C-PTSD, PTSD, Past Abuse, Self Care and Intimate Relationships

If you have come from a history of any kind of mental abuse, then you are carrying some psychological damage with you, all the time. There is rarely anyone to talk to about it who really wants to listen to you. You are not alone in feeling this way.

Talking to a therapist can be helpful, but it is not the same as talking to your intimate partner,  when you have one.

We can tell someone about our abusive past, when we first begin our relationship with them, or at whatever point in the relationship that we choose to talk to them about it. Unless they were also abused, they did not really understand the full level of what you told them.

If they were also abused, it was not exactly the same as yours, and they can understand only in their own frame of reference. The better you understand yourself, the better you can communicate about it them, but you may not really understand all about what your past abuse did to you.

You are seeking comfort and you are seeking answers and healing. This is a lot to put upon a person. I have done the same and expected some healing to come of it.

Every time I had a new partner, I became more and more aware that there is only one “first time” to connect with them about any given aspect of your past abuse. I got to where I almost grieved for the first time …prior to even having the “abuse in my past” conversation  yet.

The other problem is that you can tell them the stories one time and mention them a few more times. But sooner or later, people do not want to keep hearing about your abuse. They heard it once and now they think they “get it”

Partners that were also abused may even compete with you for “the more abused person” award. This is never helpful, whether you feel you had worse abuse or not. It is not a contest,  and there is more involved than merely, what happened to whom.

Surprisingly, there is often an element of this competition between intimate partners, who both have C-PTSD. It is just human nature to want someone to hear you. If you feel “trumped” by your partner, then you cannot really feel validated.

But your need to talk and connect about what you are feeling, is still there, even after you have talked to someone about it many times. There is still a hole that has not been filled. It cannot be filled by that one person.

The problem is that after you told them the first time, you did not really feel better. You were hoping that confiding about your past with someone who cared about you, would be really helpful to you. But after you told them about it, you reopened the pain, 

Not only did you reopen the pain, but now you have used up your one time to tell them the whole entire story, or the part of the story that you told them, for the first time.

There is no other “first time” to tell the same person. There is something about the first time of telling someone that you want to get back. You want to do it again. It did feel good in a way, because you got the full effect of experiencing their reaction to what happened to you.

Now, in order to tell someone for the first time again, you would have to change to a new person.

You may break your abuse stories up into pieces. That way you can tell your partner a little at a time, This way you get that “first time” sympathy, shock or whatever emotional response they gave you.

If you are honest with yourself, as soon as you tell your story to your partner for the first time, and they really feel sympathy for you, you want to get that first time back again. It is almost like sex. Once the first time with a new partner is done, then it is done.

Over time you may be able to continue talking and bonding in some way, that is helpful to your healing. But often times trying to be healed by connecting with your partner about your abuse ends up in disappointment.

This is one reason that abused people sometimes change partners after a certain period of time. There is a need to talk about your abuse, with someone who is intimately close to you. That feeling that you had the “first time” does not come back, You want it again.

The answer of course, lies in the fact that no partner can heal us from our past abuse. It was not their fault, It may be difficult for them to listen to all the time and they cannot heal you.

Our healing must come from work that we do ourselves. Through self exploration. and self healing, we can learn that our memories do not have to control us.

Often times our memories are distorted by the age we were at the time and the confusion and lies that were being told to us, by the abusers. Shame and confusion we feel about our past, are partially due to the memories being distorted.

If we were to watch a home video of our past, we might be surprised that there were things that occurred, that we do not have the slightest recollection of. Other memories are seen like movies in our heads, but at the time of the abuse, all of our senses were involved.

Self love, self care and self healing, through all of the aspects of your being, is the only way to heal. talking with our partner about our abuse,can be helpful.

We can even talk to them about our self healing methods and how we are learning what kinds of things work.

There is no One Conversation that will heal you from Complex PTSD or from PTSD. The amount of time and level of psychological injury that occurred, could not possibly be healed by any one thing, or one person.

It is too much to ask another person to do . If we expect someone to be our sole confidant and to heal us, then it will lead to resentment on both sides.

As we walk along our path to healing, we will continue to find new ways to help ourselves. We can share our experiences here and also with our partner.

This is a more realistic approach to healing from CPTSD or PTSD. Those are the root causes for many mental illnesses.

Spirituality, research, self care and communication with others who have been through similar trauma, can help us to continue on our path to healing.

I am too tired to edit right now. Sorry about that..I will check it tomorrow but i really felt like I wanted to get these words out to you tonight , for some reason.

Blessings,

Annie

Showing Kindness to Yourself About Your Mental Illness

your heartYour mental illness has caused some level of disorganization in your brain. What the cause of your mental illness is, could be a variety of possibilities, but the feeling of disconnection is there.

Disconnection exists at various levels within our brains and in our lives. It feels like having broken pieces, jagged edged that no longer seem to fit together the way they used to. Bits of pieces are over there…and bits of pieces are over there…

We are not entirely sure if all of the original pieces actually still exist, because we cannot fit enough of them together to check for missing puzzle pieces. Sometimes ot seems like we are being forced by therapists to shove all of the pieces back together again.

The problem is…these are not the original pieces of your brain, in the original form. You cannot just put things back together and miraculously be the same as you were once before.

The mind is like a stream. It is constantly in movement. You cannot step into the same exact  stream twice, because as soon as you life out your foot the water has changed again, before you place your into the water again.

The neurons in our brains are constantly adapting to our behaviors, including our emotional behaviors.  Every new experience creates new neuronal connections. The more times you repeat a behavior, the more solid the connections relating to that behavior become. But they can always be changed.

The original combination of connections from any given point in our past, cannot be recreated by therapy or anything else. The reason for this is that we have had new experiences since then.

We are at the place where we are. The connections that exist right now, in your brain are what you have at this moment. The reasons for the exact combination of connections are many.

The experiences that we have had, up until this very moment are part of our organic brains. They cannot be removed. You cannot suddenly become a person that was never abused, never hospitalized or never had a mental breakdown.

The things that happened are part of your past, and we have to somehow find  way to survive and thrive, in spite of the trauma we have experiences in our lives.

The feeling that things are disorganized and broken into pieces, is a very real feeling. If you have mental illness, or are recovering from mental trauma, you may have trouble connecting the parts of your brain together, needed to function.

The brain is made up of different parts that have different functions. There can be a failure of the parts to work together properly.

The mentally ill brain does not connect the halves of the brain, the frontal cortex , the nervous system and the other functions, in the way that they connect with other people. This is a reason for memory problems, feelings of severe depression when nothing is seemingly wrong, and feelings of a severe threat when no threat is imminent.

In a well oiled machine, the parts all move together as a unit and help each other. They each do their job to the highest level of function and each part is functioning properly.

missing a piece

Trauma can cause damage to certain parts of the brain, They become overloaded and do not know how to protect us from further trauma. In any mental illness, your brain will try to protect you from further mental trauma, in a ditch effort to survive.

When you are in danger of retraumatization, your brain will change the way it connects the parts together and the way the parts function. It is no longer working the way a “normal” brain works, during safe circumstances.

So, your brain is disorganized, and your perceptions can be altered. It is really that you just cannot tolerate any more pain and trauma to your mind. Stigma about mental illness is one of the things that can cause retraumatization. The need to hide the mental suffering from others, is very traumatizing.

We can rewire our brains to become healthier and more functional, over time, with kindness to ourselves. We have to be mindful about our limitations and not judgemental of ourselves.

Understanding that our brains are  really are not currently wired the same way as other people, will take a great amount of guilt, shame and anxiety off of us.

People with mental illness deal with stigma and judgement from others, but we tend to be hardest on ourselves.

 Feelings of shame, inadequacy and guilt actually serve to retraumatize the brain. Having the emotional behavior of self judgement, is something that will prevent healing. There is no positive result from shaming ourselves.

You are who you are today. You are functioning at the level of function that you are able to. You cannot do anything to change the moments that have lead up to this present time.

Forgiveness is something you offer to others. Why not offer forgiveness and tolerance to yourself?

You are no less worthy of patience, kindness and love from yourself, than anyone else. You matter. It is not your fault. Your brain is a little crazy but…..so what.

Often times what makes us crazier than most, also gives us gifts of understanding and empathy, that others do not have. We can keep these gifts and see the value in ourselves for having them.

You can be kind and patient with yourself today, just the same as you would be if you were interacting with a person outside of yourself, that was suffering.

Blogging About Mental Illness

Blog About Mental Illness

Blog to learn and inform

Blog to create awareness

Blog to fight stigma

Blog to create connection

Blog to be heard

Blog to listen to others

Blog to grow and heal

Blog to survive and thrive!

PTSD poem … Silent and Invisible

Who is left to hold us when the nights get dark

After we have watched them walk away one by one?

Thoughts of utter terror filling our hearts

Vulnerable and frozen from fear

Who is left to listen to our racing thoughts

After we have heard them all hang up,

one by one?

Because no one wants to be close to you now

When your life is ruled by fear 

and your mind is so tormented by trauma

Derealization / Depersonalization Disorder Part 2 / Memory Failure

bfmh15-4-copy

“I pledge my commitment to the Blog for Mental Health 2015 Project. I will blog about mental health topics not only for myself, but for others. By displaying this badge, I show my pride, dedication, and acceptance for mental health. I use this to promote mental health education in the struggle to erase stigma.”

blogformentalhealth.com 

http://blogformentalhealth.com/take-the-pledge/

This post is has been submitted to the Blog for mental health. The link to the blog is above, and I encourage you to check out this blog which is dedicated to raising awareness about mental health.

This is the second part of my posts on derealization / depersonalization disorder. Part 1 can be viewed here.

One thing that I have experienced is a major lack of disorganization of my thoughts.

The thoughts become disorganized, meaning that they do not flow in a logical order. There are pieces of thoughts here and there, that come and then go, and then come back again.

I try to begin with a train of thought and then quickly do not remember where I was going with it. A little later it comes back to me and I can continue on with it for a minute or two, before it is lost again.

Last night I wrote a post from the state of derealization and I will post it next. I had to pause completely in places, to figure out what I was thinking and in those cases I put a “dot dot dot”  … or …Uhg …or something like that and that is where I was stopping to get my brain back together.

risk

The memory fails to function properly. Once in a while I get into a severe anxiety state, that goes into some level of derealization and then my memory just fails. I cannot even remember a simple direction given to me by a coworker.

They will tell me to do something and when I walk down the hall, the memory of what they told me leaves. I don’t just mean that I forget what they told me. I will will actually forget “that” they told me.

I wonder why I am walking that direction down the hall. I make an educated guess as to what I may have been going in that direction for, but I completely have lost the fact that someone gave me a specific task to do.

The harder I try to keep on track, the more nervous I get over the fact that I am not remembering simple directions, the worse my ability to keep track of things gets.

As I mentioned most people that have episodes of the derealization state have trauma of some kind in their past or present. Sometimes situations occur that are too overwhelming and trigger post traumatic stress.

In the case that you are still living with some kind of mental or other abuse, the actual abuse can cause the derealization and / or the depersonalization mode to kick in. Actually, it is more like parts of the grounded brain function are shutting off, than it is like something is kicking in.

out of mind

This can occur to perfectly intelligent and logical people. It is not a sign of lack of intelligence. In fact, the more intelligent, sensitive and creative a person is, the more severely their brain is sometimes affected by mental types of abuse.

The brain keeps attempting to put the abuse into some category of ration and logic. Since it cannot do that, the brain becomes more and more traumatized , as it tried to organize the information surrounding the abuse.

Derealization and depersonalization often goes with another disorder such as bipolar disorder, PTSD, dissociative disorder or a severe anxiety disorder.

Later this afternoon, I will post the writing from the night I was still in the derealization state. I had begun to come out of it enough to be able to write. I talk about what it had been like for me earlier that day.

The worst part of the day had been in the early afternoon. The post was written late that night, while I was still struggling with the symptoms, but I was better than the time of the day that I describe in the post.

Hopefully this will shed some light on this less understood disorder and be of help to people who feel very alone about having this disorder.

I think that most people that experience this, keep it to themselves, for fear of sounding crazy or not being understood. This is also true for me and this is really the first time I have decided to be truthful and transparent about these experiences.

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