As I sit here in one of the lounges at Homewood, I wonder if I have ever written a post about PTSD. More specifically how PTSD has affected my life and the life of those around me.
First, let me explain my official diagnosis, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD). According to Out of the Fog C-PTSD is;
“a condition that results from chronic or long-term exposure to emotional trauma over which a victim has little or no control and from which there is little or no hope of escape, such as in cases of:
- domestic emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- childhood emotional, physical or sexual abuse
- entrapment or kidnapping.
- slavery or enforced labor.
- long term imprisonment and torture
- repeated violations of personal boundaries.
- long-term objectification.
- exposure to gaslighting & false accusations
- long-term exposure to inconsistent, push-pull,splitting or alternating raging & hooveringbehaviors.
- long-term taking care of mentally ill or chronically sick family members.
- long term exposure to crisis cconditions.
Last year while at Homewood I finally was given the official diagnosis of C-PTSD. Finally the way my brain works and things that I have done and/or continue to do makes sense.
One of the many things that has been affected by my C-PTSD are my relationships. All of my adult life, my relationship with my parents, my significant others, friends, and most recently my children, have all been affected.
Up until the fall of 2015, the relationship I had with my parents was built on lies and distrust. I did not realize it, but some 15 or 20 years later, I was still holding a lot of hurt and resentment towards the fact that when I disclosed as a teenager, the abuse was swept under the rug and we all continued on with our lives by living in a bubble that my parents had created. For me, the bubble became full of shame and guilt. For years the shame and guilt that I felt was kept in my own bubble. It was so big, so overwhelming, that I am surprised that I was able to live in it for so long.
The shame and guilt has had a slow leak for a couple of years now, it is constantly being refilled though, however never enough to pop it completely. Shame and guilt are a huge part of who I am today. Knowing that my disclosure has caused so much pain and has potentially caused my perpetrator some problems continuously feeds the feeling that I have done something wrong. That somehow I am at fault.
The shame is overwhelming and has shifted over the years. The shame of not telling, the shame that my body betrayed me and reacted to him, the shame of not getting him to stop sooner. The list can go on.
Shame and guilt has slipped into my relationship with my husband. I feel guilty for not being able to be sexually intimate, for making excuses, for not being able to express myself. I feel guilty when I am unable to stay present and dissociate. Or is difficult to put into words the shame that I feel.
Until now, my children have had an emotionally unavailable mom. A mom who looks like the queen of all moms from her Facebook posts, but who has felt very little in terms of emotional attachment. I think to myself “I must have been happy” or “I must have been so proud”. In reality I know that during most of those special moments my body was there, but my mind and heart were somewhere else. Somewhere deep inside of me keeping me from becoming overwhelmed in the moment.
I have always been quite social, finding it easy to pull myself together on the outside. Until last March, I saw friends regularly, whether it be one on one or a girls’ night out. It changed though. After getting back from Homewood, my soul had a crack in it, and emotions were able to slowly escape. I started isolating myself, feeling like if people wanted to see me, they could initiate a visit. This was counter productive, but it stems from childhood, when no one was willing to take a step to help me. I think I realize now that I was looking for proof that no one carea. That is the thing with C-PTSD, you start to self sabotage, to prove that the way you think is accurate. In this case, trying to prove to myself that no one cares.
I want to continue to write, but I know I need to take a break, which I am going to do. However, this post will be continued, as I feel as though I have not written much about the thought process of a brain suffering from C-PTSD.