Those who have experienced PTSD know that a trigger could be lurking around the corner. It's not something we have control of or can predict when an "episode" will happen. We still get frightened or stressed for no apparent reason and have learned over time how to deal with that fight-or-flight response.
Dealing with C- PTSD ( known and chronic or complex PTSD) is different in a lot of ways.
PTSD vs C-PTSD
PTSD is caused by a single traumatic event and can develop regardless of your age when the trauma occurred. It can also be caused by many traumatic events, such as a car accident, natural disaster, near-death experience, or other isolated acts of violence or abuse.
Both PTSD and C-PTSD result from the experience of something profoundly traumatic and can cause flashbacks, nightmares, and insomnia. Both conditions can also make you feel intensely afraid and unsafe even though the danger has passed. However, despite these similarities, Complex-PTSD is something entirely different.
The main difference between the two is the frequency of the trauma.
C- PTSD ( Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) is caused by long-lasting trauma that is repeated for months and is recognized as an anxiety condition involving many of the same symptoms of PTSD and other symptoms. It is typically the result of childhood trauma.
Trauma from our childhood follows our way into adulthood. There are days when I think I will never get away from it. And you know what...I probably won't. I have learned that our childhoods stay with us forever, experiences embedded into our connective tissue. Good and bad.
I talk a lot about Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and their effect on the mind, body, and soul. I do so to help others feel they are not alone and manage the flashbacks and memories that pop up. We do not have to let what happened to us in our younger years dictate the rest of our life.
I was raised in an alcoholic home and, like most adult children of alcoholics— had difficulty finding my identity in adulthood. I was used to living in turmoil, so when I entered adulthood, I expected instability because that's what I knew. Suddenly when there was calm and stability, I found myself more anxious than ever.
There were many times that I felt like a fish out of water. While others looked like they were smoothly navigating through life, I faked it. It might have looked like I had my shit together, but I didn't. I eventually go there. I love the statement :) Fake it till you make it.
I am currenty writing articles for The CPTSD Foundation to inform/ lend support to others. https://cptsdfoundation.org
I wanted to share the following from their site because it is important!
Humans require safe people, safe places, and safe things during childhood and adolescence for healthy brain development to take place. Many adult survivors of complex trauma, having experienced this loss of safety, had no agency over themselves or their environment during critical times in brain development for extended periods. This loss of agency during their early years stunted their growth, depriving them of the opportunity to create the lives they deserved and has ultimately left many stripped of their sense of worth and sense of self. Without understanding what has happened, young survivors grow up to be adults who live in this same constant state of hypervigilance and suffering, even after escaping physical danger.
Adult survivors of complex trauma often experience amnesia, alienation, chronic mistrust, chronic physical pain, re-victimization, debilitating flashbacks, nightmares, body memories, anxiety, dissociation, trouble with regulating volatile emotions, severe depression, toxic shame, auto-immune disease, along with other profoundly distressing and potentially life-altering symptoms.
The CPTSD Foundation is helping to end the cycles of complex relational trauma by providing the safety, life skills, relational education, and reparative experiences needed to create new daily habits, improving every area of life.
We don't need to struggle through life. We can become fish in the water swimming and enjoying life :)