Required for Healing from C-PTSD For Me

level of cruelty

As I mentioned before, I was diagnosed with PTSD in 1993, almost 2 yrs after the house fire I had, where we lost everything we owned, and I almost lost my life. The 31st anniversary for that is coming on Thursday, the 17th. I was in counselling for that for over 5 years till I reached the point of symptom management. The worst thing for me then was also the fear, but over having another fire. I would unplug everything I owned, except the stove and fridge, before I went anywhere, and it took a long time to get past that. I still freeze for a second when I smell burning wood, but it passes quickly these days… I share more on that in a couple of days!

I haven’t talked much about Quora Digest on this site, but I get in there every day. It is a great place for posters and I find articles sometimes that strike a cord within. This is one such article. I heard similar things from counsellors in the past and even with my current one. I found this site early in 2018, with Cherie Whites site. They have been the main things I access for clarity on my own personal situation.

I haven’t been able to find too much info on Tenant Bullies online, most building staff don’t bother to complain, they know its a waste of time. Most Building staff I know, prefer to move and get out of rentals when tenants become too demanding. So many people I know, no longer work in the industry in Ontario, as it has gotten really bad. You see a lot of info on tenants claiming landlord’s are being a Bully though! I have never seen websites with contents like stellareddy.com, sjtomemberkevinlundy.com, 859kennedyroad.com, and the others. They are unique to anything I have found before.

Healing can be done, with time, patience, and above all, determination. I have all that in spades these days. I don’t have anyone or anything to interfere with my mental health recovery. In the past year, I have normalized my fear levels, which was the main thing for me. My fear was uncontrollable during those 2 yrs, it sent me into psychosis at times. I am so happy to say I have had no psychosis since I moved here to NL!

I started my healing journey in 2018 once I got help and I haven’t stopped since. Once I started understand gaslighting, how it is done, and started seeing it in their written documents, I haven’t gone back. Every day, I reinforce my personal beliefs over their words in my head I read every day for over 2 yrs, and every day it is easier to do. Working on my own internal experiences was what I needed to do, not focus on why they were doing this to me. I don’t care anymore why they feel they can do these things, as I know I never will get it. I don’t want to think at their level to be honest….

I had a chat yesterday, and I came to see how lucky I am, my abusers were strangers, not my partner like so many. I have a very supportive partner who tries really hard to meet my needs and if it wasn’t for him, I would be in a worse state right now than I am. I know I am very lucky and I appreciate him more than he will ever know.

During my worst times, yes, I did treat him with lack of trust and disrespect, as I did lump him in with everyone else back when I lost my mind in July 2018. I lost trust in everyone and it took awhile to gain it back for me, even with him. That was my first period of psychosis and I don’t remember much of those 2 days, but when I came back to myself, I found my clothes all packed up, even my computer was all taken down and packed away. I was gonna leave, go live in my car and get away. My husband still won’t tell me everything I said and did those 2 days, just says his wife was not there. I can imagine how scary this time was for him, he told me he didn’t sleep for days, afraid of what I might do, and he still worked! It’s scary for me to even think about!

I found myself on the phone with the Mental Health Helpline that day and they saved me, to be honest. I ended up seeing a psychiatrist that day too, at a walk in clinic not far from my home. That was July 2018 and I was in to see a doctor that Nov. This act saved my life, as I was very suicidal in those days.

I felt so hopeless, for a long time. I felt I had no support, was being told every which way to “let it go” “give it time” “it will be over soon” “wait for divisional court” by so many afraid of the drama getting into their lives. That didn’t help, the lack of support I had then.

I am so glad all that is gone these days. I had to support myself, which is what I did. I found my own voice once again. I may have gone about it wrong in the beginning, I became a Bully myself, but I completely understand why now. There is even a term for it, Reactive Abuse!

I have learned too much now, progressed too far these days in recovering all noted below, that I know I will never get to this place ever again.

Daily Affirmations is what I do, every morning when I get up. It is second nature to me now. Retraining your brain to trust not only others, but your own judgement, is hard once it has been destroyed, but I am so very grateful it can be done, not just once for me, but twice! I am living proof, just like so many others out there who have been targets of such nasty abuse and suffered such emotional dysregulations! You can recover and live very productive lives! That is my plan. I recovered enough last time to have a very good career, now I am recovered enough to have a very enjoyable retirement!

 

Antonieta Contreras

Curriculum Chair at Institute for Contemporary Psychotherapy Mar 4

How hard is it to overcome a complex PTSD?

It may be hard. Healing takes time, effort, and a lot of work because complex trauma develops through many years of straining your nervous system. But healing is totally possible. It’s like a diet. If it took you 2 years to gain 20 pounds, it’s going to take more than a week to lose those pounds, right? well, if your system suffered alterations for years, it may not be realistic to think it will heal in a couple of months.

One of the reasons why people don’t heal from complex trauma is because they focus on the negative memories from the past. That’s not effective or productive unless there is a lot more work done in the other areas that suffered alterations.

I divide these areas of concern into ‘Trauma Domains’ as follows:

  • Dysregulation: traumatized individuals need to work on the sympathetic vs parasympathetic lack of coordination, evaluate and modify the strategies commonly used for survival, overcome survival mode by normalizing levels of fear, etc. It’s totally possible to find homeostasis again since the brain looks for it.
  • Cognition& Perception: people need to work on their narratives, schemas, internalized beliefs, learning abilities, etc. They also need to work on tolerating and developing positive affect. Perception gets affected big time and it may take a lot of work to reprogram the brain connectivity to regain objectivity and faith in oneself and others, but it’s doable.
  • Emotion: emotions become emotional states that interfere with the life of the traumatized individual. The habitual emotional states need to be reviewed as well as other traumatizing emotions such as shame, guilt, defeat, anxiety, etc. It’s also necessary to work on triggered emotions, dissociated emotions, losses, scripts, etc. Learning to take control over emotional reactions instead of allowing emotions to run your life is the goal. Totally achievable.
  • Memory: besides processing traumatic memories, intrusive memories, backlashes, dissociated memories, etc., the person needs to learn and accept that the past is stored to inform the present, not to make it miserable. Once the memories are processed and reconsolidated, the past stays in the past.
  • Neural Activity: depending on when the traumatization happened, the maturation of the brain, its waves and connectivity got affected. There is a need to work on disconnection, brain asymmetry, medical issues, learning, mental habits, etc. to catch up as much as possible. This is the area that may be compromised and difficult to fully recover but progress can be made.
  • Dissociation: all the components that suffered disconnection need to be attended to, normalized, and overcome. Dissociation heals as long as it’s not feared or ignored.
  • Self: personality, changes in identity, fragmentation or splitting, dissociated from self, disembodiment, false self, observing ego, etc. There are many alterations in this domain. The self needs to develop and it depends on a strong prefrontal cortex which requires a lot of work. Needs a lot of self-reflection, and the support of the nervous system, cognition, emotional stability, etc. All the domains assist each other. This is also completely doable.
  • Attachment: people with attachment issues need to find attachment figures, attachment strategies, community, connection, and trust. We can all aim to find a way to securely attach even if we need to use our imagination.

That list includes all the areas that need to be reviewed and possibly work on in order to overcome C-PTSD. Not everyone has big issues on each, but each should be at least taken into consideration because the possibility of having issues there is not zero. the list may seem long and demanding of hard work but it’s achievable. Healing requires determination and tolerance.

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