“Unlike other forms of psychological disorders, the core issue in trauma is reality.” Bessel A. von der Kolk — Traumatic Stress: The Effects of Overwhelming Experience on Mind, Body and Society
What it feels like:
When my C-PTSD is triggered I feel like my brain is having an argument with itself. I imagine my brain is sectioned into two halves: a logical half and an emotional half.
The logical half of my brain understands the reality of the world around me. It knows I’m safe. It’s knows not everything is my fault. It knows I have a lot of great things to offer the world. It also knows that the other half of my brain is being crazy.
The emotional side of my brain is processing everything in a very absolute way. He hates me. I will never see him again. These three sentences over the course of the evening clearly indicate that things are over. No one will ever love you.
Sometimes I try to use my logical brain to refute the absolutism of my emotional brain. My emotional brain never listens. It’s completely exhausting.
I can’t think myself out of these feelings. I feel betrayed by my own brain. I feel like I’m gaslighting myself.
Strategies that work for me:
- Talk to a friend: I have a few friends who I trust very deeply. When I can’t trust my own brain, I trust theirs. If I’m getting the same kind of feedback from my logical brain and theirs, my emotional brain stats to quiet down.
- Create something: Hand lettering something meaningful, creating with polymer clay, and even building a desk have all helped me quiet my emotional brain.
- Yoga or conditioning: I don’t like cardio style exercise, but other exercises help quiet my mind. Yoga with a strong intention works the best. Working on building my arm, back, and core strength for aerial silks is also good.
- Find general information on C-PTSD here and here.
- Out of the Storm is a support site for adults with C-PTSD. It includes a forum.
- Google C-PTSD and Richard Grannon. You’ll find some great videos. Here is the one that helped me realize more fully what I was dealing with: