I have my book in hand, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker, as I work through it and share my thoughts and parts of my life. Just maybe it will be helpful to another reading my blog, or just for me.
Since we are all confined due to the quarantine, I decided to not do the Telehealth offered by my one counselor. Perhaps that is part of the anxiety of what I will be reading and understanding of myself in this book. When offered twice for the Telehealth, I froze and tensed up, basically freaking out within. Thanks but no thanks, I will get through this, which probably is another sign.
I tend to open a new book, skip through and find a chapter or information I was searching and become content with and in understanding. I then put it on the shelf, over and over again, majority of my books not read but I got what I needed, at the time. My books are mostly self-help and informative ones, as this book is, in order to understand and to be a better me. I have no time or interest in reading other books, such as romance, fiction, etc., which totally bore me.
This book, came to my attention from a counselor reading and discussing on Facebook. In her quarantine, she decided to read through this book each week online and discuss further. So, this has been like counseling for me as it feels personal. I believe I need this right now.
First page, a person wrote in her comments, which intrigued me to read page by page. The comment by ‘DM’ was “I found myself. I found myself in your words. It’s as if you had unzipped me, stepped inside my traumatized inner self, meandered around a bit, come back outside, and wrote about what you discovered inside of me. For the first time in my life….. and I am in my fifties now….. I don’t feel defective…. or crazy…. or “weird”…. or even unlovable.” Wow!
With that comment and what I have heard from the counselor on the Facebook page, I feel I am going to learn some things about C-PTSD, plus about myself.
I felt somewhat overwhelmed with the Table of Contents, as a lot will be covered within the book. I found it somewhat funny that Mr. Walker even suggests skipping around in the book to where you need to be. He already knows me so well, but I am going to try my best and go chapter by chapter.
The book he writes is to help the reader ‘create a map that you can follow to heal the wounds that come from not enough childhood love.’ Just that, I thought back to when my former counselor had me do a timeline from my childhood to adulthood. A timeline can be done in many ways, I myself used an excel spreadsheet, just find one that you like. Often, I wondered if she read this book. At times, when reading, I wanted to contact her. My goodness, I just got through Chapter One, but to express and say, ‘Look, look at this, this is what we had discussed so many times through the years.’ There is an excitement within me and an anticipation to read more but there is also a fear that I will have to face some issues that have been hidden. As the quote goes, If the Lord brings you to it, He will bring you through it. I want more in life, as too many years have been wasted due to circumstances, some in and some out of my control.
I am one that will mark up my books, even my Bible, as I go with underlines, arrows, stars and if a highlighter is near, I will add color to the areas that speak to me. So far, it is marked up quite a bit. Again, Wow!
I am on a journey, and I have been. At times knowing and feeling an anticipation and at other times the negative thoughts will seep in to take any hope away.
C-PTSD is a more severe form of PTSD of five common and troublesome features: emotional flashbacks, toxic shame, self-abandonment, a vicious inner critic and social anxiety. C-PTSD is a learned, not your DNA, of a failure in developmental tasks. What is learned, can be unlearned. So there is hope!
In your early years of life, it can come from growing up in a severely abusive and/or neglectful family. Traumatizing abuse and abandonment can occur on verbal, emotional, spiritual or physical levels with sexual abuse especially traumatizing.
Emotional flashbacks are sudden and often prolonged regressions to the overwhelming feelings being an abused/abandoned child (fear, shame, alienation, rage, grief and depression). All triggering the fight/flight instincts.
Toxic shame affects the self-esteem with an overwhelming sense that s/he is loathsome, ugly, stupid or fatally flawed. Toxic shame can also be created by constant parental neglect and rejection. It inhibits us from seeking comfort, often isolating. Being stuck in the negative view of yourself is probably causing emotional flashbacks.
Suicidal ideation is common, a depressed thinking or fantasizing about wanting to die, ranging from active to passive suicidality. Passive is more common with C-PTSD and typically a flashback to our early childhood when abandonment was so profound.
In this book, it was noted that C-PTSD is often misdiagnosed with various anxiety and depressive disorders, many labeled with bipolar, narcissistic, codependent, autistic spectrum and borderline disorders. C-PTSD is not recognized in the DSM manual used by mental health professionals.
The Four F’s: Fight, Flight, Freeze and Fawn, are each mentioned and how they come into play with C-PTSD, in this chapter.
This chapter was jammed pack with information that I could relate to and so many times we discussed within my counseling sessions. While reading, knowing some information already but having it in writing before my eyes, underlining and often writing ‘Me’ was mind-boggling. It took me a few days to get my thoughts in this blog because it was so much to take in and having to re-examine areas I’d rather forget.
As I journal through this book in my blog, if any of it resonates with you or if you know someone that it would, I would recommend the purchase of this book.
I am unsure how I found the counselor reading this book, but I don’t think it was by coincidence. Just as I was in counseling years ago and my journey moving forward, there was and is a part of me at times when I wanted to just stop. It was too hard.
The Four F’s mentioned, I always tend to fall in the ‘freeze’ mode, and I have felt this come into play already, which is no surprise to me. So if C-PTSD is learned of what was not provided by my parents, as in my case, I can now unlearn by myself with my willingness to walk through this further, by reading this book, continuing with my counselors once the quarantine is lifted and be thankful I had a major jumpstart with my former counselor.
Isaiah 41:10 ESV
Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 43:18-19 ESV
“Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.
National Suicide Hotline 1-800-273-8255