Over the last few weeks I have been reading and thinking a lot about Complex PTSD.
There has been a sense of relief at external validation, that I have a right to feeling the way I do and responding as I do, that these are known symptoms and consequences of feeling neglected as a child.
During this time of reflection I have been aware of an increase in body tension, just generally that it’s been ramped up a couple of notches, as if I’m preparing to flee. This has just been brought home to me even more as I’ve just been made aware of a public cock-up I have made work wise and my body has gone into overdrive, turning into a huge bucket of nerves, wanting to both run away, curl into a ball and hide, answer back in anger, and grovel apologetically. I think this covers all of Pete Walker’s 4 F’s responses: fight, flight, freeze and fawn (Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from childhood trauma, an excellent and most readable non-technical book).
I also recognise the feeling as being familiar to me from some eight years ago when I was falsely accused of doing something stupid (I can’t even remember what now) on a public forum and I spent the weekend in tears feeling much as I do now, although now I am not crying and I have not fallen to pieces in the same way as I did then. So there’s progress but the fact that I am feeling the same way or similar just gives me emotional flashbacks to times I’ve felt this way before and there is a sort of cumulative effect where it is as if the emotional intensity of all vaguely similar events are all piled up together so that it’s not just the one thing now that I am dealing with but all of them together.
I have also been discussing with my therapist how we are to move forward. After three years together we are increasingly “comfortable” together and we need to review how we are to move forward together if I am to make progress. We have done this periodically before and it is an essential part of therapy. My therapist is not trained in PTSD, let alone EMDR so there are choices to be made. I could change therapist now and go to a specialist in PTSD. They cost more and actually finding one that deals in complex PTSD is not easy. Then there is the time factor of establishing a new relationship and developing it to the point of use. Also my therapist has to be vetted and approved to provide paperwork for my course to certify she is providing so many hours of therapy to me a year. I have cold feet about starting anew. So for the moment I’m staying put. I’ve had enough changes this last month or so to not want more.
We are therefore going to be working through The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Whole and see how much work we can do together. Maybe I need to find a specialist to see over the summer holidays when I’ve got the time and space for something new. Also, depending on cost, the more work I can do beforehand the cheaper it will be. Possibly. Who knows. This is all a work in progress and I’m back to feeling that I’m fumbling through the dark.