Tag Archive: complex ptsd


Yeah, Me Too

To put a little context to my “me too” comment. TW/CW: all kinds of abuse, harassment, and molestation. I won’t pull any punches, this is not going to be graphic, but I am talking frankly about what happened to me. More importantly, by actually talking about this I’m working on getting a handle on all of this craziness.

Toshiya 3

Toshiya from Dir En Grey

I am a survivor of long-time abuse. My mother tried to kill me and my sister while she was trying to kill herself. I understand that she has bipolar, but it’s really hard to try to find self-worth when your mom is the one trying to kill you. To this day, this and the fact that I had to be a mother at the age of 6 to my younger sister, is why it eats away at me when people talk about how good their mothers are. Everyone has a right to share whatever they’d like on their pages. This is a cross I bare. It’s something I need to deal with.

I was beaten with a wire hanger when I was a child. I was beaten for 30 minutes while I pleaded with my mother to have her step in and stop. I’ve been beaten with wooden spoons, yard sticks, ping-pong paddles with holes drilled into it. I’ve had my mouth duct taped shut because I was squabbling with someone as a young kid. I was spanked until I was strong enough to fight back. I was neglected. I was molested as an infant and a child by neighborhood children I thought were my friends. I was repeatedly raped by a classmate for a year when I was 13 and then was publicly molested by that same person when I was 16. I’ve been emotionally abused, put down, gaslit by boyfriends. I had a boyfriend hold my wrist so hard they left black bruises. I’ve been molested by men when I was too drunk to consent… to then be blamed for it and the man’s side taken. I have a boyfriend who still actively try to destroy my life because I left them. I have been called crazy, fat, ugly, stinky, stupid, idiot, and more names than I can care to count by friends and classmates. I had a boss ask me specifically about my private life.

Yes, it happens so much more than it’s talked about. Yes, it happens to men too. I have two dear male friends who were raped by women. Some of what was done above was done by women… To another woman. *It’s never ok for this to happen to anyone.*

Let’s not dilute the fact that women are more likely to be killed by their partners. Women are disproportionately more likely to be victims of abuse and raped. These things are incredibly underreported because men are taught that this can’t happen to them, and if it does that it makes them less of a man. Women are always blamed, not just by society, but by the very people who are supposed to care for them, by doctors, nurses, and law enforcement.

It’s time to take our heads out of the sand and hold the abusers accountable for their actions.

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Picture from Final Fantasy XIV

Like many who legitimately have PTSD (and unlike those who like to make light of how serious a mental health condition it really is, but that’s a rant for another day), there are things that’s people can talk about that will elicit a specific emotional reaction. Unfortunately, there is little I can do to control this reaction. I can try to control it, even attempting the cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques I’ve learned to try to control them. This doesn’t particularly work for me. I seem to function better on actually feeling whatever it is that I happen to be feeling at the time. It makes it easier to process feelings that I’m feeling than to try and subvert them.

I was recently triggered by an event at Burning Man. I didn’t go again this year for the same reasons I haven’t been capable to for years. It is costly to go. So, I didn’t see the event that made the news. And you know what, I didn’t have to. Instead a vast majority of my friends repeatedly talked about and posted the pictures of it. I didn’t need to be right there for it to be a triggering event because everyone else kept talking, regardless.

Suicide is a very delicate thing for me. It, in and of itself, can be incredibly triggering to me. And so, with seemingly everybody talking about it and not a lot of places for me to go for respite, I had to try to control how I was feeling. I managed to do it despite fighting off gluten sickness and exhaustion. I managed to do so for 6 days.

And on the seventh day I couldn’t fight anymore. I was tired. I felt emotionally worn out. And so, then I had to deal with emotions that I hadn’t for days.

And when I do that, it often becomes much worse because I haven’t processed and started letting myself heal. Instead, I kept hurting myself. When it gets like that, I get past anger and vere into hopelessness. That’s where I was. It’s harder to dig myself out of there.

One of the things that I have been incredibly proud of (and I think to a certain degree, rightfully so) is that as someone who’s been dealing with CPTSD as long as I have, I have nothing bad to show for it. I have almost all of the symptoms of it… and yet, I’m a largely functioning person. I work, I’m not an addict, I’ve never been arrested, I’m not a hooker, and more importantly, I’m still here.

As time goes on, that starts making it harder and harder. The desire to find ways to stop this pain becomes more appealing. Who wouldn’t want to be able to step out of the trauma-filled haze in order to feel better? I find escapism increasingly desirable.

And yet I still have yet to give in. Thankfully I have a ray of light. The FDA has found Ecstasy to be a breakthrough treatment for people like me. This is great because that mans they can study it more. But that means that treatment is still out of reach for a while.

In the meantime, what can I do?

I have no clue. Try to avoid Facebook more? I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I shouldn’t have to. I also shouldn’t have to see people repeatedly posting articles with pictures of someone who decided to take their own life either. It would be great if everyone was sensitive to the emotional needs of each other. That’s also increasingly not the world we live in. So, I’ll feel and deal with my anger, my rage, my hopelessness, the hole in my heart that should have been filled by parents who loved me. I know that I’m broken. I feel lucky to have found people who want to help and by people who accept me as family. It’s that which gives me hope and keeps me going.

Little Girl Lost

ritsuka-cry

Ritsuka from Loveless by Yun Kouga

There are things that are hard for me to describe, even as a decently educated writer. The hardest is to explain what being triggered is like. It’s not just discomfort or being upset. I wish it were simple. Then again, of PTSD were easy to understand, then there wouldn’t be as much misinformation as there is about it.

Right now, I’m deep in the bowels of a very deep and profound triggering event. I’ve gotten past the anger that is usually what I feel first, anger and sadness. Now I’m working on tackling a near-crippling self-doubt and depression. And that’s not the only thing that’s living here, that’s just the guardians of the house.

Deeper inside the house that trauma built is a deep hurt of a child who was left to be the adult. A child who never knew what it meant to be wanted. A child who was tossed aside and was beaten and abused for decades. A child whose parent came back later after she learned how to cope with things most children don’t start approaching until late middle school or high school.

Inside this house is a little girl, lost and afraid… on her own to fend for herself. No matter what color of happiness she paints on the outside of the house, she can’t just ignore the misery inside.

This is probably just a simplistic snapshot of an incredibly complex and insidious set of neurological responses. It’s something that people want to trivialize because it’s easier to make fun of people who are deeply troubled. At least that seems to be the American way of things.

And that’s what makes this all so terribly difficult. I have a lot of things that I know I’ll never get any closure for. That makes it so much harder. I have no way of getting closure. One of the people is no longer amongst the living. Others I have no contact with… and that’s probably for the best. I would need to sever that relationship regardless… and then there are relationships that I’ve been told I need to sever, but it’s not going to be so simple.

I start to feel so helpless because I can’t figure out how to move away from the relationship that seems to be more emotionally detrimental as time goes on. I feel like no matter what I do, that I’m stuck. I have no clue how to take care of it. There’s never really any one good way to pull away from abusive relationships. There isn’t. Even though I know what will help me in finishing healing, I haven’t a clue on how to break away from it. Unfortunately, my therapist isn’t being any help, regardless of how many times I’ve reached out.

I feel so lost right now.

It’s been a while since I’ve done a lot of writing. Emotionally, it’s been difficult to motivate myself to do much more than want to hide under blankets and ignore the world. I’m now working on trying to do more. I’ve kind of gotten to the point where you wind up so stressed that your body starts to tell you. And I mean more than just insomnia.

I can’t see this state getting any better in the foreseeable future, so I’m going to do a brain dump. I feel so stressed now that I can arc lightning between my fingers. That’s pretty bad. Some of this might be stuff that I’ve talked about before in my spotty writing schedule. A lot of it won’t be. I feel the need to extract it all from my head.

New Year’s is supposed to be a time of great hope. What sort of awesome will this year bring?

Yeah… I’m not sure I even got a moment of that thinking, after all, 2015 ended so horribly. I still haven’t received pay from my paid writing gig. It’s something I love to do, and it really sucks and hurts to not get paid. This is especially true because writing means so much to me. My current more-off-than-on boyfriend decide his new girlfriend ranks higher than I do (BTW, this has been obvious twice more since then).

So, yeah… those are two huge things. I tried to make the best of it, but something else decided that it wasn’t meant to be.

So, what of these two other times I speak of (after all, the work thing is pretty self-explanatory)?

Well, even though we’re not really dating now, I still bought a Valentine’s gift for him. I don’t know why, maybe hopeful or wishful thinking. I don’t know. I did. He got me… nothing until I mentioned that I had something for him. I’m sure he got his girlfriend something, but I didn’t rank as important. Now, granted, this is supposition. I can’t prove this is the case. Given that I had to wait two months, it’s not boding well for him having thought about giving me anything.

The other was fairly recently… when he decided his overnight was more important than something he had planned to do. Something he and I talked about. This isn’t just shades of the original purpose of going to therapy, this is the exact reason why we’re in therapy in the first place. So, all that money that I’ve spent since last December is now flushed down the toilet. I can just hear my personal therapist when I see him next.

Of course, these aren’t the only things going on. These are the most immediate.

Because I’m not getting paid for the months of writing I did (and no real way for recourse, thanks for protecting artists, labor laws), I’m now looking for a job… doing the one thing I hate doing, office work. Hell, at this point, we’re so close to broke, I’m ready to say, “Fuck it!” and go back into retail. It’ll probably break me down so badly that I will barely be able to function, but I know that I could probably get a retail job easier than an office job where I live because of stupidly ridiculous requirement of a bachelor’s degree for answering a phone and greeting people.

This has been really gutting for me. I thought that I finally found a place where I could just write and be happy. I can’t. I’m looking for more writing jobs, but even technical writers need a background in it, even though I know I could do it and do it very well.

Frankly, at this point I feel so beaten down by life again (because 25 years of emotional/physical/sexual abuse wasn’t enough) that sometimes I wonder if I have any value. I wonder if I’m just a drain on those in my life.

God, writing those two sentences were hard… enough to bring tears to my eyes in a public place. Which for me is hard, I prefer to be stoic at worst.

I keep trying to think positively and find some sort of positive thinking to help me trudge on… I’m just not sure I can.

Hell, let’s be honest here… I pulled myself out of several deep, dark holes. I’ll pull out of this one. I haven’t killed myself or had my spirit broken yet. I’m a survivor. It’s all I know how to do.

OK, not all, but it feels like it now.

Thankfully, all is not doom and gloom (even though it feels that way).

I started a class last week about learning how to cope with all the stuff from my Complex PTSD (or CPTSD). I did manage to have a lovely, restful weekend… something I’ve been desperately needing for months. I’ve been putting out resumes, despite how little I think of myself right now. Something will come through, right? I’m also looking for group activities that are either intellectual, creative, or healthy/physical exertion in order to stop myself from self-isolating. It’s not healthy for me to isolate myself, even if my brain is telling me to do so.

I’ll just keep telling myself, “I’m a survivor. You’ve been through worse. You have people who care for you. You’re no longer alone.”

If I say that enough, maybe it’ll finally get through my thick skull.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been having quite the hard time of things. This isn’t surprising since this is the time of the quarter that I hate so much. That’s right it’s PMS and on into that horrible female affliction known as a period. I’ve never really enjoyed it… I don’t know many girls that do.

For me, it’s always been a horrible mass of pain (I get horrendous cramps), moodiness, and general discomfort. The pain I can handle. Sure, it can be double over and can’t move bad. Frankly, physical pain just doesn’t hurt as much for me.

Then there’s the hormones. This I hate.

OK, I don’t mind my hormones. I hate the psychological mess they make me.

Normally, I get pretty weepy and generally low-level depressed around this time of the month. But not this time. Nope… because that would be easy and expected. This time, I have to be dealing with a lot of emotional go-booms and dealing really heavily with my PTSD from abuse.

This makes me an even bigger mess.

While I know I’m not alone, I feel even more afraid to ask for help. I’m afraid that I’m going to be judged because I can’t handle my shit. That I can’t just get over it. That I can’t pack it up in a nice little box and put it on a shelf somewhere to ignore and never see again.

I really wish that were the case. I wish dealing with this all was that simple.

Then there’s the worst part… I feel so damn emotionally needy that I don’t know what to do.

So, what of these go-booms you were speaking of earlier?

Well, funny you should ask…

I know that issues with one of my partners has been very well documented. The biggest part of it started in December. Then it looked like we were working through things, albeit somewhat slowly. Then he has the audacity to do the same thing for a second time. Not just once, but twice. So, yeah… I’m pretty angry, hurt, and frustrated. I feel that the time and money that I’ve been spending on couple’s therapy has been a huge waste. I’m not even sure, at this point, that there’s anything that might be left to salvage because of how I feel. You know how the saying going, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.”

In dealing with this, huge “Do Not Touch” buttons have been hit. That means that I’ve been triggered pretty hard… to the point of a panic attack. One of the things about complex PTSD that’s different from garden variety PTSD is that you won’t just get visual flashbacks, you also get emotional ones. All the emotions come flooding back… and there’s nothing that can be done to stop it.

And, I had to deal with my ex-boss. This is something that I haven’t really talked about. After all, it’s not all that important, normally. So, he decided to sit on my check two weeks after I quit. I had the mediation session for that. I will say this, I didn’t even get close to what I deserve. I got a fraction of it. At the same time, I do feel a good amount of vindication. You know your ex-boss is an asshole when the deputy commissioner tells you that if the wait wasn’t 7 months for a hearing, you should totally pursue that. That’s pretty bad.

The past three paragraphs have happened in the last week. This isn’t over months, this is in the last 7 days.

So, here I am… this huddled mass of hurt and pain… and a certain amount of anger. I’m not angry at anyone but the people whom I should be angry with.

Then there’s the hurt and the pain. This is the hard stuff… and I do mean hard.

This is the stuff that can make me ask the questions I don’t like to ask, because I know exactly where my mind is.

Yeah, I’m asking them.

So, what do I need now? I need love, reassurance of that love, I need to be held, and hugged, and all sorts of things that have to do with physical touch. I need it from the important people in my life. I need people to check up on me. I feel so pushed back to when I was a teenager that I feel awkward asking for what I need because, in my mind, I feel like I’m not going to get it. That I’m going to be told what I was told all the time when I was a kid, “You need to fight your own battles.” I feel both powerless and voiceless. (Yes, I appreciate the irony of the last sentence, given that this is in a blog post.) I want to ask for it… and constantly, but I’m too scared. I want to talk to my supportive partners about this, but, once again, I’m too scared. This is the only way I know how to. It’s the only thing that served me well when I was a teenager.

So, maybe that’s the point of what I’m writing this. Maybe it’s to get it out there. Maybe it’s to give voice to how I’m feeling because I don’t feel like I can accurately convey it verbally. I don’t know. But right about now, I feel hurt… hurt, sad, angry, frustrated, and alone, even if that is of my volition (but not really because CPTSD is a bitch).

Welcome to emotional flashbacks.