Overcoming Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Thriving with Healing
For over two decades, I suffered from the debilitating effects of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and, as the trauma multiplied, Complex PTSD (C-PTSD). It (the C-PTSD) told me that I was fine and did not need help of any kind. But, one day, after I had been left at a seedy motel after becoming homeless and then rescued by a virtual stranger, I looked into the mirror. This time when I looked into the mirror, I saw my very life before me. I then fell to my knees and began to sob asking my Lord and Savior to help me. “HELP ME, HELP ME, HELP ME”, I cried out. He immediately gave me the strength to vow to myself that I would not allow my life to get any lower than it was at that moment.
Even though I did not realize I had C-PTSD, I made a commitment to begin to love myself. Up until that point, my pride had me pretending that nothing was wrong, and my shame had been keeping me stuck. I later learned from my therapist that “the source of pride and shame is brokenness”. George Recknagel, Ph.D.
Some of the symptoms/behaviors that (looking in) I see were happening to me were:
Feelings of emptiness or hopelessness –
This would lead me to looking to others (relationships) to find my identity and validation that I was worthy. However, I felt empty so the people I was allowing into my life were emptier than I was. They would suck the energy and life out of me.
Feeling angry or distrustful toward the world –
I would get angry when I was betrayed, abandoned, or worse and leave which caused me to move around a LOT. One time I got involved with someone that was (unknown to me) married. His wife parked outside my apartment building and called threatening to kill me. I had to flee in the darkness of night to avoid injury or death.
Feeling as if I was permanently damaged or worthless –
This symptom would keep me stuck in a loop of choosing dysfunctional/abusive relationships and perpetuate my downward spiral.
Difficulty controlling my emotions –
This put me in a constant state of fight or flight. To medicate this high level of anxiety, I used alcohol which would lead to a few times of black-out drunken states for me. Alcohol also contributed a lot to my chronic depression.
Feeling as if I was completely different to other people –
I stayed on the fringe of society dealing with less than desirable people in many cases which would lead to me ping ponging from one symptom/behavior to another and back.
“There are many causes for C-PTSD such as: childhood abuse, neglect or abandonment, ongoing domestic violence or abuse, repeatedly witnessing violence or abuse, being forced or manipulated into prostitution (trading sex), torture, kidnapping or slavery, being a prisoner of war” according to mind.org.uk; however, my C-PTSD was caused from over two decades of spiraling into darkness and despair from sexual assaults as a teen, betrayal in relationships, and four years of domestic violence which I endured from my ex-husband.
Healing did not come about immediately when I looked at myself that day and presto –because C-PTSD and/or PTSD is a mental condition that requires management. There is no cure for it; however, I am a living example of how perseverance and determination can lead you to a life worth living.
Tips for Managing C-PTSD symptoms:
- Set your intention that you are not going to let your life continue in the manner that it has.
- Seek a therapist’s (preferably a PhD) help; however, make very sure that the help you choose is highly qualified in PTSD or C-PTSD.
- Seek a Life Coach (again make sure that they are well versed in what you’re dealing with).
- If without funding for the above, call a hotline to get immediate support and direction
- For Hotline #s, click here https://www.ariellespring.net/resources
- To read my blog posts on PTSD, C-PTSD and much more go to: ariellespring.net
- Remember, it’s progress not perfection – look for small improvements each day – then add them all up at the end of the week and see how much you’ve progressed.
- Journal daily – Getting the feelings out (whether they be genuine or PTSD induced) is critical for your healing.
- Practice self-love induced self-care acts daily. This can be as simple as taking the stairs on some days or as involved as a therapy session or walk with a friend.
- Begin to listen to that still, small voice inside you – this is your intuition – it knows so pay attention to it. If you know people are toxic, stay away from them. If they persist, contact the authorities safely.
- Take time throughout your day and evening to move and breath – repeat as necessary.
- Get a job that works for your current situation and recovery level.
Healing Your Heart
I have found that healing my broken heart (which was shattered in many pieces) is part of healing PTSD and C-PTSD. What I am saying is healing from the PTSD/C-PTSD is an inside job. I began to apply the same energy to heal my heart, mind, and body as I did to my prior demise. In other words, instead of believing I was destined for failure, I slowly began to believe that I was destined for wholeness and purpose.
There is hope to heal a broken heart and I am a testament to that truth. Let’s take a deeper look at how trauma and abuse affect the brain Highland Springs Clinic and how healing the brain can heal the heart. National Institute of Health
Tips on Mending a Broken Heart
- The first step is to become willing to heal
- The second step is to listen to others whom you trust
- The third step is to literally NEVER GIVE UP and remember
- YOU CAN DO IT
- The fourth step is to remember, when self-talk may tell you that it is impossible, healing a broken heart is a PROCESS. It will take time. Healing is possible.
- The fifth step is to always look down as you climb the mountain so that you can see how far you have come
Wisdoms on a Broken Heart
- You are so worthy of a healed heart
- You are much more than your brokenness
- Happiness and Joy, Light and Freedom await you
Let your trauma strengthen you so that you can heal from the inside out. You will be AMAZED at the transformation that occurs. Remember to stay open to the miracles of healing.
This guest post was authored by Arielle Spring
Arielle, author of “When Birds Sing: My Journey from Trauma to Triumph,” is a living example of a phoenix rising. Her idyllic life spiraled out of control for over 20 years due to experiencing many traumas. In her darkest moment, she saw a light to freedom and began her ascent to wholeness. Spring’s openness, insight, and warm empathetic heart has inspired her to share her story. A health and life coach, Arielle also has served as a group facilitator for abuse and trauma victims. Visit: https://www.ariellespring.net/
Ms. Career Girl strives to provide valuable insights you can use. To see more from our columnists and guest authors, check these out! Or subscribe to our weekly email featuring our latest articles. We’re also present on Medium!