What is PTSD & CPTSD?
PTSD – Post-traumatic stress disorder is a psychiatric disorder that refers to a set of reactions that can develop in someone who has experienced or witnessed a traumatic event that endangers their life or the safety of others.
CPTSD – Complex post-traumatic stress disorder is an extension of post-traumatic stress disorder. It is when a person has experienced several traumatic events.
Examples of trauma experiences are: war or torture; mental, physical, or sexual assault; a threatening incident or accident; or natural disasters such as bushfires, floods, pandemics, or continuing, complex, stressful situations.
This is the stage at which a person experiences intense fear, worthlessness, and/or grief. PTSD and CPTSD sufferers are also prone to the elevation of other mental health disorders such as acute anxiety, depression, addictions and self sabotage.
Symptom’s of PTSD & CPTSD:
As the diagram below outlines the three main common categories that both conditions experience. These are:
- Anxiety and depression are very common symptoms of having either PTSD or CPTSD. Self-sabotage and addiction are also common ways to try to numb the experiences one is having.
- Avoidance – avoiding any reminders of the trauma that one has experienced. These can relate to thoughts, feelings, people and places.
- Re – living the flashbacks of trauma experienced. Having reoccurring nightmares, and unwanted memories.
- Arousal Hyper-vigilance. They experience very heightened anxiety, and due to their nightmares, fears, etc, they develop sleeping problems.
CPTSD also experience the following:
- Feeling guilty
- Feeling worthless
- Emotion regulation
- Intimacy problems
- Relationship problems
For any other reoccurring symptoms or to manage the above outlined ones, please consult your medical professional to find the right strategies for you.
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Who can Develop PTSD and CPTSD?
Anyone who has been through a traumatic event can develop PTSD. Some people, however, are at a higher risk because of their professional or personal life choices.
Professional options include, but are not limited to:
- Combat trained workers – military and any other protective services.
- Front-line workers – include ambulance drivers, police officers, firefighters, and other emergency responders.
- Reporters – being in a dangerous situation and/or covering traumatic events as a journalist.
- Healthcare workers – particularly those in emergency rooms and intensive care units.
- EOD technicians – who are trained to detect, disarm, and dispose of explosive threats in the harshest conditions.
- Stunt or car performers – individuals who risk their lives to race or to perform stunts.
Personal situations and life choices:
- Child abuse – mental, physical, and/or sexual abuse.
- Rape or sexual abuse – it can either be a one-time occurrence or an on-going occurrence. As an example, a pattern of behaviour committed by a partner, husband, caregiver, family member, friend, or other public figure.
- Physical or mental abuse – long periods of mental and/or physical abuse committed by a partner, husband, caregiver, family member, friend, or other public figure.
- Mental health issues – a history of traumatic experiences, as well as other mental health issues.
- Living situation – this can include living in a toxic and dangerous environment. Living in a war zone or in a neighbourhood where turf wars or high crime rates are common. Or by living with abusive people, or being homeless.
- Trauma collection – of ongoing drama or continuously new stressful events that keep occuring.
- Risky behaviour – entails deliberately putting oneself in danger, whether through binge drinking, drug experimentation, sexual hookups, or other risky behaviours.
Awareness About Ongoing Abusive Behaviours:
Depending on where you’re in the world, if you are involved in a dangerous situation, Please seek help immediately if you are able to.
If you live in a country with limited options and no human rights. I want you to know many people, including myself, pray and send healing out into the universe to change these inhumane injustices. We hope that your situation changes soon for you.
People who abuse others will view the abuse from a very different perspective.
They may perceive the child to be a tantrum thrower, spoiled brat, attention seeker, or the child might be misdiagnosed with another medical condition.
If your an adult you may also be accused of being an attention seeker, demanding or selfish.
Abusers frequently have no awareness of their own personal behaviours. A narcissist lacks empathy because everything is about them and not you. Therefore they are incapable of understanding how their actions could affect those around them.
We cannot change a narcissist’s behaviour, which is a severe mental health condition. Nor can we make them love us or make them happy.
Other abusers can be dealing with health issues of their own, or their behaviour might be the result of conditioning from their upbringing. Until a person learns to break free from taught behaviour and reprogram their subconscious to stop the cycle of repeating ancestral patterns.
As a CPTSD survivor who became aware of my own learned behaviours and patterns, in addition to the social conditioning that every generation learns. I came to the realisation that “most” parents, including my own, did the best they could with the resources, support, and mental understanding and programming that they had.
We all have experienced situations in our lives where we wished that we had reacted in a different manner.
After all we are souls having a human experience; therefore, mistakes are bound to happen as our emotional or non-existent emotions will control the outcome.
We may re-act as a result of our own personal trauma; tiredness and exhaustion; a lack of resources or personal support; or a short or long-term illness. There are so many circumstances to take into consideration.
I am not endorsing or justifying any improper conduct, not even my own. I’m not downplaying any trauma that you, I, or anyone else has gone through.
Unfortunately, there are some soulless individuals who enjoy seeing other people suffer. Then there are others that are so broken that they are unable to look beyond their own suffering to see what they are doing to someone else.
After my own marriage ended, I became a single mother for the last ten years of my children’s childhood.
Without his or anyone else’s help, I was the sole caregiver for our children. I went to work and studied at night to continue my education, as I left school at a young age. I also began my own recovery process as the last several years of my marriage became very toxic. Which heightening my own CPTSD journey.
I did not always manage my children’s problems, their demands, and their turbulent teenage years to the best to my ability as I was a single, exhausted parent with no support. I had to establish some strict guidelines. I did not always fully understand how their father’s disappearance had also impacted my children’s emotions and behaviour.
I hope that by sharing a little of my story and raising awareness, I can help others overcome their condition as I have.
The 12 Steps of PTSD:
These steps can also be used for CPTSD.
Activating Event(s) – Any event that causes distress
Pain – Emotional, spiritual & physical pain
Confusion – Trying to remember; can I trust my memory?
Guilt – Feeling guilty; how responsible am I?
Shame – Filled with Shame; who else knows?
Self-Worth Dissipating – Feeling worthless
Anxiety – Mixed episodes occur
Fear – PTSD is now forming
Anger – Fight or flight is now developing
Resentment – Distrusting others
Depression – Self-esteem in a downward spiral
Acute Anxiety – Panic/anxiety episodesRandy J. Hartman Ph.D
By understanding and having acceptance of each step, one can use these as stepping stones to heal.
We don’t need to go down deep into a dark rabbit hole, nor do we have to dismiss and push any emotions down into our subconscious mind. Unfortunately, it always has a way of rearing its ugly head.
I have covered a variety of methods for treating these conditions by oneself in my articles on anxiety and depression. Regularly listen to or read these articles. You will be more willing to attempt new things when your energy changes.
However, I am aware from personal experience that when someone is experiencing severe anxiety, they have little energy left for anything else and self-love is the last thing that one can relate. However, it may be an option further down the track.
Next week, I will discuss the 12 steps in greater detail and introduce another step of my own that I feel that it is very important to include. Until next week, stay safe and be kind to yourself. With love and healing sent your way – Sherry. 💚🙏