Complex Post Traumatic Stress
Having been trained and conditioned to be one way, within a supremely threatening environment – kill or be killed, defend, fight, switch off and rely on their conditioning/training in order to survive, survival of the fittest and/or luckiest.
No, I have never been in the military but I have lived my life within a supremely threatening environment.
PTSD is when a person has been switched off, trained and has to do anything in order to survive, watch anything and still survive. Then, when that person finds themselves in a new environment, a safe environment (in comparison to before) the mind, body and soul no longer needs to protect you from the trauma and feels that you are in a safe enough environment to release and deal with it.
Every sensation, sight, smell, pain, grief, real memory, false memory releases itself onto you and comes seeping through the walls at you….suffocating you until you don’t know reality from hallucination
Pupils widen and eyes blacken, bones stiffen, muscles retract as muscles do because they have memories too…fight or flight overcomes you and adrenalin blasts into your system while faces around you turn malevolent.
With luck, you will come back to reality with no harm done to yourself or to others. Some, are not so lucky.
Should you come out of it, should the world return to you and you look around and think “All that person did was laugh at a joke that was made” or “All I did was hear a car beep its horn” or anything else mundane ….but, that was all it took before you were catapulted back into hell. That is all it took.
And then you are left to deal with the fall out, deal with the fear from others who witnessed it, deal with any self harm or harm to others personhood/property and try and build yourself back up; always with the fear of it coming back without warning.
Now, this seems like a cruel thing for your own body to do to you…a cruel, debilitating thing to do to someone that had been through a traumatic period, such as war, and wants to get on with life in the safest environment he/she can find.
However, should you have been fully exposed to the horror in its entirety at that time, your chance of survival to a safer environment would be reduced to nil.
You would have died of shock, literally.
By shutting down parts of your sensory depth, storing and hiding deep within the true depth of the horror – your body protects you as much as it can so you have, at least a chance higher than nil to survive and find safety.
Once you have found a place that is safer than the horror, such as a soldier returning home, then your body is safe to release this toxin. And, release it it must.
For if it did not then it would fester and rot your insides to the core and all of that previous work of protecting you from death, for trying to give a small chance of survival, no matter how small, would have been for nothing. It would be a definite death but slower and more torturous.
It is the natural expulsion of venom and rot and unfortunately it has to come through you and be displayed before you, for the ultimate goal of recovery through acceptance to happen.
It has no other way, but while this is happening and each time it happens, it tries to keep your soul safe by removing your soul to a safer place – what I believe psychologists call de personalisation.
Its like having two of you, one watching from a third person stance and the other re living it.
You come back into yourself and the full horror is there but again, your body and mind did what it could to give you your survival chance while it exuding the rot and tried to protect your being while it happened.
We all live and make sense of the world before us through sensory understanding…to make sense of things, we try to figure them out. It is no different when you have been through trauma and have a safer environment to compare and contrast the trauma.
It is this two conflicting environmental experiences that produce our numbness…we are faced with two very different worlds to inhabit and until we figure out and make sense of the trauma, we go numb with being overwhelmed with the challenge it presents.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder can be a killer. More than often it is by the victims own hand, rather than another’s. The dual living, dual realities, dual dissonance and third person viewing without the correct professional help is a hell that should only be fit for those who put us through the trauma.
However, to live in hell, one must travel through it to get out. Once out, the overwhelming exhaustion of the journey consumes you and those hellish tentacles grasp at your ankles, giving it one last huge push to drag you back in.
You have come this far and suffered the worst. The expulsion of the rot is a necessary part of healing and you are in a safe place to do just that, however terrifying it is. It is also necessary because it has no place in the new (or returned to, such as military personnel coming home) environment you are in now. But, you must get help from those who understand trauma. Remember, you are exhausted from living in hell then walking through hell and fighting – forever fighting to protect who you are – and a ‘guide’ of sorts will support your exhaustion and assist with re wiring to help with adapting into the new (or returned to) environment.
It is hard to trust others after the past trauma, and even harder when in such a vulnerable state. But, you had the courage and tenacity to fight and survive and now you must have the courage and tenacity to reach out.
I would suggest finding trauma victims and ask them who they found to be of help. Such as military groups, disaster groups etc. Look for those who have fully recovered and living healthy and happy lives, that would give you a good indication of the kind of genuine support they have had. Its a start.
Now, obviously PTSD isnt exclusive to military personnel, as first thought. It covers abuse victims, natural disaster victims, mechanical disasters such as train wrecks etc. It can happen to anyone who witnesses a horrible scene or been subjected to it.
Once overcome, one will eventually be able to make peace with it – have the memory sit within but be able to comfortably move within this world on your truth path.
The title of this post is called Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
This is when a person goes through trauma and moves in and out of ‘safe environments’ – like living in hell, moving into better place then being dragged back into hell – with all of the retention of horror, expulsion of horror included.
Over and over and over again, ad infinitum.
As above within the setting of PTSD but in a cyclical rhythm. Not once, not even twice, but repeatedly.
It doesn’t even have to be a repeat from the original horror but new horrors, of equal/greater trauma. However, these will always be because of the base horror. Because the original trauma was never overcome.
There is no end, no beginning. Horror and reality intertwine, truth and lies become truthlies, nothing feels safe, nothing seems right, every person becomes a threat as you no longer know if you have been dragged back into hell or if you are in a good place. Hell seeps more and more and corrupts insidiously.
Hell becomes your reality and you become hell.
The eyes peer back from the abyss, and hands wrap around you whispering “come back to what you know”.
You can’t stand on the edge, you have to move far far from the edge. Don’t invite hell, as it never denies an invite.
In order to get out of C-PTSD, you must remove yourself entirely from everything that was in hell.
Not isolate yourself, but a removal of self from hell and those living in hell.
You have tasted the other side, but not getting the chance to thrive and its wearing you down. It will wear you down and you will feel again.
Geographical removal, disappearing, getting a new identity, changing your name, checking in to a rehab clinic, changing your number and email etc. these are all options for moving as far away from the edge as you can possibly go.
Once this is done, the expulsion of the rot will begin and you will have to re live and make sense of the horror. For me, it took just over a year. For others it didn’t take as long and for others still, it took longer. It all depends and is subjective.
But, know this. It is a natural process and the final part of your long, hard and horrendous journey.
The tentacles will try and find you, you will even try and retreat back into their hands but resist. This is conditioning rearing its ugly head and fighting for its survival. But, its a parasite and you don’t want it living off of you.
The new world you find yourself in is something you don’t trust. This is natural because of the hell you had previously lived in. Everything is foreign and there is a potential threat in everything.
There are threats but unable to discern, it is safer to blanket everything as threat.
Take time to yourself, go through the process but have the courage to reach out and open yourself to the sights, feeling and sounds of the new world. Someone will extend a hand and guide you through the awakening.
It takes an incredible amount of trust and courage, but you have this in spades. Use the survival weapons you had before but turn them into living tools. Fight not against but for. Trust that there is love but know that learning what it is truly will take time.
Have patience, just as a student shows patience of the process from novice to master, and you will recover into acceptance and awareness.
There are dangers, I will never deny this but in the new world you live in they are spliced by good.
C-PTSD is recoverable but one must move away from the edge.
The crossroads will appear and when you step onto your truth path you will see the world for what it is. You will have the tools to traverse through danger with the knowledge that having lived and breathed hell and not only survived but now live within the world –
Nothing will ever affect you to that degree again.
But, you must reach that place of acceptance. Acceptance of yourself. The grieving stages help to grieve for the delusion you lived in, the child you were, the parents you wished you had, the world you lived in, the hope lost, the exhaustion – it is mourning with the final stage being acceptance.
Remember, we are wonderfully crafted sentient beings and this world does have beauty, does have depth, does have connection and feeling. You deserve to feel everything in this world but you must lower the bridge across the moat and walk out.
It will take time, it will require more pain but in order to have a clean start, one must put in the hours.
Life can be cruel, I wish that I could wave a magic wand over everyone who has been subjected to long term trauma and let them move on without the additional healing process pain. However, it is essential to go through this for no other reason than to gain a deep understanding of just how strong and courageous you were when going through it.
Re connect with yourself and then extend it to others – and enjoy the new chapter with new challenges and developments but with you in control and more sure of yourself than ever before.
It is a painful process but this is your chance for a re birth, a personal universal clearing and for the rest of your life you will see through fresh, wise eyes.
Good Luck and my thoughts to you all, especially in your darkest times. I believe in your strength and offer you mine whenever you need it.
I think my next post will centre around my brother. He has come back to me and I would like to share that experience.