Tag Archive: cptsd


Pain and Psychology

 

Lenalee from D. Grey Man

The human body can be strange. It’s put together in an interesting way, that, in many ways, seem a bit bizarre… like how one side of your brain actually controls the opposite side of the body, or how nerves in your back can cause completely disparate parts of the body when hit during a tattoo.

Then there are certain lessons that you learn as you get older.

I know it’s a matter of public record (and pretty easy to find a lot here) that I have CPTSD. It’s something that I live with and I try to work with in order to keep on, keepin’ on. I also have chronic pain from arthritis in my lower back. This can be more trying… oftentimes my back hurts and makes it difficult for me to do much some times. And then I have Celiac to top it all off.

Lately, I have been thinking about something that I remember them frequently mentioning in chronic pain class. Pain can cause issues of depression and anxiety. This makes a certain amount of sense, especially when it’s a constant. There’s an entire psychological spiral that comes along with chronic pain that’s filled with frustration and despair. I get frustrated because I’m hurting again and then sad because it stops me being able to do the things that I love doing, like dancing… or walking around for any period of time.

Then there’s CPTSD. There are many things that this does psychologically. It’s similar to PTSD, but there are other things that show up that are unique to this kind of PTSD. You can find out more about it here and here. The muscle tensing is one of the biggest physiological problems.

Celiac comes with its own set of issues. Mostly I’m fine as long as I maintain a gluten-free diet. If I get even cross-contamination, I wind up going through a series of physical and psychological issues, like brain fog, body achiness, exhaustion, nausea… the list goes on.
So, expanding upon the lessons from my chronic pain class… I have thinking about the nature of the pain that I feel.
Am I in pain because I’m feeling emotionally down or am I feeling emotionally down because I’m in pain? Is my pain exacerbated because I’m feeling down?

And, honestly, I don’t have an answer. I’m not entirely sure there is a definite way to answer any of these questions.

I do know that there is a connection between them.

This beg another question, I know that my CPTSD won’t go away because I’m not hurting. That’s not how it works. But if I can manage to control my back pain better, maybe it would be possible to feel better. It’s not a perfect theory. It is one that I can try to achieve.
So, that’s my goal now (once I’m over this current bout of gluten sickness). I’m going to work on trying to control my pain as best I can.

That is one thing that I can do.

Well, here’s to experimenting and seeing if I can make it work.

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Life… Life is a funny thing. Sometimes it can be great, filled with wonderful highs. Sometimes it’s filled with tragedy.

I’ve seen quite a few tragedies in my time, perhaps too many. I can’t make that judgment all myself, as I have no real outside way to know.

These tragedies have led to a lot of how I deal with things in my life… and it all contributed to my CPTSD. Honestly, I wish I could have had a more normal life. I wish I had a supportive family, no abuse, didn’t have a parent who was trying to kill me as well as themselves.

It can be overwhelming and difficult to deal with.

They become psychological triggers that create very real and difficult issues that make life a lot more difficult to deal with.

Recently I was triggered about my mom’s 5150 when I was like 6/7-years-old. It’s something that I remember with such clarity. It even came as a flashback over my reality. Flashbacks aren’t fun. You see and essentially go back and re-experience that moment again. It’s not fun… to say the least.

But I’m still dealing with the harsh reality of it all.

For me, this was the ultimate moment of being abandoned. I understand that my mom didn’t really have any control over the situation. I do. But between that and her trying to kill my sister and myself…

Yeah.

So, the bigger deal with this is that this has given me some deep-seated abandonment issues.

It’s a deal.

That shouldn’t be too terribly surprising. My mom disappeared from my life for a year during a formative part of my childhood. This happened a lot when I was younger. My mom would just not be there… even though I didn’t quite know where she was. This was the final straw. She was in a hospital. I was in an abusive household where I was borderline tortured for a year.

What did that tell me?

That not only did my own mother not want me around, but I wasn’t even important enough to be put somewhere safer.

That’s a hard pill to swallow.

I try to deal with the feelings that are tied to this as best I can… it’s a lot of work.

Thankfully, I do have some good ways to cope. One of them happens to be what I’m doing here. Write it out. Put it into words. Put it on some paper… or some pixels.

I’m working through it and trying to make it through what I have to work with.

It’s hard, but it’s a struggle that I continue with. And I take it day by day and moment by moment.

ritsuka crying

Screenshot from Loveless

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.

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.

This has been a long time in coming. I’ve sat on these feelings for the last week and half, speaking about it only in vague terms. I’ve gotten to the point where I can’t just can’t keep quiet anymore.

There’s one thing I abhor more than anything in my life. That’s lying… and more importantly liars. Lying rises an ire in me more than anything. I’m currently in a place where my rage has gotten beyond boiling. To make this more understandable, I feel like I must tell my tale. Not by pointing fingers, but by actually writing it out. Maybe then I can actually sleep again.

I’ve been lied to recently… not just lied to, manipulated, blamed, and flat-out disrespected.

So, how did this all happen?

I asked a question where I was given one response. Now, if in the course of the conversation I was asked about it or been told that they had changed their mind, which would have been fine… or at least better. But it didn’t happen. I was given an unequivocal answer of something not happening. This is probably because maybe I could have made it to the same event. Then I mentioned I wasn’t likely to attend because I had to be adult. I had to put personal responsibility first.

Flash forward a few days.

Having another conversation… one where I keep mentioning the same suspicion that I have. Each time to respond to anything, but what I stated. Now, usually if something didn’t happen I’ve received an angry response of how dare me. This time it’s crickets.

This happens more than once. In the earlier part of this conversation I was asked for a thank you for something that I never received or saw, I was only told about. Somehow I’m supposed to know that a gesture I never received was for me. I find that to be weird, but say thank you all the same. Then I force the issue that I mentioned repeatedly earlier… because at this point there is no wiggling out of it.

They try to argue their way out of it. Denying that they gave me a flat answer. That what they did was OK because there was an ambiguous answer. The fact that they said they weren’t going to do something to only do it is lying. Then they go back and look at the conversation… and they’re caught in a lie. They gave me an unambiguous answer. More importantly, not only did they lie to me, they decided to do it behind my back, because I wouldn’t have found out about it anyways. This isn’t entirely true. I would have found out. There are enough mutual friends that I would have heard from somebody anyways. Besides, the truth does always come out eventually.

Flash forward another few days.

In another conversation… one where I’m supposed to get a heart-felt apology… guess what else I receive. That I’m partially to blame for this situation. Somehow, even though I wasn’t there, I didn’t put a gun to their head, I’m partially responsible for their decision.

At this point, I’m fit to be tied.

This hits every button that I know to be abusive. I was manipulated (I should be thankful for something that I not only didn’t know about, but never received just before the admission that they lied to me). I was lied to (given one answer then they turn around and do something else). That this was done behind my back, intentionally, after they knew I wouldn’t be attending is utterly disrespectful. And then there’s the blame.

So much of this is just not OK. Actually, strike that, it’s not acceptable. If I’m someone you supposedly love and care about, that’s not how you treat them. This is how you treat someone you don’t care about, that you have contempt for… and maybe that’s really it. Maybe these actions are out of contempt. I can’t answer because they are not my actions. I try to be as direct and honest in my speech and action as possible. I expect people to treat me the way that I treat them.

Apparently, that was too great an expectation for this person.

The worst part, is that I’m trying really hard to not let this betrayal color my other relationships… and in many ways it’s not. I’m being very vigilant to fight against the negative feedback loop of this is happening to me because I’m a shitty person. That somehow I deserve this. More importantly, I’m being ever vigilant about not falling into my pain cycle where I have a hard time believing anybody. This is incredibly hard for me. It’s how I’ve dealt with things historically. I get hurt badly, so I keep everyone at arm’s length.

There is one *huge* (and I really do mean huge) positive to come out of this. While I occasionally will fall into negative self-speak, I recognize I’m doing it and stop it. Even more, I realize that I don’t deserve this and that it isn’t my fault. The fact that I’m saying that I don’t deserve this is a huge step forward… like immeasurably huge.

I’m still struggling with fighting with pushing people away because I’m hurt. I’m trying not to. If I do actually do it, it’s not a conscious decision. I do know one thing though, that this is not ok. That this is something I shouldn’t put up with. What that means in the long-term… I don’t know. I’ll have to wait and see.