C-PTSD and what it means for me

I’ve recently discovered that Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is being recognized as a form of PTSD, usually brought on by prolonged exposure to traumatic environments. It isn’t officially recognized in the DSM Bible yet, but many mental health professionals are beginning to acknowledge its prevalence and effects on those that have it.

At first, this was distressing for me. Here I was, identifying as Bipolar and then this new knowledge turned that identity into another false facet. There is such a thing as co-morbidity of personality disorders with C-PTSD but that doesn’t seem accurate for me. I am starting to believe I was misdiagnosed, especially given that most of the treatment plans meant for someone with Bipolar Disorder are centered around chemical imbalance and whenever I would take the antidepressants, or atypical anti-psychotics, and eventually lithium, I rarely felt they helped at all, while many harmed.

I dove into researching C-PTSD and come to find that if trauma is introduced into a child’s life too early, it can have physiological detriments on neurological development. So it’s not a chemical imbalance, it’s my actual brain not having developed the way it is supposed to for me to be a stable person.

The fixation on my mental health (or is it mental illness, I’m not sure at this point) feels futile. I make efforts to rein in my crazy and behave like a person should and understand my conditioning and learn to correct it. But I’m exhausted and the nightmares and panic attacks and overall sense of worthlessness have been getting worse. I’m wracked with shame for being this person who is so affected by my past.

I’ve been writing a lot to try and set my life story straight. Dredging up all those memories is certainly a factor in my renewed anguish. And while I write, I’m not spending time doing the things that would get me back on my feet again, so there’s guilt wrapped into what is supposed to be a therapeutic practice.

My conditioning wants me to erase all of this and just remain silent about what I’m dealing with, but that hasn’t made anything better for me in the past and quite possibly the reason I feel so compelled to speak my truth now. I don’t even know what that truth is except that I have endured a lot of trauma. Whether it proves to be beneficial for anyone but myself remains to be seen, but I suppose that’s still my hope. That my suffering was not in vain, that somehow it will help someone else who feels as I do learn that the world can be both a wonderful and terrible place, and perhaps I can help someone else survive, and maybe even thrive within it.

1 thought on “C-PTSD and what it means for me”

  1. Great article. Important to note that there is much disagreement regarding issues of mental/emotional healthcare. Misdiagnoses are so commonplace which indicates that the so called “professionals” are just making guesses as the research is so very limited due to the complexities inherent.
    Love you, Babe. Stay strong!!! You have an amazing intellect and your words are a pleasure to read.
    Lee Ann


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