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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.

What to do when the flashback looks too much like reality (or reality like a flashback)?

Am I in a flashback? I woke up this morning with another weird dream. I don't remember everything (usually I don't remember anything, and this is the second time in a few weeks that I remember a dream), but I remember the need to escape, of - again - missing a train. I remember thinking about taking another train, but I woke up and I don't know if I managed to take this other train.

‘Family’

Last week I wrote about my parents' dictatorship of the normal. Yesterday I woke up in the morning with a very strange dream in which my brother and sister featured, ignoring my growing despair. I will not go into detail about this dream, but I read it as an invitation to reflect on my brother and sister. At present I have no contact with either of them.

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The dictatorship of the normal

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

Philip Larkin

 

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Complex PTSD II

Note: This text too was written first in English and then translated into Spanish and (maybe) German.

 

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The Trauma of Masculinity

While I'm slowly reading Pete Walker's book, Complex PTSD: From Surving to Thriving: A Guide and Map to Recovery from Childhood Trauma, I have another book to "relax", as Pete Walker's book moves me a lot sometimes, and I have to stop.

Recovery I

I have felt somewhat better since a few days, despite my experience on Sunday. However, sometimes a lot of emotions come up. I've started reading Pete Walker's book, Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma, and there are a lot of times when I have to put the book down because it's too much to cope with.

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Emotional confusion? Sexual harassment?

Yesterday at midday I took a walk along the Alameda. I went out with my headphones on, listening to music. When I got to the Alameda, a man with a bicycle spoke to me, and he accompanied me for a while until I told him I wanted to be alone. I continued my walk, and encountered the same man again and he asked me to talk. I thought 'why not?', and we sat down on a bench in the Alameda. We talked a bit, and he told me that he is a physiotherapist and lives in a village 10km from Seville. I told him I live in Seville, and we talked some more.

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The horror of the face masks

Every time, when I see news about making the use of face masks mandatory in more and more spaces, I panic, and I get anxious. I instinctively feel that wearing a mask whenever I want to go out would be a trigger for my own traumatic reactions. But I didn't understand why.

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Complex Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

It always helps me to put a name on things, what I'm going through, and complex post-traumatic stress disorder is the name that fits best, although I don't recognise myself in everything either.

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Flashbacks

In the last few weeks I've been experiencing two kinds of flashbacks. Some flashbacks I have when I think about certain things from my adolescence, like two nights ago. And another type of flashback, more painful, that comes to me without me being able to identify a trigger, and that is not linked to memories - purely emotional flashbacks, as I experienced last Saturday. To some extent I'm living in an emotional flashback since the beginning of the confinement.

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by Dr. Radut