PTSD. A constant battle living my everyday life with Complex PTSD. When I was diagnosed with it, my whole world crumbled. Never once in my life has it occured to me that I would be suffering from PTSD.
I’ve always held myself together (chaotic mess) but I survived. I’m a survivor. Every now and then I have episodes where it never made sense. And no one seemed to understand what was really going though with me. That my behaviours are not who I’am but what I’ve “masked” to survive.
The nightmares, sleepless nights, uncontrollable overwhelming anger and sadness, the seperation anxiety which causes the constant need for my husband to be with me physically round the clock. These were just some of it to name a few. And no one truly understood. I was always left alone, feeling helpless or getting blamed. My mental illness terrorised and kept me captive for years. My conditions were triggered by the multiple events in my life – early years as a child, when I was a teenager and even as an young adult.
Signs and symptoms of C- PTSD
The signs and symptoms varies for each person. Here are some typical symptoms below:
1. Reliving the traumatic event usually caused by childhood or early years.
2. Constant nightmares
3. Repetivite images, or sensations
4. Physical symptoms such as pain, blurred vision, increased heart rate, sweating profusely
5. Angry outburst
6. Sleeping problems
7. Difficulty concentrating
8. Avoiding certain places or events
9. Feelings of guilt, shame, anxiety, hopelessness, and or sucidal
10. Avoiding friends or family, difficulty to maintain relationships
The causes of Complex PTSD
There are various types of traumatic events that can cause Complex PTSD. Here are some below:
– childhood abuse
– mental, physical or emotional abuse
– ongoing witness of violence or abuse
– forced to work as a sex slave or raped
– being a prisoner of war
Complex PTSD can happen to any and everyone.
You are more likely to suffer from it if you have experienced the following:
1. Experience the trauma over an extended period of time
2. Harmed by some close to you
3. The trauma happened during your childhood
4. Experience of multiple traumas
As early as I could remember at or about 6 years old, I was an extremely cheerful, witty and smart little girl with high hopes and dreams like everyone else. Never did I ever imagined I would have to deal with something called “trauma“
Everything seemed to changed overnight
My life took for a turn unexpectedly when I was 9 years old. Everything seemed to changed overnight. The cheerful, happy and smart little girl disappeared into thin air. For me, there was no place safe on this earth, no one i could trust, no one who cared enough for me, the world was a place of danger. I wouldn’t believe or accept anyone who tried to get close to me. My doors were shut and this began with a place called “home”.
At the age of 9 years old i’d rather sleep on the streets then return home, I’d rather stay in the mental hospital then home, id rather loiter in the neighbour hood then home. Anywhere but home was a better, happier and safer place for me. Smoking, intentionally taking drugs, forcing myself to alcohol, having sex with different men thinking that I would be able to survive another day and that I might find what I’m searching for.
But I got tired and I wanted to give up so i attempted to end my life.
The Pain Doesn’t Go Away
Many counsellors tried to talk to me, but I refused to be helped. I rejected them, because I have believed that “if my home isn’t a safe place and the family who was supposed to care for me, are the ones who hurt me. Why else would an outsider care for me” and till today this is etched in my mind. This became my way of life and how I perceived the world to be.
I’m 28 years old this year, nothing about me is happy or cheerful, neither am I positive. I’ve lost myself for as long as I remember. Today, I’m filled with negativity, shame, guilt and I’m still in pain. This never changed even though I’ve grown older and become a mother of 3. It simply isn’t just going to go away.
Reliving The Moments As A Child
In fact, I’m often reliving the moments I experienced as a child and becoming my kids perpetrator.
What happened, I wonder. What was it that caused the tremendous change in a person, what could possibly be different? Was I born bad? Am I really a nasty person? Im depressed, the negativity floods my mind. I’ve got so much wounds that aren’t visible. And the people in my life tells me to “get over it and just move on”
My Therapy Sessions and What The Therapist Said
10 years ago when I first went for my therapy I learned about my major depression and anxiety. In between they said that my mask is my “Bipolar” which I was also diagnosed with. That didn’t make any sense. How could “Bipolar” be a mask to hide away the root of the problem.
As I Read More About PTSD
8 years later, today I’m learning about my trauma C-PTSD. What is PTSD? I went to read up more about it and it was terrifying. Everything I read seemed to be referring to me. But I wasn’t able to handle that. I wasn’t able to face up to the fact that I was abused, I was traumatised, I was neglected, and I am shattered. I hated it, the pain was too much too bear. All these years, I’ve put on a mask, I’ve lived a lie. I’ve been told and I believed that I’m the problem, I’m the cause of the problems, I’m lazy, I’m difficult, everything was my fault.
Because the adults in my life, the family which I was supposed to have, made me believe in that. As angry and as much hate that filled me, and I kept blaming everyone and none of them took up the responsibility of me. Till this very day, they’ve chose to run away from the reality, paint a perfect image for themselves. It was easier to blame me, wasn’t it?
Being Told Straight To The Face
And now, finally, finally, someone has called out my mask a bullshit. And told me straight to my face, the little girl inside you is crying within your soul, the little girl was a victim. You were a victim. And when I heard that it got me in a state of “shock” I refused to admit it, and I refused to be the victim because it was too painful, it was too hard. It was easier to live with my mask on and blame my erratic behaviours and moods on my Bipolar, depression and anxiety. And to kept blaming myself for my sucky life. Think about it, which is easier to deal with inwards. Our moods or reliving our traumas?
You see, we can’t change or fix something without knowing what the root of the problem is. Everything and everyone has to eventually return to their own roots. And that applies to both you and me.
For me these memories and wounds will remain, there is no cure. But I can take a step towards healing so that I don’t repeat and relive the trauams towards my children. The most important thing is to to seek help and it’s never too late to do so. Help is available, talk to someone, you don’t need to be at the mercy of your past. You can live again. And if it’s not because of the “someone” who called out my “mask the bullshit” I would have continued living a lie and being the abuser in my children’s life.