8 Months Ago

Every year around June and July I have a mini mental break down. It usally starts with an argument with my partner, something so dumb it’s not even worth fighting about. But it’s the miscommunication that breaks me. Hes not understanding what I’m saying, I cant process what he is saying. We get stuck in a loop and my brain shuts down all rational thinking. The fight we had this time triggered something so Furious in me. I broke. I ended up screaming at him that we need tharapy and I was not setting it up! I take meds, I have been to therapists, I read books to help me cope. He needs to do something!

I started sobbing, shut my self in my daughters room with her. I hid between her bed and bookshelf in the same position for or over an hour. Every bit of me hurt as I sobbed silently so she wouldn’t hear me over the show she was watching.

When I finally calmed down enough to extract myself from between the furniture, I hurt all over. I felt numb. As I passed my partner on the way to the livingroom, he said ” hey, I found a counselor.” I ignored him to go crawl in my bed.

I was messing around on the internet that night and ran into something called the ACE score. Advers Childhood Events, scored from 1 to 10. 1 being the lowest score and least likelyhood of childhood Truama. 10.. how are you even alive and functioning, you are fucked.

The correlation of numbers higher than 4 and depression, suiside, mental illness, homelessness, drug addiction, incarsaration and a whole host of physical ailments are astonishing! The way the ACE score was discovered and developed is amazing and I encourage you to read about it. I will post a link.

I’m getting ahead of myself here. I scored an 8. Anything over a 4 is the danger zone. I researched what this meant for me, and if I didnt have the love of my mother and a supportive, non traumatized partner, I would be fucked. It led me down the internet rabbit whole and I found a diagnosis for people like me. Complex PTSD or C-PTSD. Its is a result of long term abuse and neglect. Children from violent, unstable homes like mine & sex trafficking victims are the most likely to have it. It has been submitted to the DSM multiple times and rejected for various reasons. It has a separate ICD-9 code from PTSD for insurance billing but gets rejected a lot. It’s not taken seriously in the US, other countries recognize it as a disorder and treat people for it.

I immediately bought and read

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma” by Bessel van der Kolk.

It changed my life. I felt like I was reading ME. Why I react to things the way I do, why I think the way I do, why my brain cant process information like other, because the abuse and neglect rewired my developing brain in to survival mode, instead of learning to be a kid.

I sobbed through the whole book. Infact I have read it again with a clear mind. My take away from this book was, I’m not fucked up or alone, im Trumatized. And if you are not you have a very hard time understanding those who are.I bought another book “Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving: A Guide and Map for Recovering from Childhood Trauma” by Pete Walker. He states in the intro to look at the table of contents and flip to the section you need most. He himself is a survivor of child abuse and neglect. He, like myself, is breaking the chain of abuse by being gentle with our own children. Again, I cried reading this book. It states your truama types and I fit the flight description to a T.I bought another book “The Complex PTSD Workbook: A Mind-Body Approach to Regaining Emotional Control and Becoming Wholeby Arielle Scwartz, PhD. This one has taken me the longest to start… its grueling to dig into yourself and try to figure things out. They wouldn’t hand a book to someone suffering from a conventional disease and tell them to read it and try to heal them selves.Reading Body Keeps the the score made me realize most of my psychological disorders were preventable. The abuse and neglect rewired my brain, as I mentioned above, in to survival. It was preventable…this made me so sad that I cried for days. I felt detached,disconnected, floating almost. I went to work and cried during my lunch break. My parents came over every night with dinner. I couldn’t move, I was locked into some sort of self relization/pity I couldn’t get out of. This is not my fault, but I have to deal with it. I cant be a psycho around my kids. I dont want them in therapy because of me. For the most part they are totally normal and very well taken care of.

I went into a slight catatonia… I just could respond, connect or react to anything. I could go to work and fake it, but as soon as I got in my car I shut down, tears streaming down my face, as memories flooded me and I felt 3 again, 5 again, 8 again. And no way to stop it.

My partner booked us an appointment for couples counseling. She asked us each to explain why we were there. My partner went first, explaining the difficulty he was having with me and my basically shut down functioning. I started talking, 5 min in she held up her hand and said, “Whoa there, have you ever been to a psychiatrist?” I said no. She said “Something is going on and in order to treat you correctly I need you to get a doagnosis.” She referred me to two highly recommended psychiatrists. When I called to make an appointment, neither took insurance and the initial intake was $300, the $170 per visit after that…. no wonder people dont get the good kind of care they need.

I ended up going to one on my insurance plan. I read the reviews on line and almost cancelled immediately. But then I read the reviews about the psychiatrist I whould be seeing and I felt better.

The office was horrible. Red carpet, very calming…. damp smelling. Full of people muttering to them selves.

I finally went back and had some small talk, told her I was in mental anguish. She asked me a series of questions and took notes, I was terrified. She told me I had PTSD and the knot in my chest faded. I have been diagnosed with Panic Disorder, depression, anxiety, adhd, bipolar and OCD. But I didnt have enough symptoms to actually fit most of those diagnoses. Nothing is wrong with these diagnoses, they just aren’t mine. I do have depression and anxiety and a panic attack once in a while. And PTSD. But I will always refer to is as C-PTSD.

Now that I know my diagnosis and have an answer I can work on it. But my condition creates a lot of barriers to help. I have anxiety around setting up appointments. I worry I will waste time and money looking for the right therapist. So I just suffer.

Every day I feel like I’m stuck in a loop. I wake up, get ready for work, get my son ready for day care. Drop him off, go to work, pick him up, go home and sit on the couch. My partner works until 11pm, so I’m solo parenting most of the time. I feed my kids total garbage because I cant cook a meal right now. We lay in my bed watching cartoons until we all pass out and my partner puts them in their beds. My kids sleep pretty bad so I’m always getting up with one of them. I feel trapped. I feel like I cant be touched. My marriage is suffering, my kids are not being cared for the way I wish I could. I want to take them to the beach or park. But I just cant right now. And I’m still stuck wondering when this will end.

Got Your ACE Score?

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