The last couple of weeks have been tough and rough. Countless irrational and illogical discussions with people in my life that have been caused by my anxiety and Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD). I kind of felt like I was not going to get out of this bad groove.
I woke up yesterday and felt really good. It was great. I ended up writing a few letters to my partner to tell her how much I appreciated and recognised her support and how grateful I am. It was lovely, and she loved the flowers too. In this post we will look at the causes, symptoms and treatments of CPTSD as well as my own personal digestion of the condition right at the end.
So let’s define what CPTSD is and how it impacts those that suffer from it as well as the differences between CPTSD and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
While PTSD can be a symptom of CPTSD it is now a separate condition altogether, the differences mainly being:
For example, you could be diagnosed with PTSD if you were sexually assaulted but you could be diagnosed with CPTSD if you were consistently sexually abused while other abuses such as neglect or abandonment occur.
Those who are diagnosed with CPTSD will have issues in relationships (professional and personal), have trust issues and can dissociate from their feelings or memories, among others.
Generally if you are diagnosed with CPTSD due to sexual abuse then you most likely suffer from a schema – which is a cognitive framework that recognises consistent thoughts or behaviours. There are around 18 different types of negative schemas (Highlighted in bold are my personal schemas):
- Abandonment or instability
- Mistrust or abuse
- Emotional deprivation
- Defectiveness or shame
- Social isolation or alienation
- Dependence or incompetence
- Vulnerability to harm or illness
- Enmeshment or undeveloped self
- Entitlement or grandiosity
- Approval seeking or recognition seeking
- Negativity or pessimism
You can already tell there is so much to manage here and that’s without really looking at any additional anxieties you may suffer. So how do you overcome this? Fortunately, there are a few methods to treat CPTSD;
- Eye movement desensitisation reprocessing (EMDR)
- Medication (Antidepressants)
It should be understood that CPTSD and PTSD might be with you for your entire life but the intention as a person with the conditions should be on how to manage it and mitigate it within your life. Activities such as:
- Finding work
- Taking up a hobby
Can help you in the sense that your mind will be focused on these new activities you are engaging in and less on the triggers around you. My own favourites include doing yoga, finding a very secluded area during the week and relaxing (think a lake park), mountain biking and reading fantasy novels.
The reason I wrote this though was to recognise something I think is important in overcoming the impacts of CPTSD, PTSD, Anxiety and your negative schemas. I wrote a letter to my partner explaining the impacts of these conditions, the present impacts and the future impacts to allow her the opportunity to re-evaluate our relationship. She’s a supportive girl and of course as long as we are together and I am fighting against it that’s all that matters.
So stay strong people, find your support network, communicate your thoughts and help yourself and others in understanding your conditions and your triggers.