Google “C-PTSD Blog,” and you will find Headspace commercials, advertisements for therapists, and various support sites. What you will not find at the beginning of 2020, is a blog about the life of “seemingly normal” C-PTSD survivor.
There is a growing amount of scholarship in the area of C-PTSD, but society still struggles to recognize that there are more to a C-PTSD survivor than his/her C-PTSD symptoms. The world around me still largely prescribe to the idea that mental illnesses are generally life-crippling diseases, you either have it, or you don’t, it either destroys your life, or you are not affected by it at all. But recovery is not linear, and everyone, not just C-PTSD survivors, has good and bad days. On some days, I have to call a hotline to get through the night, yet on other days, I am just a bubbly twenty-something who loves bodybuilding, desserts, volunteering, and everything amazing, relaxing, delicious, and abundant in life.
I find DBT and C-PTSD self-help books incredibly helpful, and you can probably say that they saved my life. But most of the examples used in these books (at least the ones I have read) describe extreme emotional malfunction and relationship difficulties. Although I have experience some of these symptoms a few times in my life, I mostly experience a variety of mild symptoms that reduce my standard of life significantly only when combined. Yes, I do wake up with a crippling sense of dread, and I did get into a whole chain of unhealthy relationships...but if you don’t read my blog, you will probably assume I am pretty put-together. I am married to a loyal and kind individual, I am in school with a large scholarship, I am hygienic, and into fashionable, I have a good diet and try to stay active, I take my dog to the dog park, and I am well-liked by my neighbours.
And I know I am not alone, and I know that abuse is everywhere, and survivors are abundant. I know many abuse survivors who are incredible at adapting to their adult life. They are in functional relationships, they take care of themselves, and want to help their communities. They seem like they are thriving from the outside, but are still dealing with C-PTSD on a daily basis.
So while I benefit significantly from the examples from these books talking about catastrophic events in a person’s life, I do feel like the little daily struggles of a C-PTSD survivor are rarely talked about. There are some aspects of my life that’s colored by trauma that I am just starting to notice and change.
I love having support communities, and help groups, and forums, where we can discuss our pain and not suffer in silence, and I appreciate the strength given by other survivors during difficult times. But I also believe that mental health communities should focus on our strengths, not only weaknesses. The weaknesses make us human and relatable, but the strengths keep us alive through all of the feelings of desperation and hopelessness.
So that is why I created this blog. I want to write about the glory and the pain, the sunshine, and the storm. I want to share the emotional flashbacks, the people who, through their acts of kindness, encouraged me to stay alive and thrive, as well as the little things in life, like fun things I did over the weekend, and what inspires me to keep going. I love the quote “recovery is not linear,” and this blog is here for those of you who feel like you are stuck between the two worlds of “seemingly normal” and trying to “feel normal.” Because we are more than our C-PTSD.