point?   

 

   

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Libby183

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Re: hullo
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2018, 05:59:01 AM »
Welcome to OOTS, SJ.

It really sounds as if you have a lifetime of trauma to deal with.

I relate very much to your comment about the abuse starting before you were even born, your shame and self blame and your "failure to thrive"  with regards to employment.  All are quite common themes on the forum, so I am sure that you will find a lot of support here,  just as I have.

I hope we can offer you support while you  work through your current situation.

Take care.

Libby.

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sj

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Re: hullo
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2018, 12:26:09 PM »
Kizzie and Libby - thank you both very much for your replies  :wave:

Within days of my posting this I had a massive, unexpected upheaval in my living and major friendship situation. I was in emergency accommodation and dealing with support services, and have since undertaken an interstate relocation. I'm still in temporary accommodation, but have just been approved, with high priority, for subsidised housing, so I am really REALLY hoping that I will now have a chance to actually settle somewhere and reap some benefits of having stable living, my own space, and growing connection to local community. A chance at new beginnings.

I'm only now coming back to this site after so many months, having been reminded of it since I am currently managing both general Christmas alienation/ grief/ etc, as well as a very recent trigger event in the form of an ostensibly generous email from my father, which is actually incredibly controlling and manipulative. It is silly, but it sort of came as a shock (I should know better by now!) as communications (email only) had been going well for some time and I had sent them considered gifts for birthdays. I have been relying on their financial assistance throughout this housing upheaval and am extremely grateful for it. The email, though, feels like a form of brinkmanship, and while initially very panicked, I am now wondering whether it is actually a good thing and my standing firm - regardless of their response - will give me greater freedom. If I lose their support, so be it, but I will not be bought or coerced.

ANYWAY, the intense panic and anxious sickness and sense of being cornered and all of those fight/flight responses combined with the already difficult emotions about 'family' that Christmas rubs in (I have been in strong EF state .... just read what EF stood for) led me to really see something more clearly than I have managed to before - being involved with my family truly is retraumatising. I do not trust any of them. I feel sacrificed and betrayed by all of them. In the midst of that really triggered space I am in a schism of desperately wanting to protect myself by having nothing to do with them, while feeling faulty and pathetic and shameful for not being able to get it together and interact with them normally - for being so over-sensitive and crazy.

"The trauma is not "post" really but is still ongoing and accumulating. You have ghosts to be sure, but you also have the real thing and that can be tough to deal with."

That is so well put, and funny that it seems more clear to me as I read it today then when I did so briefly just before the upheaval a few months ago. To look at it as 'accumulating' really gives me pause. Its meaningful and comforting to have others say things that make so much sense to my experience - who have clearly inhabited very similar spaces and are able to describe the mechanics in ways that validate and/or enlighten. Thank you.

I was just about to write more, but it is late at night and I need to stop looking at a screen and over-working my frontal lobes :P. Plus probably better to write further in more relevant sections.

I am still not settled yet, but I hope to come back and read a bit more, post a bit more. But I wanted to at least make an acknowledgment of your replies, which I appreciated   :)

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Three Roses

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Re: hullo
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2018, 12:47:39 PM »
I've no words to give you, only support and empathy. Glad you're here.  :hug:

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Kizzie

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Re: hullo
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2018, 05:10:58 PM »
Quote
In the midst of that really triggered space I am in a schism of desperately wanting to protect myself by having nothing to do with them, while feeling faulty and pathetic and shameful for not being able to get it together and interact with them normally - for being so over-sensitive and crazy.

I realized when I read your post how much I still automatically feel this way whenever I think about not being in contact with my family.  I do immediately stop the thought because I do know they are toxic, will not change and that they damage my health and emotional well-being.  But it pops up so it's a strong message we give ourselves and I understand the inner battle. 

There is simply no way to interact normally with them though because they are not normal and that's how and why we ended up with CPTSD.  The symptoms we have are the only way we could get it together enough to survive, a normal reaction to an abnormal situation, but life is about more than that and we deserve to let go and move on IMO. 

I'm sorry to hear you are in the midst of an EF, but glad to hear you have the opportunity to potential settle in and grow some roots  :thumbup:   

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sj

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Re: hullo
« Reply #6 on: December 18, 2018, 01:11:15 AM »
I've no words to give you, only support and empathy. Glad you're here.  :hug:

Thank you, Three roses  :)
the little byline about CPTSD being injury, not illness reminded me of a new framework that has been developed in the UK which has as it's premise (and I am kinda paraphrasing) - it's not 'What is wrong with you?', but 'What has happened to you?'

I realized when I read your post how much I still automatically feel this way whenever I think about not being in contact with my family.  I do immediately stop the thought because I do know they are toxic, will not change and that they damage my health and emotional well-being.  But it pops up so it's a strong message we give ourselves and I understand the inner battle.   
Yes - it is SOOOOO strong. It's incredible, really, just how deep the programming goes.

There is simply no way to interact normally with them though because they are not normal and that's how and why we ended up with CPTSD.  The symptoms we have are the only way we could get it together enough to survive, a normal reaction to an abnormal situation, but life is about more than that and we deserve to let go and move on IMO.     

Yes - it's truly becoming more and more realised in me that there is no genuine happy outcome to look forward to in this story. But I seem to need to work through steps of a process and I think it relates to needing to make decisions from a place of more clear insight and realisation, than from a place that is some combination of triggered and intellectual. Not sure if that makes sense.

What I have been practicing, with the help of my psychologist, is to work out primarily what is good for me, what my values and needs are, communicate without expectation and also know what my boundaries are and stick to them. Having MC via email allows me the space and distance and time I need to manage my PTSD responses and come back to things when I am ready. I have been learning a great deal from this that has been rich and rewarding, eg; learning to embody an understanding that I'm allowed  (gasp!  :aaauuugh: ) to wait on a reply and respond when I am ready, and even that I am allowed to decide things that others do not like or agree with. Finally understanding that I am allowed to do such (outrageous  ;) ) things is freeing me from layers of guilt and shame that would previously have either stopped me from doing them or haunted me if I had. And that's not to say the guilt and shame are gone (as referenced in 'schism' comment), but by giving myself more time and space I am more able to see those toxic responses more quickly and clearly and getting better at putting them down. There are other things, too, and somehow actually practising them with the people I'm most damaged by is helping me build something solid in myself and helping me be my own best advocate - I'm learning to value myself. Also, as I've mentioned previously, it has been extremely difficult to survive financially without my family's assistance, especially with my health being very poor, so I have felt that I have needed to find a way to be in touch and receive needed support, while also not compromising on my boundaries. It has been tricky and tiring and I often think the vigilance and ongoing management required in this set-up is not sustainable, even if doing so has been an intrinsic part of my survival needs. Basically, I still feel I need to work through the process and arrive at that point organically - that is, if I am to make that final, definitive cut, it is because I finally truly know and accept it is the only healthy way to move forward with my life.

What I'm working on is being able to stand my ground in doing what works for me and not doing what hurts me. I know that doing so is likely to cause a negative response from FOO, but when I communicate from that more grounded, clear space, in my own time, I feel more capable of backing myself. Having my psychologist onside helps enormously too. My 'strength', if it can be called that, is that I am willing to go NC, even though that guarantees my loss of financial buffering. Being more elderly and with increasing age-related health issues, my parents do not want want me to go NC (which is also a source of great pain and angst for me, as I would dearly love to be able to have more contact with them before they die, and am aware that them dying while we are estranged will also bring it's own set of emotional burdens). But my father, in particular, is always trying to push boundaries, take control and ownership (my mother has said and done really cruel and damaging things, but she is less manipulative). I am learning to interact on my terms and not allow them to force their way, and even though it is stressful at times, there is also something empowering in it for me - I'm starting to see their behaviours more clearly for what they are and not be drawn in. This is only possible with the email only contact, as I know trying to speak directly and/or be in their company would be dangerously messy for me.

Sorry if this is over-long. I was not expecting to write so much, but once I started I seemed to need to keep trying to articulate something. I'm also feeling a bit more calm and clear-headed today, so that is some relief.

Again, I appreciate the responses.  :)

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Kizzie

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Re: hullo
« Reply #7 on: December 22, 2018, 07:20:34 PM »
 It sounds like you're doing some really good recovery work  :yes:    :cheer:     :thumbup:     :applause:    :hug:

It's possible that what you see as a "genuine happy outcome" might change as you move forward.  There can be silver linings to the cards we were dealt, but it can take time though to see them as such.