Complex PTSD vs. PTSD
Welcome to my world!
In the text below, I'll try to explain what I have been, and still is, fighting:
My demons all wrapped up in 5 simple letters: C-PTSD, or Complex PTSD and what makes "it" different from "common PTSD".
My journey up on today, where I now know "what's wrong with me", started about 4 years ago when I realized that I need help to survive this!
Exactly what made me come to the above conclusion is a topic that I'm saving for a later post, since that is still a "to tough" thing to deal with publicly...
So back on topic, or rather let me explain the topic and foremost why I decided to write this text.
This summer I met up with my little sister while she and her SO where down here on the west cost and she asked me how things where with me and I spitted it out;
Me: "I'm diagnosed with something called Complex PTSD (C-PTSD)"
Sis: "I know about PTSD, but what on earth is C-PTSD, and how does that differ from the former?"
And below you have how I tried to explain what makes the two different:
I keep it all inside because I'd rather the pain destroy me, than everyone else.
- PTSD typically results from "short-lived trauma", or traumas of time-limited duration.
Complex PTSD stems from chronic, long-term exposure to trauma in which a victim has limited belief it will ever end or cannot foresee a time that it might.
This can include: child abuse, long-term domestic violence, being held in captivity, living in crisis conditions/a war zone, child exploitation, human trafficking, and more.
- The causal factors are no all that separate PTSD from C-PTSD; how their symptoms manifest can tell you even more.
PTSD is weighted heaviest in the post-traumatic symptoms: nightmares, flashbacks, hyper-arousal/startle response, paranoia, burst of emotion, etc...
C-PTSD includes all of those as well as a change in self-concept - how they see themselves, their perpetrator, their morals and values, their faith in others or a god.
It can completely overhaul a survivor's entire world view as they try to make sense of their trauma, and still maintain a belief that they, and the world around them, could still be good or safe.
- Healing and recovery.
PTSD can be rehabilitated in as little as mere months, or a couple of years for others.
C-PTSD can take even longer that that just to be diagnosed; the recovery that then follows can take several years.
Comorbid conditions also challenge the healing from C-PTSD and may need attention first before resolving the underlying trauma (though, good treatment target both simultaneously).
Due to the way prolonged, intensive trauma wraps itself around a person's entire self-concept - and processing one memory often pulls forth 20 others just like it - untangling there things can be incredibly difficult and unsafe to try at an accelerated a pace.
I believe that Dr. Mark Goulston summarize things pretty well with this quote:
Trauma shatters your most basic assumptions about yourself and your world - "Life is good", "I'm safe", "people are kind", "I can trust others", "The future os likely to be good" -and replaces them with feelings like "The world is dangerous", "I can't win", "I can't trust other people..."
As you can see/guess C-PTSD is nothing that you will explain for "outsiders" easily, but hopefully the above can help someone more then me...