CPTSD – Complex Post Trauma Stress Disorder

After a particular discussion with my therapist, she decided she wanted me to do a “PTSD Checklist for DSM-5 “, or PCL-5. Now, I’ve taken so many mental health inventories that I thought this would be a breeze. Check a few boxes, circle some numbers, boom boom boom I’m all done. But when I opened the inventory, it looked like any other, except for the box for text. Like an essay question. Huh. How’s that work?

From my poking around online, it sounds like the one I filled out was “with criterion.” The description above the text entry area was

Description of the specific, worst stressful experience you are
holding in mind

It goes on to say that this box can be used by a clinician and compared against the types of “qualifying event” that are known to be possible causes of PTSD.

Needless to say, that’s quite the intimidating question. Like, let’s just visit the most horrible thing that’s happened to you, write it in this online form, and pop it out into the Internet. Sure, it’s secure, but it’s still scary.

In fact, just doing that, explaining that event and how it affected me, was pretty soul crushing. Something I’ve never ever said out loud or to another person. And one of the most difficult parts was picking an experience. Which one was the very worst? I’m getting anxiety lightning just typing this up. Imagine how the essay went. From that moment on, I have been “Zombie me” as my Wife calls it. It’s the version of me that’s so focused on wanting to curl up in a corner and die that I can’t pay attention to much else. Like talking. You get words out of me, but they’re flat and I’m likely to forget what we’re talking about. I feel like a bottle has been uncorked that shouldn’t have been uncorked. Having this stuff on my mind is a bit like terror, but constant. And talking about a bit of it with my therapist has been troubling, to say the least.

Next appointment with the therapist she gave me a “solid” diagnosis of PTSD. She said PTSDC, in that it’s chronic, but I can’t find any reference to PTSDC at all. There is CPTSD (complex) which sounds a lot like me when I read up on that. Regardless, there are a bunch of things that this diagnosis brings up. I’ll start with the factual and digress into the stuff my depression brain is telling me.

  1. My treatment resistant depression may have something to do with lifetime PTSD.
  2. Addressing the PTSD is something that can be done a few different ways.
  3. Some of these treatments involve digging deep into the traumas in order to deal with them.
  4. These things have been tidily bottled up for decades, and that worked well enough (until my life broke)
  5. Oddly enough, I’ve only given my care team a quarter of what goes into my PTSD, and that’s the light stuff with few details if any. So that’s kinda crazy.
  6. In order to work on this, I’ve been told it will get worse before it gets better. Therapists don’t say things like that. They use positive wording and avoid absolutes, always be on the bright side stuff. So that was scary to hear from them. So that’s a little scary.
  7. I feel like the hole I’ve been trying to climb out of just got doubled in depth.
  8. I’m doing a bit of reliving and feeling like a horrible, bad, undeserving person that I hate.
  9. I feel like the ending of The Perfect Storm when they’ve fought the weather so hard, and finally they see a tiny hole break through. And then it disappears and they get run over by a wave the size of Cincinnati. (Oh, sorry, spoilers)
  10. My psychiatrist offered inpatient (not insisted) and we both agreed that would be counterproductive, as that’s more for safety and stabilization. And I’m too destabilized to even think of hurting myself.
  11. I feel horrible for my family. I was going to say like I’d taken a great leap backward, but this stuff is totally new and quite devastating, so I’m just sorry.

While I’m wide open on my mental health stuff, and talking or blogging about it, and wanting to help others like myself, this PTSD is technically still in it’s bottle, and behind a very high fence, and I’m never going to be sharing any of it. My wife doesn’t even know the details or depths of it.

Rambling post of a madman. but that’s where I’m at. Thanks..