I want to share something with you that is very difficult for me to share. In fact there is a little voice inside my head that tells me to push this away as deep as I can, so that nobody will ever know. That’s the trouble with shame. It only survives in the dark mucky places of our soul, where it festers and eats away at you.
I’m not looking for pity, I’m really not, but I’m constantly uneasy and every day it is pretty much like getting up and going to war. Once I shift into the mindset of ‘Yeah, you’re alive. It’s tough. Let’s do what we can today,‘ it’s easier.
So, here I find myself typing about CPTSD, or complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and how it gets to turn a funny, loving, and positive person, into a blubbering fool who is ready to just give up on everything she worked so hard for, and wishes only just to disappear, simply to make it stop.
See, most of you will have heard of PTSD. Most will relate it to veterans. Some may realize that it may also be caused by other traumas, like violent crimes or traffic accidents. For me the traumatic event was pretty much the first 32 years of my life. That’s where the C comes into the mix. Without wanting to give you all an essay on PTSD here (we have plenty of those), let’s leave it at this:
“People who experience chronic trauma often report additional symptoms alongside formal PTSD symptoms, such as changes in their self-concept and the way they adapt to stressful events.” (From: PTSD: National Center for PTSD)
Imagine If You Will…
I am just going to ask you to imagine something you are afraid of. Heights or spiders or some such. Something that, rationally, you know is not going to hurt you. But when you are confronted with it, it makes your heart rate jump, gives you the chills, and makes your hair stand on end. Your body reacts as if you are facing a threat. You either freeze or run. But if you override your fear response with rational thought, nothing will happen. You can just step down the ladder, or walk past the spider
So, now imagine that it is not just a minor threat that you feel. You feel like you are going to DIE,
And really, you should because you are a great big disappointment and you fail at everything, and by the way no one will or has ever loved you.
How long did it take you ratio to talk you down from that 3 step ladder?
How long do you think it takes me to talk myself down from that emotional ledge?
I am not saying that every time I am triggered I end up on that ledge. Sometimes it is more of a three step ladder, other times it is the third floor… today it was Mt Everest, so yeah I broke down in sobbing cries in the middle of afternoon lattes. I was already planning my escape. I was ready to run away. Go to another place, where I imagined I would not be triggered anymore. The problem being that… my head would move right along with me, and therewith… so would my ledge.
So, What Are The Triggers I Am Talking About?
Could be anything. In the last few weeks and months I have been pushing myself through a hectic move and a whole lot of complicating factors surrounding it. So, at the moment a trigger could be going to the supermarket, or taking a break from work. I know that I need the break and that I need to shop for food, in fact I know that taking proper care of myself is really the only way to battle those voices in my mind. The challenge then is, that those same voices are telling me I am not worth the effort.
Don’t get me wrong! I LOVE MY LIFE!!! I have amazing friends, I love my job and my clients are such special people all of whom are such amazing additions to my life. I am super proud of the business I have built in less than 3 years. I am grateful for so many things, and honestly I am so proud of how far that funny, loving and positive person has come since she decided that enough was enough only 4 years ago.
I am also not about to lock myself in the basement and throw away the keys. I am after all still that funny, loving and positive person. I just have waves of utter despair wash me away sometimes.
Luckily, I have my family of choice. They help me amplify my rational thoughts. They remind me of the fun, the love, the positivity. Of my talents, achievements. They remind me that I am, and for ever will be loved. And when they do, I slowly but surely manage to convince my body that I am safe now, and I do not have to keep living in survival mode for all eternity.
So, Why Am I Telling You All This?
Because I know that each and every one of you knows at least one other person (if not more), who is either dealing with or recovering from extended trauma. Survivors of physical and/or emotional spousal or parental abuse, survivors of spiritual abuse, survivors of bullying…
I promise you, you know some people who are pushing this away, because… well we are ashamed of what happened to us. We feel stupid for having allowed it to happen. We feel weak for not having fought back… and what we really need to know? We need to feel that we are loved and appreciated… cracks and all.
Don’t worry, I am going to keep on fighting. I continue to learn better ways to manage the triggers and to talk myself down from that emotional ledge.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Oh, and go out and spread some love and kindness among your friends. You never know who is suffering in silence ♥