27th September 2021 at 1:59 am #131891
I am new to the forums.
As a teenager I was in an abusive relationship. I have always had low level CPTSD as a result of that but never really addressed it. My abuser has lived in a different country for a long time since the abuse happened, although he continued to stalk and harass me online for years. However as he was in a different country I have felt far away and much safer even though that was distressing, and in more recent times I have not heard from him at all and mostly just put it to the back of my mind (whilst still having CPTSD symptoms).
Recently I decided to read through all my old diaries, opening up old wounds but wanting to find a way to process what happened and heal the wounds properly rather than letting them fester any longer. I read them all with my current partner present, and read most of the contents of this relationship out loud and shared it all with him so I wasn’t alone reading them and he also got to hear exactly what happened to me. I was going to then get therapy to process all the stuff – a lot of which I had forgotten. I started to experience more dramatic symptoms of CPTSD but still saw it as an opportunity to hash this stuff out in my brain.
Then my abuser moved back, and he is now living a short drive from where I live. My symptoms have gone into absolute overdrive and I am having so many conflicting and confusing feelings and thoughts around the whole thing. I know that what I am feeling is a mixture of CPTSD and trauma bonding but that knowledge doesn’t make it any easier. I have been in constant distress for months now and I am EXHAUSTED. Top of my list is getting therapy, but I also just wanted to connect here with people who really get it. I do have one very close friend who completely understands as she has also been in an abusive relationship and she is my rock through this but she also lives a super busy life so I guess I just needed somewhere to vent and connect and so I decided to join up here.
I find it hard to relax at the best of times but I haven’t been able to relax for months now and I am struggling.
Thanks to anyone who has taken the time to read all this.
27th September 2021 at 7:47 am #131900KIP.Participant
Definitely get some good therapy. the Body Keeps The Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk is a good book all about trauma. Have a look at EMDR for trauma. It has got good results. The body really does keep the score. I found minds really useful in distracting my brain from the trauma and it takes regular practice. The effects of Abuse can take over our lives. I reported my ex to,the police too which empowered me and gave me back a feeling of control. My PTSD got worse when I felt out of control and floundering. I had to feel safe before I could begin to heal too. It might be worth talking to the police. You have diaries and these men are often serial offenders so you may find there are more victims or he has a criminal record now. Gather a support network around you. GP, family, solicitor, police, therapist, friends that understand. Talking to other survivors validated my experience and gave me the understanding I needed. Google the amygdala. It’s the part of the brain that processes danger and it keeps kicking off years after the danger has passed.Understanding the psychology and physical effects really helped too. You have unresolved trauma and now you’re stronger and have support maybe it’s time to resolve that and take back control x
27th September 2021 at 11:07 am #131912
I am struggling with PTSD,
I start therapy this week.
Kip, you ‘found minds really useful in distracting my brain from the trauma and it takes regular practice.’
What did you mean?
27th September 2021 at 1:58 pm #131922
Hi KIP, thanks for responding. I am halfway through The Body Keeps the Score actually! I am very aware of the psychology and physiology behind trauma which is why I said that having the knowledge hasn’t made it any easier, which sucks!
I am not able to afford EMDR unless the charity I am looking at provides it, I don’t earn enough to be able to pay for normal rate private therapy, but I have heard very good things about it. I wish it were an option for me, but maybe some time in the future. I definitely could not afford a solicitor nor would I have grounds to even get one right now.
What do you mean by you find minds really good for distracting the brain?
I am aware of a criminal record of his in the other country. One unrelated to abuse. The other was related to abuse but was dismissed by a judge. Of course again, this is in a different country so he won’t have any record here except for when i reported his harassment years ago and was met by a completely invalidating response. I probably will report all the stuff anyway just in case, but it definitely won’t make me feel safe as I have zero faith in the police.
I guess what I’m saying is I know all the Big Life things I should be doing to deal with the trauma, I just want to be able to connect with people going through the same thing, and also hear what people do in the moment when things feel really overwhelming.
Thanks so much for replying, it sounds like we are on the same page with the things that would be helpful long term.
27th September 2021 at 1:59 pm #131923
I hope the therapy goes well. What type of therapy have you chosen to do?
27th September 2021 at 11:27 am #131913KIP.Participant
Sorry I meant mindfulness. Mindful exercises. Mindful walking. There are some good free resources online x distraction techniques. I wore a rubber bank on my wrist and pinged it when my thoughts strayed to somewhere I didn’t want to go however in the beginning there wasn’t much I could do apart from let the waves wash over me and hold on to my sanity x
27th September 2021 at 2:02 pm #131924
Ah right, I am not someone who get on with mindfulness I’m afraid, but I am glad it worked for you! I do a lot of walking but I’m just scanning the area waiting for him to appear or wondering if he is in every car that drives past. Ugh!!!
Hahah you’re so right “let the waves wash over me and hold onto my sanity” that is how it feels a bit. I guess it is getting the balance right between finding (healthy) ways to cope and accepting that it is going to be a rough ride.
27th September 2021 at 2:13 pm #131926
Hi TiaMaria, I recommend the book ‘You can heal your life’ by Shannon Thomas, really great book to lift you up. I listened to it on audible then bought it paperback because it has so many great exercises & affirmations.
My local DA is offering me some free therapy, then reduced rate if needed after I finish the 6 free sessions. Also my sister is getting 6 free EMDR session from the NHS, she was referred to by her GP.
So I would check with your local DA & GP for what services you can get where you live.
I was also recommended by someone here about activating your vagus nerve, the rest and digest system. To turn off the fight and flight mode. Things like cold water, deep breathing, massage, if you google it you can find out more. But I have found the cold water very good, also I do about 1hr of yoga & deep breathing every night. Yoga has been essential for my recovery! I do not know what I could of done without it.
I also listen to comforting audio books, the last few days have been hard and I listened to my favorite childhood books most the time just to feel better. But I realized today, holding back tears will only postpone them for later. They are coming out today.
27th September 2021 at 2:35 pm #131927
Hi Eyesopening, thanks for responding.
I will look up that book now!
What did you mean by DA? Will talk to my GP about EMDR but as far as I’m aware everyone is referred just for CBT around here which is rubbish, but can’t hurt to ask. I do however hate the whole “6 sessions” thing – how do we heal from something so big in 6 sessions???
The counselling I am looking at is based on income, it is not EMDR but is person centred therapy. So I am going to look into that on payday as there is a registration fee.
Ah i will definitely look up the vagus system thing you recommend. I used to do a lot of yoga but don’t really do much anymore – maybe it is time to get back into it!
I don’t know whether to say sorry that you aren’t holding back tears today as letting them flow seems like a necessary and good thing. I find it REALLY hard to cry. Only twice earlier on when my abuser had moved back did I have a complete meltdown with very intense, loud sobbing. Since then I haven’t been able to shed a single tear. I feel like I would feel a bit of release of the inner tension and pressure if I could do that more often! I hope you feel a release of some tension after crying today.
Edit: I just looked up the book but it comes up as by Louise Hay? Can’t find one by Shannon Thomas.
27th September 2021 at 3:08 pm #131929
Hi Tia Maria
Thanks for your kind words
Oh sorry – Its Louise Hay yes.
Shannon Thomas is the Healing from hidden abuse author, I must be mixing them up.
Yeah, its funny about crying, for a long time I didn’t cry, especially in the end of relationship, I had one big cry before leaving. I do not cry that often anymore. I really like the analogy of rough waters. There will be a calm, when everything is quiet & still, then the stormy waters will come and it will be really tough and you will feel pain, cry, whatever it is. Then calm waters will come, each storm you go through, the calmer the waters became, the easier and better you will feel.
Defo give yoga a try, one of the lovely ladies omn here, told me she could go into a yoga session feeling fine, but the release of yoga will mean she starts to cry, and I have actually experienced this now also. Especially with having to work and hold back the tears all day. Its the time to release all tension.
It truly feels like that. This is now my stormy waters, I have to fight through to get to the calm and I should feel even better then the last time..
Hope that makes sense 🙂
I mean DA – Domestic Abuse Services, you should have local services.
I know CBT is good, but for Abuse, it’s not so helpful I found it to be more confusing.
But if you go to your GP with CPTSD, then they hopefully can direct you to something else,
Any trauma therapy from your GP will be a bonus, even if its not EMDR.
6 seems very small, but I was relieved to find i can carry on at a reduced amount if needed.
27th September 2021 at 4:35 pm #131935
Hi I thought I responded but I now can’t see my reply to you so I will try again…
What is the Shannon Thomas book about/like? Any good?
I feel like I am in a storm at the moment but with no way to release because I am not really able to cry. I hope that you will keep finding release and relief with each cycle and continue to feel better each time.
I have heard of yoga having that effect on people but have never experienced it myself. However it has always been really relaxing for me so I really should make the effort to get back into it again especially as relaxing is what I am lacking right now!
Ah right yeah so weirdly we seem to have no domestic abuse services locally to me. I have used websites like Womens Aid to search for any in my area and there seem to be none! I have also gone to my GP about the CPTSD but haven’t been offered anything but also we only ever get offered CBT around here. It seems like a desert for pretty much any other services. I am struggling to even get a formal diagnosis of CPTSD at the moment – both my GP and a psychologist who assessed me agree I have it but for an official diagnosis I have to see a psychiatrist, which my GP declined to refer me to at first but when I later protested she referred me somewhere but it was somewhere without any psychiatrists so was not helpful at all. I have an appointment with her tomorrow to talk about it further though.
I hope you are doing okay?
28th September 2021 at 12:31 pm #131966
Hey TiaMaria, I read the Shannon Thomas book a long time ago, I read alot whilst in the relationship about abuse, after leaving I find it too triggering. I think it was a pretty good book and I was happy with it. But cannot remember it too much.
Are you doing any exercises? it’s really great to release and sooth the body, gentle long walks in nature are amazing. Have you always found it hard to cry?
Thats a shame you have no local services, but you can chat to WA and see if they know of anything else.
Keep trying your GP (or a different GP at your Surgery perhaps), things may change, I feel like recently PTSD is becoming alot more talked about and acknowledged.
28th September 2021 at 4:35 pm #131982
I walk most days, but find that my thoughts are worse when I walk – but I refuse to stop doing it as walking is a big part of my life and I live in the most beautiful countryside.
I will keep trying re the diagnosis. My doctor is usually great but hasn’t been very helpful in getting me an official diagnosis here.
Thank you for your help and suggestions <3
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