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CPTSD exhaustion, denial and minimisation

(9 Posts)
ConfusedLivingDoll Wed 08-Nov-17 19:14:51

Anyone else have doubts about what they have gone through being "severe" enough to result in CPTSD? Years of a variety of mental health problems and life long dysthymia, I have now read up on CPTSD and have concluded that it fits perfectly. However, my inner critic is trying to say to me that I am simply weak, defective, silly and lazy, as physical abuse was mild(ish) and infrequent (from the little I remember of my childhood). However, I was always walking on eggshells around an explosive, emotionally distant dad and smothering, parentifying mother.

I played the role of peace-keeper and confidante. I had no friends (they were actively discouraged) and many children would like level bully me and exclude me. I was terribly isolated, living in a bubble of "shoulds". I don't remember much. Was numb and simply waited I could grow up and move out of the family home. However parents still exert their influence partly due to my inner critic and as a result I feel like "not a real person" and an imposter. I respond to floods of emotions by freezing, so shutting down with excessive sleep (real tiredness), staying indoors all the time and taking more codeine than I should.

Other times, when I worry about what important people think about me, I "fawn" and try to fullfil and pre-empt their wishes, especially if they are upset. This transports me right into being small, powerless and terrified of my dad. I used to hide and/or do things to "placate" him.

Basically I have no idea if I'm a worthy person if I don't make people happy. Also, have no idea who I am outside of what my inner critic tells me I should be. And I always fall short of that.

I have had many periods in my life when I have teetered on the edge of suicidal and thought about ending it all. Not because I want to, but because I feel scared of criticism and abandonment, and am exhausted the hypervigilance and of trying to be someone I'm not.

I'm ok at the moment. Waiting to start a new job, so imposter syndrome churning out terrifying scenarios. But also going to start therapy in two weeks with someone who does the comprehensive resource model. I hope I can stop a lifelong pattern of exhausting thoughts.

I don't really know what I am saying, but I suppose it would be helpful to hear from people with similar problems and how they are working to overcome them, or have already done so. The most painful bit is the doubt that I am just being a privileged and pathetic snowflake and completely ridiculous and others have had it worse and are just fine...

mrsRosaPimento Wed 08-Nov-17 19:22:18

Buy Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, from surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker. I’ve got depression today, but had to answer. The book is really helpful. I also did work on the recovery of the inner child as a response to the recommended book.

greystarling Wed 08-Nov-17 19:27:38

I have ‘severe enduring cptsd with dissociative disorder’

But I have very clear flashbacks which I’m not sure from your description that you have. I mean full blown screaming running away resulting in running into roads and getting myself run over type of flashbacks. It is no different to the actual traumatic events and happens multiple times a day and night. I spend my entire life trying to avoid them happening, hence the diss. I’m just about surviving and that it. Most days barely that. I can’t eat and if I sit down and do nothing I have a flashback so I keep busy.

Please get some really good help in the form of assessment and then appropriate therapies. I have to say though it’s very unlikely that I will revover enough to be ‘normal’ or even close to it.

I’m so sorry you are going through this too. I am just trying to stay alive long enough to see my kids grown to be adults. Every day I convince myself to carry on for one more day because I cannot bare the thought of living like this for years.
My cptsd is severe. I’m lucky though that I don’t have any cormorbid personality disorder like eupd which is very common.
I don’t have any self loathing or low self esteem, which it sounds like you might and this does make things different.
I’ve been in various therapies and on waiting lists for therapy for years and now I’m about to run out again. They don’t know what to do with me as I won’t give up, and am ‘committed and fully engaged’ in the process.
It’s very very shit and I’m sorry.

ConfusedLivingDoll Wed 08-Nov-17 19:31:36

Thank you for your response, Rosa! I have read the book, which has prompted these thoughts. I just still have doubts, because I can't separate my inner critic from myself that well. Because of my freeze-response it's easy for me to think I'm weak and lazy. And the fawning feels like second nature, due to me believing that I am no good to anyone as I am. Especially in my freeze state. It's like many have likened it to. An onion and I feel like the "truth" is hidden from me so many layers down in something ancient that it's hard to believe it's there, IYSWIM. My depression seems like a part of me as I've lived with it so long. Recovery by normal therapy (had CBT, counselling and psychotherapy) can't seem to work. It's like they can't touch something so deep. Or I'm just a defective personality and should just resign myself to being like this. It feels often that it's only the critical inner voice that gets me doing anything productive. Without it, I'd just sleep forever and eat tons of food and take all the drugs known to mankind. However, at the same time, it's the critical voice that tells me I am lazy, fat, stupid, spoiled and lazy that often makes me do those things. Catch 22.

ConfusedLivingDoll Wed 08-Nov-17 19:39:07

Thank you greystarling!

I don't have visual flash backs. They sound absolutely awful. I'm sorry you're going through it. And I know how little expertise there is in the field compared to "normal" ptsd. I will have therapy with a very experienced therapist who specialises in the comprehensive resource model, which sounds like the perfect therapy for CPTSD. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

I have long lasting and shorter, very intense emotional flash backs and I feel like I live with the legacy of my youth every day. I have always felt different from others and been dissociated on a low level. Which would explain the memory gaps/loss.

I suffer from low confidence and bad self-esteem. Also body dysmorphia, so battle with intermittent eating disorders (bulimia, being the latest and longest lasting).

ConfusedLivingDoll Wed 08-Nov-17 19:52:18

Also meant to say,

Greystarling, I've a super anxious 8 year old DS, who I worry I have made like that. He reminds me a lot of myself, but with the difference that he isn't afraid of me or STBXH (who is a good father) and we try to help him any way we can. He can't relate well to other children and feels different like I did. However, we have the school working with us to help him (education psychologist and help e.g. seasons of change) and as soon as I've got some money I'll get him some therapy too. I see him on most weekends and feel guilty as I can't manage more at the moment. Current DP finds him hard work and I find myself feeling anxious about it all.

Feel like an awful mother with my lack of energy. Need to change for himself and for me.

greystarling Wed 08-Nov-17 20:33:44

Confused. I’m not in any way a doctor or an expert but some of the things you say, especially about emotional flashbacks and eating disorders make me think that something else other than cptsd is at play here.
You mention your youth too. Maybe that’s the difference; my traumas were as an adult and it is my understanding that traumas as a child or adolescent cause different symptoms and can change a young persons development and personality so that might explain how you feel. I saw an article recently about the differences in brain MRI with a child that had been emotionally neglected and another that hadn’t and the differences were stark. Also that most pd’s show themselves in adolescence but the causes are usually much earlier. Again I stress I’m not a doctor but that is my layman’s understanding

By some miracle my kids are ok. Thriving.
I’m sorry you feel so guilty. Can you access any support for them through school? My daughter did have a brief check up with the school counsellor at my request to make sure she was ok.
Rubbish metal health is so difficult. I refuse to be ashamed though. It wasn’t my fault and I’m sure it wasn’t yours either

greystarling Wed 08-Nov-17 20:36:00

Sorry. Just read that your son is seeing someone at school already.

ConfusedLivingDoll Thu 09-Nov-17 00:24:55

Yes, am not sure what exactly I have, but the depression, anxiety and eating disorders etc. feel like natural symptoms to try control my environment and preserve my energy. I don't really fit the criteria of any personality disorders, apart from a few bits that sounded familiar. As a whole I do well and have stable, good relationships. Only my relationship with myself is awful and tinges everything, as do the emotional flash backs and general gloom.

I hope I can shine some light to the roots of everything at therapy, as I'm tired of living like this.

Poor DS, he asked me why I seem to always be poorly and in bed, the other week. I'm not always and try to do as many things as I can gather the energy to do with him, but still. Must seem to him that I neglect him. sad I just need to find more energy and motivation to get up. Usually feel tired for most of the day due to depressive symptoms and even just putting my clothes on seems like an ordeal due to body issues. Can't let DS grow up to be like me. Thankfully his dad is "normal" albeit work at home freelance, so often too busy to spend lots of time with DS. He does do a lot, though. More than me.

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