Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Trigger warning:

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. And I am still in the process of figuring out how to deal with the issue of childhood sexual abuse, but I am ever more clear that I am a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

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.

Me, the shower and my mother: another revision of a narrative

Last weekend I came back to a memory from my childhood that has been tormenting me regularly for decades, but I will never have an answer to it. In this case it all starts with a memory, but the question I ask myself in relation to this memory has no answer. Once again I have to live with creating a narrative for myself - another narrative that I have now revised, just as I recently revised my narrative on the subject of sexual abuse in my childhood.

COVID – Trauma – Depression

For a month now I have been reconnecting with my traumas - in the plural.

Trauma Survivor

Page from my journal from today

Today I wrote in my journal:

Trauma survivor? How does this sound? I have never thought of this term before, it is not used so much in Spanish, it seems, but it makes a lot of sense.

I survived:

  • prolonged emotional abandonment by my parents,

  • arbitrary violence, especially in my early years,

  • psychological violence,

  • permanent intrusions into my intimate space by my mother, completely ignoring my autonomy over my body,

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Sexual abuse and uncertainty: from "I don't know, probably not" to "most probably something has happened"...

Living with uncertainty about possible sexual abuse is a crappy. It is difficult to manage the pain of an unknown past, especially when emotions from your past start to haunt you.

From flashback to flashback?

I don't know if I'm still in my flashback from the beginning of the week, or if I'm going from flashback to flashback. I can't seem to recover, or not for more than a few hours. Yesterday I had my fatal moments, and I was struggling most of the day not to fall completely. I managed in the afternoon, and, in fact, felt quite well during and after the assembly of my beloved queer group at my home.

Flashback! Again those damn flashbacks

The flashbacks are back, and with a vengeance. These damn purely emotional flashbacks, with no memory in my mind, and sometimes (many times) it takes me quite a while to realise that I'm having a flashback.

I had a pretty brutal flashback from at least Monday noon until Tuesday afternoon. I was almost pure fear, an unexplainable fear based on my current situation or some of the things that are going on around me. An emotional flashback. A fear of my past, of my childhood or adolescence.

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25 November: Healing Trauma through Artivism

I recently wrote about the trauma of my last relationship in relation to 25 November, and how this trauma is related to 25 November and the work in our queer group on patriarchal violence beyond a cisheteronormative framework. In fact, this work has been the trigger, which has made me connect with this trauma, a trauma I didn't even know existed.

For 25N: (not) establishing boundaries and complex trauma

In my beloved queer group Disidencias del Sur we started to work on patriarchal violence within and towards the LGBTIQA+ collective for 25 November. It is an important and necessary work, as it is usually only made visible within a cisheteronormative framework: cis hetero man towards cis hetero woman. We think that patriarchal violence affects us all.

(Semi) Quarantine and Complex Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

I knew this was going to happen sooner or later: six days ago I was in close contact with a friend who later tested positive for COVID. On Wednesday a friend alerted me, and I contacted Salud Responde. As I am fully vaccinated (the privilege of age) I don't have to do a strict quarantine, but I do have to avoid close contacts, i.e. I can't really meet anyone, except with distance and a face mask, which doesn't work for me. I wear a face mask when there are a lot of people, or when I go into a shop, or on public transport.

Living with trauma in times of a pandemic

 

The pandemic has caused mental health problems for many people. But for those of us who were already living with trauma before the pandemic, it has been and is proving to be an especially difficult and often painful challenge.

Even in 'normal' times, living with trauma is often not easy. I speak from experience, as I live with complex trauma. This means that I am still struggling to recognise my patterns of trauma, my automatic survival mechanisms, which allowed me to survive a traumatic childhood and adolescence, but which now often prevent me from being aware of my emotions, from setting limits, from trusting friends.

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