Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder .. Complex PTSD, C-PTSD or CPTSD.
It is a condition where you experience some symptoms of PTSD along with some additional symptoms, such as,
• Difficulty controlling your emotions.
• Feeling very hostile or distrustful towards the world.
• Constant feelings of emptiness or hopelessness.
• Feeling as if you are permanently damaged or worthless.
• Feeling as if you are completely different to other people.
• Feeling like nobody can understand what happened to you.
• Avoiding friendships and relationships or finding them very difficult.
• Often experiencing dissociative symptoms such as depersonalisation or derealisation.
• Regular suicidal feelings.
• At times you will feel that nothing was
going to end the distress you are feeling.
• You might be experiencing more than 10 flashbacks a day of the Abuse you suffered as a child.
It will be a long process of recovery with lots of bumps along the road.
But with long term therapy with someone you can to trust your life will change.
What Causes Complex PTSD?
The types of Traumatic Events that can cause Complex PTSD include,
• Ongoing domestic Violence or Abuse.
• Repeatedly witnessing Violence or Abuse.
• Torture, Kidnapping or Slavery.
• Being a prisoner of war.
You are more likely to develop Complex PTSD if,
• You experienced Trauma at an early age.
• The Trauma lasted for a long time.
• Escape or rescue were unlikely or impossible.
• You have experienced Multiple Traumas.
• You were harmed by someone close to you.
Developing PTSD after experiencing domestic violence is not something you will be prepared for.
Physically you can leave your old home.
Mentally you can still be there.
The prison is no longer the house it is your mind.
Memories you don’t wish to bury but it is in your mind more than you can control.
• Tips on coping with Flashbacks.
Flashbacks can be very distressing but there are things you can do that might help, like,
• Focus on your breathing.
When you are frightened you might stop breathing normally.
This increases feelings of fear and panic so it can help to concentrate on breathing slowly in and out while counting to five.
• Carry an object that reminds you of The Present.
Some people find it helpful to touch or look at a particular object during a flashback.
This might be something you decide to carry in your pocket or bag or something that you have with you anyway such as a keyring or a piece of jewellery.
• Tell yourself that you are Safe.
It may help to tell yourself that The Trauma is over and you are safe now.
It can be hard to think in this way during a flashback so it would help to write down or record some useful phrases at a time when you are feeling better.
• Comfort yourself.
You could curl up in a blanket, cuddle a pet, listen to soothing music or watch a favourite film.
• Keep a Diary.
Making a note of what happens when you have a flashbacks could help you spot patterns in what triggers these experiences for you.
You might also learn to notice early signs that are beginning to happen.
• Try grounding techniques.
Grounding techniques can keep you connected to the present and help you cope with flashbacks or intrusive thoughts.
You could describe your surroundings out loud or count objects of a particular type or colour.
You can’t stop the waves but you can learn to surf.
Through PTSD recovery journey you will learn that emotions come and go in waves.
It’s best not to fight against it but ride along with it.
• Get to know your triggers.
You might find that certain experiences, situations or people seem to trigger flashbacks or other symptoms.
These might include specific reminders of Past Trauma such as smell, sound, words, places or particular types of books or films.
Some people find things especially difficult on significant dates such as anniversary of A Traumatic Experience.
• Confide in someone.
Lots of people who experience PTSD find it hard to open up to others.
This may be because you feel unable to talk about what has happened to you.
However you don’t need to be able to describe The Trauma to tell someone how you are currently feeling.
• Give yourself time.
Everyone has their own unique response to Trauma and it is important to take things at your own pace.
It may not be helpful to talk about your experiences before you feel ready.
Try to be patient with yourself and don’t judge yourself harshly for needing time and support to recover from PTSD.
• Try Peer Support.
Peer support brings together people who have had similar experiences which some people find very helpful.
There is always hope.
With the right treatment and support things will get better.
• Find specialist support.
You might find it useful to contact an organisation that specialises in advice and support for PTSD.
It could also be helpful to find an organisation with expertise in the particular type of Trauma you have experienced.
Coping with PTSD can be exhausting.
You might feel like you can’t find the energy to take care of yourself but looking after your physical health can make a difference to how you feel emotionally so you can try to,
• Think about your diet.
Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help you cope when things that feels difficult.
• Try to exercise.
Exercise can be really helpful for your mental wellbeing.
• Spend time outside.
The outside world might feel overwhelming but spending time in green space can boost your wellbeing.
• Avoid Drugs and Alcohol.
While you might want to use drugs or alcohol to cope with difficult feelings, memories or physical pain, it can make you feel worse in the long run.
It can also make other problems get worse such as difficulty sleeping.