Tag Archives: C-PTSD

Brokenness

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Growing up I had many fears.   They were not just ordinary kid fears.  For there were things which lurked in the dark.  Things from which my parents could not protect me.   I often felt petrified particularly at night.   The nights were long and at times seemed to stretch out interminably.

To make matters worse the landscape of my daytime was such that I was rather invisible.   Usually well-behaved, I got lost in the shuffle of the chaos and discord,  the cacophony of our home.  I needed comfort after the unspeakable terror of the night.  I often fantasized about being rescued by a benevolent parent archetype.  Someone who would recognize my hidden suffering and rescue me from the profane which my parents could not see.

So ever since I was small I can remember seeking out bits of care and affection hoping to stitch together enough to survive.    I have a crystal clear memory of cutting a bunch of lavender colored lilacs with a pair of scissors from the bush outside my bedroom window.   I brought them to school as a gift for my 3rd grade teacher, with some tin foil wrapped at the base.  I was hoping my good deed would earn me a bit of her praise.  Wishing she might look favorably upon me.   I was starving, aching for somebody, anybody,  to tell me that I was a good girl.

That desperation has not changed much since then; only my age has.

Even when I have managed to capture that attention and validation from a man as an adult,  that I had so desperately sought back then, I cannot hold onto the warmth I feel from receiving it for very long.  Because my early childhood trauma left me with a hole somewhere, all of the warmth and goodness I am able to take in slips away into the darkness leaving me feeling empty and alone.

I have been left in a constant unending cycle of seeking attention and validation from others.  The process itself is exhausting, time-consuming, and always ends the same.   I must begin it all over.

Trying to figure out how to construct the emotional glue with which to fill this invisible hole has proven a lot harder than I ever imagined.  For I don’t know where the hole exists within myself to patch and the spackle is not readily available at the local hardware store.

I still feel like a little girl inside, wanting that care and reassurance that I am lovable and good.  There is the sobering realization that it’s all going to have to come from me.  I’m going to have to be that voice I always needed.

I don’t want to shoulder this.  I want a different way.  I continue to struggle with accepting that there will never be anyone to rescue me.   There won’t be any grown up to tell me that I’m good.  Because I’m not 7 years old anymore, even if I feel like it on the inside.

It sucks being broken.   Dealing with kid feelings, kid fears, in a grown up body.

Kid Fears – The Indigo Girls – 1988

Pain from pearls, hey little girl
How much have you grown?
Pain from pearls, hey little girl
Flowers for the ones you’ve known
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Secret staircase (secret staircase), running high (running high)
You had a hiding place
Secret staircase (secret staircase), running low (running low)
They all know, now you’re inside
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Kid fears
Skipping stones, we know the price now
Any sin will do
How much further, if you can spin
How much further, if you are smooth
Are you on fire (are you on fire)
From the years? (from the years)
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Replace the rent with the stars above
Replace the need with love
Replace the anger with the tide
Replace the ones, the ones, the ones, that you love
The ones that you love
Are you on fire
From the years?
What would you give for your
Kid fears?
Are you on fire
From the years
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
What would you give for your
Kid fears
You can’t feel
The kids
Songwriters: Amy Elizabeth Ray / Emily Ann Saliers

 


I’m a Marketing Dream

It occurred to me the other day as I stared blankly out of the window, not wanting to get out of bed, just like every other day, I am in the Bell Jar.  

So many of the commercials on TV for medications to treat depression are so fake.  They depict people suffering with it having a seemingly mild case of the doldrums. Just moving as if stuck in molasses.

They never show you what depression really looks like.

I am willing to let a pharmaceutical company film me to get a more accurate depiction.  It would look something like this…..

Voice over of announcer: “Depression robs a person of their energy.”

Camera pans to me sitting in the middle of my living room with a mountain of dirty laundry staring at it like the woman from Close Encounters of a Third Kind.  Saying, “I know I should wash you” and then just shaking my head no and finally collapsing back into the cushion and saying “fuck it.”  I am down to one pair of clean panties this is now my “edge play.”

Voice of announcer:  “Depression feels physical.” 

Camera lens catches me glancing outside at the morning school bus through the window .  I move to the kitchen and stare at the heaping pile of dishes that has amassed in the sink and repeat “fuck it” as I then head to the bed and proceed to pull the blinds and dive in to the sheets.  (Time elapses)   I rise in my pajamas in a haze hearing the afternoon school bus pulls around the block again.

Voice of announcer:  “Depression causes changes in appetite.”

Last scene too fucking easy.  Like a vampire rising from the mist I awake from bed to eat a box of Girl Scout  cookies.  Because anyone knows that if doesn’t come out of a package or ready-to-eat microvave box, then food isn’t consumed.  Camera fades with me on the couch with said cookies in the middle of the night swearing at the Girl Scouts, blaming them for peddling their crack.

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Real Depression?

Depression is wearing the same pear of sweat pants and tee-shirts every day like a uniform, and having hygiene fall to the wayside til’ someone has to insist a shower is taken.   Brushing teeth? what’s that? there’s no energy.  Sleeping 16 hours a day feels natural.    Feeling black even when the sun is shining.

Depressions steals a person of their  emotions.  Such that life holds neither joy, nor sorrow, no anger, no pain.  It steals away the ability to imagine, to dream, to hope for a better day.  It is the great equalizer changing healthy,  robust,  thriving people into living, breathing, vacuous zombies pondering their very existence.

*******

Why doesn’t Roche, Pfizer, or GlaxoSmithKline want to show what real depression looks like?  Because their drugs are largely ineffective against severe forms of it.   You will look and feel the same on their drugs as you will off them.    Big Pharma doesn’t want anyone to know that.  If the efficacy of their products aren’t much better than a placebo than Lord have mercy, where would their capitalist enterprise be?

I have tried 13 anti-depressants over my lifetime and only one did something.  Not a great track record for pills as monotherapy.   If you are mildly depressed, pills may snap your serotonin back into shape.  Buddy, if you have a severe case of dysthymia, and some C-PTSD you are not going to have that sort of response.

Millions of people are suffering with depression.   Big Pharma wants to profit from the pills they produce to treat a condition that is largely unresponsive to pharmacological intervention.

The most common reason for people to become depressed is sustaining stress and trauma.  Until we become more pro-active as a society about preventing trauma both in childhood and in adulthood we are destined to fail by looking for a pharmaceutical panacea to remedy the problem.

Learning how to intervene once children and adults have been identified as having been exposed to trauma and getting these individuals trauma informed care, we have the hope of healing them.

People need people.  The broken trust that happens through the process of trauma needs to be repaired.   Pharmaceuticals certainly have their place as an aide.  The way out of depression starts with the desire; the wanting to climb out of the bell jar.  Once that decision has been made to seek help, the human factor, not a pill, will always be a more effective “treatment”.

 

 

 

 


Toxic Shame

0E6185B6-ADF6-490A-9675-B1E2F5FD549EComplex trauma has left a wound on me that I don’t know will ever heal.  Or maybe it’s that there’s so much scar tissue I just need to get used to that “new normal” of who I’ve  become.

Complex trauma is still a relatively new field of psychology. Complex post-traumatic stress disorder.  (C-PTSD) results from enduring complex trauma.

Complex trauma is ongoing or repeated interpersonal trauma, where the victim is traumatized in captivity, and where there is no perceived way to escape. Ongoing child abuse is captivity abuse because the child cannot escape. Domestic violence is another example. Forced prostitution/sex trafficking is another.

In my particular case, I was a victim of childhood incest.  It is the hardest thing to type that sentence, harder still to say it out loud.  I want to delete the sentence and delete “it” from my history.  Additionally, there was heavy-handed corporal punishment which by today’s standards would be considered physical abuse.   There was definite emotional abuse and at times neglect.  Continual domestic violence pervaded my childhood home.  My home did not often feel like the safe place it should.

Later in adulthood, I was the victim of domestic violence within my two major long-terms relationships.   I don’t know that I even recognized it happening as such it seemed so familiar.  If that makes sense.

All of my life I have struggled with low self-esteem.   Underneath my low self-esteem  belies a  darker feeling .   There is this deep sense of shame I have carried since as long as I can remember.

Unlike ordinary shame, “internalized shame” lingers and changes our self-image. It’s shame that has become “toxic.

When a person is ruled by toxic shame it interferes with their ability to accept positive regard.   For in childhood they internalized the belief of not being worthy of being loved or given any attention.

It dawned on me today as I couldn’t look into the mirror, that I just hate myself because I’m ashamed of me.

I wonder if this shame will ever leave.  I’ve got a new shrink I’ve been seeing for about 9 months.   I’ll call her Lee.  One can’t help but feel disillusioned after 20 years in/out of therapy.   I’ve ditched seeing Lee the past month.  Made up some excuse or other.  I mean everyone needs a mental health day from the mental health provider.   Oh wait this can’t be treatment resistance this soon can it?  I am feeling vulnerable because we are past the point of rapport building, and she’s a quick study.  She sees through my best defense mechanisms, and is trying to dig deeper and I’m running like hell.

There’s no shame in investing in a sturdy paper bag to wear over my head to hide myself, right?  Wearing bags are so much easier than facing your own demons.  ‘Cause Lord knows I’m hoping for a loophole.

 

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