My name is Bethany Avery, and I suffer from complex posttraumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). I started showing symptoms of C-PTSD when I was 16 years old, and I first sought treatment for my disorder when I was in college. Finding solid footing in the shaky world that C-PTSD creates has been a tough but important battle, and I’m excited to share my story and coping methods as part of the "Trauma! A PTSD Blog" at HealthyPlace.
Trauma! A PTSD Blog
When you live with complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), flashbacks can be one of the most frustrating parts of it. You may go days, weeks, or months without one, then suddenly, bam, you’re hit with a new, frustrating flashback.
Complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) misdiagnosis happens out of ignorance. Although many people are now aware of the prevalence of sexual abuse, but not nearly enough people are aware of the lifelong effects of the abuse. Unfortunately, this includes some mental health professionals who can end up missing the diagnosis of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and instead give the person a misdiagnosis.
Parenting is tough in general, but when you are raising children while living with complex PTSD, sometimes parenting seems impossible. Often trauma survivors hold themselves to a higher standard when it comes to parenting in an attempt to avoid repeating the abusive patterns of prior generations, or the opposite may happen. When you are stressed as a parent, you may overreact and be unfairly harsh with your children. As trauma survivors, it's important to stay mindful in order to avoid passing your traumas on to your kids.
It’s National Eating Disorder Awareness week, so this seems like a good time to address the connection between complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and eating disorders. Research has shown a very strong correlation between the two. Just as people who live with complex PTSD often self-medicate with drugs and alcohol, some people use eating disorders as a form of coping as well.
One of the greatest challenges of complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is quieting the inner critic. The critic develops as a result of a neglectful or abusive home in which caregivers do not provide a sense of a safe attachment in the child. Many children in this situation will enact perfectionist mode, believing if they could just be good enough or do things well enough, they can prove their worth and earn parental love. However, over time, as perfectionism fails to create the bond the child so desperately needs, anxiety and sadness build in the child.
Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and shame have a very tight relationship. So tight, in fact, the more shame you experience, the worse your PTSD symptoms can be. Often though, you may not realize shame is what is driving your PTSD.
Black-and-white thinking is common to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). When you are traumatized, especially repeatedly, you begin to believe that life is all good or all bad. Unfortunately, it’s more common to lean towards all bad, because that is what the traumatic experiences you lived through taught you.
How does complex posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) interact with making new year resolutions? Society pressures us to make grand commitments for the new year related to how we will improve, maybe even completely change, our lives. Now don’t get me wrong, I think improving your life is a great thing, but the problem is, when you have complex PTSD, failing to commit to a New Year’s resolution can result in your year beginning with shame and depression.
Most people have a tendency to minimize traumatic life events that continue to be distressing well after the event has occurred. We shame ourselves and think, "I should be over this by now," or "it wasn't that bad." Adding even more shame, family and friends may say "Why can't you just let it go?" The problem is, trauma often doesn't go away on its own and no amount of trying to convince ourselves we should be over it will change that.