Contrary to what you see in the movies, PTSD doesn’t always require some massive life-changing tragedy. Everyday trauma repeated regularly for long enough can lead to a form of it called Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (C-PTSD). It is a serious condition that can develop as a result of prolonged and repeated trauma. It can come with symptoms such as flashbacks, nightmares, anxiety, and depression. In fact, many people who have these symptoms don’t even realize they might stem from complex PTSD. This condition can have a significant impact on a person’s ability to function in their daily life, and can be difficult to recover from. Below, we will explore how to recover from C-PTSD and how to thrive instead of just surviving.
C-PTSD is a complex condition that develops as a result of prolonged and repeated trauma. It is different from traditional PTSD, which is typically associated with a single traumatic event. C-PTSD is characterized by symptoms such as:
- Flashbacks: Recurrent and distressing memories of the traumatic event(s)
- Nightmares: Recurrent and distressing dreams related to the traumatic event(s)
- Anxiety: Persistent fear, horror, anger, guilt, or shame
- Depression: Persistent feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, and despair
- Avoidance: Avoiding activities, places, or people that may trigger memories of the traumatic event(s)
- Self-destructive behavior: Engaging in risky or self-destructive behavior
- Emotional regulation difficulties: Difficulty regulating emotions, especially those related to the trauma
Remember that everyone’s lives, brains, personalities, and traumas are unique. So take these symptoms with a grain of salt and never attempt to self-diagnose. Whether you live in Florida or anywhere else if you think you might suffer from C-PTSD, check in with a licensed mental health professional to put your struggles into context and figure out the next best steps.
5 Steps To Start Your Recovery Journey
These are by no means the only steps to take in order to fully recover from trauma’s damaging effects. Therapy is essential for heavy trauma-based conditions. However, these 5 steps are powerful tools to center yourself and mitigate its effect before and during therapy
- Learn about C-PTSD: Education is key to understanding and managing C-PTSD. Learn as much as you can about the condition and how it affects you.
- Practice self-care: Self-care is essential in the recovery process. Engage in activities that nourish your body, mind, and spirit such as exercise, meditation, and yoga.
- Connect with others: Connecting with others who have experienced similar trauma can be a powerful tool in recovery. Consider joining a support group for individuals with C-PTSD.
- Use mindfulness techniques: Mindfulness techniques such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga can help to reduce symptoms of C-PTSD such as anxiety and depression.
- Create a safety plan: Create a safety plan for dealing with triggers and flashbacks. This can include having a list of people to call, places to go, and activities to do when you feel triggered.
Thriving Over Surviving
Recovering from C-PTSD is a process that takes time and effort. Remember that healing is possible, but you need to stay kind and patient with yourself and understand that recovery is not linear. There will be good days and bad days, but with the right approach and support, you can learn to manage your symptoms and live a fulfilling life.
Complex trauma-based conditions can be incredibly painful and difficult to work through though. The best path to healing from such a difficult and complicated condition is through therapy with a skilled and licensed professional.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed and the struggles you’re going through are too much to bear, I’m here for you. My name is Jessica Harrison LCSW, and I’m an experienced therapist based out of Palm Beach Gardens. My experience helping people from all walks of life spans 24 years, and I look forward to walking your path of healing with you. If you’re ready to outgrow your traumas and live life the way you want, contact me today.