Post 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!