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A day in the life of Complex PTSD


What I wouldn't give for an off button sometimes just to shut the brain down for a little peace and quiet occasionally.


Most mornings when I wake up there's around 10 seconds of serenity before brain also realises what's going on and begins feeding the self doubt and negativity. Its not the best start.


The more I read and self educate on the condition, the more I realise the thoughts and feelings have been related to CPTSD. This has been partly cathartic but also a realisation that I've been carrying an enormous and unmanageable weight around for far too long, and been preprogramed to crave the negative feelings because that's what I deserve.


Here's a few examples of emotional flashback triggers just so you get an idea at how simple and impacting they are;


Scenario 1

Reinstall windows on my laptop - sounds simple enough. Start backup, list all the applications I need to reinstall. Whilst doing so, a vague memory pops in to my head of another application called chocolatey which helps automate the installation of all the apps I need through simple scripts. Right then, better create a virtual machine to install that on so I can learn about it. Oh hang on, that's more work that I was planning to do and I'm not sure how chocolatey really works....


Ah fuck this, I don't have the focus to learn more technology and now I feel a bloody idiot and utterly useless. You're stupid!


Windows doesn't get reinstalled and I now feel a failure. Nervous system activated, heightened sense of awareness "on", let the downward spiral commence.


Scenario 2

I'm watching some Youtube videos on CPTSD, how to better understand it and how I can improve things. Then I notice the presenter's eye movement which takes me back 30 years to a time when my life was ruined by an individual, and all I can see how is his face. My body is on high alert, the heart is racing, I feel a failure and emotionally distraught again.


Scenario 3

I've been asked to do a simple task at work which for any "normal" person would be a walk in the park. Not today sunshine, there's a seed of doubt that I'm not quite sure how to complete the data needed and I feel a failure. On comes the full emotional flashback again. You're an idiot, you can't even complete a simple task and you don't deserve to be in that job. I break down in to tears, unable to put in to words how overpowering these feelings are, and I crumble.


Scenario 4

It gets more ridiculous. I lack any sense of self belief that the decisions I make are "OK" and I believe in them. If someone challenges a choice I've made or queries anything I've done, I'm an utter idiot, a fraud and a failure. Again the nervous system goes in to overdrive and I'm a wreck.


But these aren't just thoughts....

The thoughts are physically connected to my nervous system and activate the 4F's (Flight, Fight, Freeze & Flop), so I respond accordingly. Most of the time I flop, and fall in to a sense of despair and hopelessness where I deserve the pain and misery inflicted. Occasionally I might lose my shit and experience uncontrollable rage, shouting and swearing to whoever is unfortunately in the same space as me and I absolutely detest it.


Now imagine being in that head space day in, day out. Exhausting and frustrating are two words that come to mind, so occasionally it catches up with me to the point I feel depressed with being depressed. Sound familiar?


If only there was a magic pill

I continue to research the illness to further my understanding in the hope that something will click and make recovery easier. I need to give myself credit and self compassion that its only been 18 months since the original diagnosis and the treatment commenced, but there are days when the mind tries to trick me in to thinking I've made no progress at all and its just a hopeless cause.


Won't people eventually get fed up with me talking about it?

Is it really just a hopeless cause?

Do people actually recover in some form and live a normal life?


I feel mentally and physically drained at the moment, frustrated I'm unable to live that normal life that I so desperately want and to carry out those daily tasks that to most people are so simple they barely register as slightly challenging.


I want to wake up in the morning with a feeling of happiness and self love, where everything's going to be ok and this illness has long gone, leaving me with a fresh start at life to put my own stamp on things and see the beauty that's been taken away. I know it's out there and I'll keep fighting, but perhaps tomorrow just turn the brain down a bit and give me a little peace and quiet.

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