Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)

drooping twoPost Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is is a mental health condition some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Symptoms can include flashbacks, nightmares, severe anxiety, and uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) is a condition where those afflicted experience some of the same symptoms of PTSD along with additional symptoms, such as difficulty controlling emotions or feeling very hostile or distrustful towards the world.

I am diagnosed with CPTSD. It’s an insidious condition that can be incredibly debilitating and lonely. In my most recent post, Dark Horse, I’ve tried to paint a picture of how mysterious it is and how overwhelming it feels when CPTSD comes to haunt. For me, once I fall into emotional disarray following triggering events, I have to work very hard to unbundle all of the difficult memories and re-balance myself.

I’m learning how to recognize my CPTSD triggers. I’m learning to pay attention instead of ignoring my own internal warning signs. I can avoid putting myself into a triggering situation when I pay attention, which is much less painful than the alternative. I will never be completely free of CPTSD, but when I take care of myself, and when I remember that CPTSD is a real thing, I am better able to manage it.  Awareness is key, and therapy is critical. Emotional honesty helps, too!

Dark Horse

Dark Horse

From what shadow does this dark horse come?
His silk-black fur streaked white with salty sweat,
he rears and gallops steadfast as he roams.

Whirling, nostrils spitting fiery foam,
he forces ironed hooves upon my chest.
From what shadow does this dark horse come?

His bloodshot eyes ablaze are set as stone.
(I groomed him once, massaged his shimmering coat!)
He gallops steadfast for his lonely home.

I know him, yet I am quite unknown.
He does not heed my sacrificial heart.
From what shadow does this dark horse come?

When I grab his mane and cast my bones
on his bare back, he bucks with no regret.
Leaving me, he gallops toward his home.

He emerges all at once:  handsome,
muscles rippling, downy ears alert.
From what shadow has this darkness come?
Alone, it gallops steadfast as it comes.

Laurie Schaffler
December 31, 2014