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This three-part article was written exclusively for PsyWeb.com by Jennifer A. Weaver. She discusses her struggle with complex PTSD, the bullying and abuse she endured, and what she has found to be helpful.
When I am around other people I can't help but feel like I come from a completely different world. The fact that I perceive the world in a different manner than everyone else is blatantly obvious to me, and it hurts. I am all too aware of the fact that what would typically be a minor offense for someone, can become something huge for me.
People struggling with complex post traumatic stress disorder have a toxic inner critic that is very hard to deal with as well. I constantly have thoughts about being worthless. I worry about no one ever loving me, I think that I don't deserve to live, or that I am horrible, disgusting and evil.
Sometimes when I am struggling with and losing to the toxic inner critic, I cannot ask my husband for things like tampons, medicine, shoes or clothes, without feeling ashamed and guilty.
Another symptom that I struggle with on top of my toxic critic are dissociative disorders, which play a big part in CPTSD. I deal with depersonalization and I can become emotionally numb, like a robot.
I also have problems with my identity. Often when I struggle with this I won't answer to my name when I am being called. My name seems so alien and I don't feel like it is my name.
Sometimes I feel like I can be a million different people. However, I don't meet the typical criteria for Dissociative Identity Disorder because I don't have any gaps of time missing nor any gaps in my memory.
I also struggle with emotional flashbacks from events that have happened to me in my life. When I experience an anxiety attack sometimes I feel like I am in actual physical danger, even though I know I am not. One memory that plagues me constantly is the death of my father.
Before he died I found myself alone, talking to him, and he said to me, “I am sorry, I just want you to forgive me.” I never in my life thought I would hear that from him.
I started crying and I smiled at my father and said, "I have already forgiven you." With my father's passing the world became more frightening because I realized that people can leave you, desert you, even if they don't hate you.
Unfortunately, PTSD is not the only thing I struggle with. I also suffer from an eating disorder. When it first started it was because I wanted to lose weight. I dropped rapidly from 245 pounds to 65 pounds. At that point my doctor put me the hospital and told me that my body was shutting down. He said I only had two weeks to live.
In Part III of this article, Jennifer discusses her struggle with an eating disorder and what she has found to be helpful in her constant battle against PTSD.
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