Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trigger warning:

  • Sexual abuse
  • Child abuse
  • Sexual violence
  • Swearing

In this part I publish texts about my own process of dealing with my complex trauma or complex post-traumatic stress disorder, and other related topics. These are texts that I wrote at the time, and writing these texts was almost always a therapeutic process as well.

It all started in the summer of 2016, when my childhood trauma made it impossible for me to continue "functioning", and the question of whether or not I was sexually abused in my childhood was dominant, an obsession. With this began my search, for the child that was me, to reconnect with the pain and fear of my childhood. It was the beginning of a rather painful process of dealing with complex PTSD.

The confinement during the health crisis caused by COVID-19 in the spring of 2020 caused a prolonged flashback, and I especially flashed back to my adolescence, to the feeling of impotence, of not being able to escape from a painful situation. But I also flashed back to other aspects of my early childhood: texts like Falling? or The House of My Fears are results of this process. Thankfully, this prompted me to get more to the ground of my complex trauma, and allowed me to make huge steps towards recovery.

I now understand my trauma as a complex trauma, and putting a name to it helps me to understand what is actually going on. I am now on a long journey of recovery.

The process is not over, and I keep adding new texts when I feel like it.

Shadows of my childhood

I can't help it, with the events of the last few weeks the shadows of my childhood have resurfaced. Less than two weeks ago I wrote about falling into the abyss of my childhood, and I think it was the very unpleasant encounter with the police this very day that pushed this abyss aside. But the subject is still present, and in the last few days more. The house of my fears is very much present.

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Small freedoms

Since Saturday we can go out for a walk or for exercise, although still with many limitations. But that's something, and on Saturday I went out in the afternoon (at the allowed time) to take a walk by the river, staying more or less within the allowed kilometer. And yesterday morning I went out by bike, also by the river, but as it is exercise, without the limitation of 1 kilometer (but only within the same municipality). They are a small freedom that help me to feel a little better.

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Crash

Yesterday, in the end, I fell. I saw it coming in the morning, but I couldn't prevent it. I crashed, and it was painful. I cried a lot, and although a long bath helped me to calm down for a while, then I cried again when I looked at the messages on my mobile. It wasn't the messages, it was the fact that we can't see each other, hug each other, and seeing the messages from friends that I would normally meet made me cry.

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"I wanna destroy myself"

All the world is rising up like vomit
Filling up my ugly little mouth
There's a sickness deep inside my eyeball
Got to find that tool to cut it out

If there's only one way out
Then tell me now
Lead me through the door
I get sick just laying around
Let me out

I wanna destroy something
I wanna destroy something
I wanna destroy myself

Ezra Furman: I wanna destroy myself

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The house of my fears

Moltkestrasse 81, 41 Duisburg-Duissern. Here is the house of my fears. Although I lived the first eight years of my life in this house, I have almost no memories beyond this address that remains etched in my memory, as if written in stone. The name of a neighbor. They tell me she was married with a son. I don't remember. I don't really remember the neighbor either, all I have left is her name (or rather her last name). I'm also told that we visited her once after we moved out, but I don't remember anything.

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Restlessness

I woke up very restless today. I didn't sleep well during the night either. I woke up at 4:30 a.m., and from that time on I could no longer sleep, or at least no more than half an hour. Still in bed, I thought about my paternal grandfather, and my anxiety rose, just as it does when I think about the house where I lived the first eight years of my life (I really have no memory of the house, beyond the address and I know quite well where it is in my hometown). But the anxiety went down again when I stopped thinking about my grandfather, or of this house.

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Calmer waters

After a week of much turbulence and storms, today I feel in calmer waters. I feel the anxiety in my chest, but more in the background. It's there, but it doesn't fully occupy me.

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Fear. Anger. Rage

I have to admit that the police drove the fear into my body yesterday. Yesterday, after I came home, my body was tense until the evening. Not even a long, hot bath was able to relax the body. It was tense and my body hurt from the tension. Only at night, after another anxiety attack and crying I don't know how long the body finally relaxed, the tension disappeared.

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Police: fuck off!

I woke up today feeling pretty bad. I got up and started to write out how I feel in a text, and then I went to the river. Already on the way I had to cry from time to time. I sat by the river, where I always sit, but this time after maybe 15-20 minutes a local police car arrived. They asked me for identification and asked me for my justification. I tried to explain to them that I need to be there, look at the water and cry, because of some old traumas. They asked me if I was on medication, and I said no.

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Falling?

Am I falling again, this time into the abyss of my infancy? In the last days I felt that I was coping with my emotions related to the current situation, with the trauma of my adolescence. With ups and downs, yes, but I didn't feel too down, nor did I have to cry too much. I was managing a manageable level of anxiety.

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