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Living with CPTSD

Wondering sometimes if sharing so much of my own life and experience with this mental illness can cause some anxiety.
I ponder often if I just kept living my life in private would I be better off.

My answer is a resounding No.

I have not posted for a while and that is partly due to life, and more to do with not being so well. As for many people the holiday period can be unsettling. Yet mine personal experience has been more about what I have been hiding from myself.
I missed the time with people I care about and love, those I have welcomed into my life not necessarily those by birth. I do not celebrate ‘Christmas” the church holiday, nor am I a big fan of the commercialised concept.

After gorging on almost 3.5kg of Toblerone (darn supermarket had the huge huge blocks so cheap)plus a whole lot of other highly processed food. Over a couple of weeks, I realised I was not well. Yes physically but also mentally.

I had been with people on boxing day (26/12/2020) and it was really lovely.
Yet I had a dark area forming in my moods. I began to sink slowly not wanting to be but not really being able to stop. Feed my face feel angry, eat more, feel upset, eat more, yet no comfort did I feel from my emotional eating.

I feel my psychologist was aware that I might have been heading for a bit of a backstep. In combination with COvid and all the lockdowns seeing an increase in mental unwellness our Federal Government increased the number of visits to a psychologist/psychiatrist/counsellor you could have to 20 a year. Prior to this it was 6 having over the past few years gone from being 12 to 6. So I am seeing my psychologist more often.

Shortly into the new year I had my first appointment. I really did not want to do a zoom, or talk to her. In the morning as the approaching time came my neck began to itch unbearably. As our meeting began, it became to so extreme I could not talk all I could do was rub my neck, jawline and cheeks. I had welts and rash from this, and it just was so intensely and utterly uncontrollable I just had to scratch. She offered to reschedule but I knew I wanted, to no needed to talk about what ever this was.

As I began to talk I just let the words come and what I discovered was I really wanted to have people over, to decorate my home for Yuletide(even though here it is summer). I wanted to celebrate the season, to share in what is in the northern hemisphere the returning of the sun and longer days. (Maybe I need to look at celebrating it in winter down here..lol ). Now we can not celebrate sitting around a fire (total fire ban) and daylight goes until nearly 10pm. But..the idea of just being a group and yes of women friends. Sitting sharing and talking about their passions. Being thankful for all we have.

As I really thought about it, the itchy remained and I was scratching and rubbing. Very aware of it, but also of the feeling or overwhelming sadness. tears rolled down my face as I began to have memories of wonderful times at my grandparents home. 40dC/104dF the combustion (wood fired stove) going cooking Christmas lunch in a tiny 2 bedroom fibro house with 9 people inside around the fan and a water filled air conditioner.
It was not just about being with my grandparents. It was something more. It was not perfect. It was simple it was hard work for my grandmother and mother.
I think it was that my Grandparents had decorated their tiny home with so much delight. There was a real feeling of wonder.
Perhaps that is just a simplistic childlike memory of a better time in my childhood. Yet it is a deep memory that has come out and changed me.

It was not instantly. I did not toss or give away the remaining highly processed food, nor get immediately back on my routine. (Yes I was totally off every aspect of my routine). Are you sick of my routine yet?

I have been kind to myself. I have not punished myself, or done the negative self talk as much as possible. I have sat with the feelings, working through them now rather than emotionally eating in an attempt to keep what ever my mind and body needed me to get out. As small and simple as this new knowledge been to me as I worked through all that was happening internally and externally, yes the hives continued for a week even with anithistamines. I now know more about what I need for myself.

Pushing myself to talk and work through the incredible discomfort of this as with so many other times on my path towards managing and maybe healing my mental illness. Is hard, intense, extraordinarily emotional and confronting at times yet worth it. For me my life now is about living my best life. MY LIFE.

What my CPTSD has taught me so far is that as a child my brain was so incredible at creating ways to keep me safe and living by just pushing all the screwed up shit that was my childhood so often deep inside me. I lived two lives the one at home an the one at school, the one where I tried to make friends, to be a friend yet even as a small child I was filled with rage and anger at what had been done and was being done to me.

Finally I am really aware that I love being alive. Even on my really bad days. I love that I am moving through so much that has happened in my lifetime, but especially in my childhood and adolescence. As hard as draining and scary sometimes letting these hidden experiences feelings and emotions out is, the understanding that each time this happens is a step forward for me to BE ME. As corny as that sounds.

So yes I will keep sharing my personal journey. My life. Its warts and all that happens. I am currently a mature aged woman who has Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, who is not so afraid of the blackness as I was because I am learning that the blackness is all my trauma, all my fears, known and unknown. That part of my healing is working bloody hard to accept and let these fears,and emotions of my life experiences out. To just burp the bottle a bit at a time. Not every appointment with my psychologist is such. However for me it is the time after where I really develop understanding and can really explore what has happened in the appointment are where the biggest shifts in my life are. Where the new strength is and where my adult self is able to speak up. Say and do what I want not just need to live my life as I chose.

The other reason I keep sharing the good the bad and the unwell, is that not so many years ago the word Cancer was never said, then it was whispered about if someone had it as if it might be contagious. Well I see similarities with mental illness. As statistics say
•Mental illness is very common. One in five (20%) Australians aged 16-85 experience a mental illness in any year. The most common mental illnesses are depressive, anxiety and substance use disorder. These three types of mental illnesses often occur in combination. For example, a person with an anxiety disorder could also develop depression, or a person with depression might misuse alcohol or other drugs, in an effort to self-medicate. Of the 20% of Australians with a mental illness in any one year, 11.5% have one disorder and 8.5% have two or more disorders. Almost half (45%) Australians will experience a mental illness in their lifetime
. Australian Bureau of Statistics. (2009). National Survey of Mental Health and Wellbeing: Summary of Results, 4326.0, 2007. ABS: Canberra

By Rubina Kapil on February 6, 2019

Mental health and substance use challenges can take many forms. There’s depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, addiction and the list goes on. Some of these challenges are more visible and you might recognize them immediately. Others can be harder to see when you’re not looking for them. But, they are still there.

These statistics provide a look at how many people face a mental health or substance use challenge, whether we see it or not:

  1. In the United States, almost half of adults (46.4 percent) will experience a mental illness during their lifetime.
  2. 5 percent of adults (18 or older) experience a mental illness in any one year, equivalent to 43.8 million people.
  3. Of adults in the United States with any mental disorder in a one-year period, 14.4 percent have one disorder, 5.8 percent have two disorders and 6 percent have three or more.
  4. Half of all mental disorders begin by age 14 and three-quarters by age 24.
  5. In the United States, only 41 percent of the people who had a mental disorder in the past year received professional health care or other services.


So when you look at these figures my personal feelings are we need to be talking openly and honestly about our illnesses. This brings more understanding to others going through it, to family and friends of people who are dealing with CPTSD and PTSD. It makes the politicians more aware of the impacts on work experiences, prejudices of some employers, how difficult life really is, costs to individuals and families emotionally financially, more one on one services and packages for those of us unable to afford access to psychologists and psychiatrists. It may help to reduce suicide. Family issues. Our own issues. Employers/businesses will really understand why we might behave or respond in situations. Also Schools may begin to realise that so much of how and what they encourage as ‘normal’ is really not for everyone.



It may also help those younger folk who are not ‘fitting in’ to what society says is ‘normal life’ If I had known for me living out of town and not having heaps of social activities and lots of friends was perfectly normal and OK for me at a much younger age it may have been helpful.

blessings to You, Tazzie




Reality of Living with CPTSD Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and unexpected reaction.

Having a mental illness of any kind is so frustrating and hard at times. Even when as I have been feeling really well, and yes I would still say that I am pretty well in the mental states compared to where I have been even now. Yet this does not stop being hit hard, knowing that I need to fight with every tool I have learnt and utilised in my treatment of CPTSD management too remain moving forward no matter how miniscule that move is.

I am waiting for a colonoscopy. Here in Australia you will only have you have symptoms that may be indicative of problems or potential cancer concerns in your colon. I have been listed as a priority. Which means my symptoms are concerning enough that I need to be seen within a fast time frame. I have a friend who was told needed a colonoscopy. My friend has been placed on a lower level of priority and has up to 12 months to be on the waiting list. (It may be sooner it could be longer). Depending on lists and what happens to my friend’s symptoms.

I was a Registered Nurse and no that the majority of colonoscopies are benign. Yet even with this knowledge for me with my anxiety my mind catastrophises. Of course it will be bad, I am going to die.

I mention this as the trigger for my mental health decline. I have again resorted to sitting on the lounge, and eating comfort food. I have huge insight into this as being a starting point to heading towards the darkness and am struggling but fighting it. My house is going backwards, I have been driving my car and the dogs run ahead. Instead of walking them. All my normal reactions to things I can not handle. I am trying not to think about what is ahead. So loose myself in Youtube and games. All normal for my mental health illness. All symptoms of my illness flaring up.

I look about the house, garden and routine and am very aware that I am not following my routine. Which for anyone who has not read previous posts is pretty simple. Walk my dogs everyday. Have a shower every two days. Go to bed lights out 22:30. Do one thing in the house to improve it every day. Eat healthy. Be thankful.
nothing extreme in that list. Yet for me it is as if I am attempting to climb Mt Everest every day without oxygen.
How do you explain that to anyone who does not understand? Fortunately I do not have to explain it to anyone else. I no longer have to work due to my mental illness.

Yet this morning I woke after going to bed bye 22:30 and up after a good sleep, though I am sleep well most of the time. Once the dogs rose, I went and let out the chooks.

I decided to walk the dogs. I don’t walk them miles it is just up the road and back about 1km or a bit less. We did this, and as usual I felt so much better for doing it.
My well mind says this is so easy and has such benefit for you Tazzie. Then I hear other voices of my past and have to fight them. The berating of parents and teachers the pressure when I could not do what they expected. When I am unwell it is these voices and memories I struggle with. Along with if you lost weight you would be so pretty.. and you are lazy, you never finish anything, you are a slob, you don’t care, why cant you be more like your siblings if you had been the first there would have been no other children in this family, you were a lot of trouble before you were born and still are. I become their expectations. I hated myself and never felt a part or accepted. (that is a whole other story).
Even as I type these words, I have tears for the smaller me and for Who did defend herself and was beaten viciously and punished.

When I reread these words above I realise that I am falling under the battery of abusive demeaning words that were the background of my childhood. Along with other physical abuses. I continue to work constantly daily to let go of these and know that these words no longer have power over me. So it is hard to realise for last month or two this is playing over in my head again, “see you got what you deserved..you are all these things”. So subliminally along with the fear of what if I have cancer, no one for support, I am all alone (which is not fact) but reality and logic kind of go out the window here. Fear and tapes in my head are so detrimental and the response to withdraw and comfort eat, is my treatment.

Filling in the hospital paperwork, next of Kin? I do not have any next of Kin that I want contacted. I do not want anyone to know not because I am ashamed or embarrassed just because I do not. Privacy is important to me. I have told one or two people and here that is enough. Then who is going to pick me up and be present in my home overnight post the colonoscopy? Well I was going to drive myself but know that I can not rationally. (Thankfully a friend has offered to take me and bring me home.) No one will be with overnight. As No One comes inside my home.

These are things I believe that hospitals just do not understand. So I will probably be less than truthful about filling this in if I am not allowed to leave it blank. This is part of my mental illness that is difficult for even hospital administration to understand.

Just sharing this here, writing it all down has always assisted me to really see how my illness is the cause of my reactions and responses.

I have forgiven all the people (mostly family members) for the way I was treated and abused. Not for them and they are not aware of this fact. It was only ever for me. As I hated the anger that accompanied the tears and frustration of my triggers. The triggers still happen as I have documented and no matter where I am on being able to manage my responses to them. It is only with insight that I can process accept and move forward.

So my personal treatment plant of withdrawing and comfort eating, being aware that my routine is slipping but not gone are all OK and acceptable. I have not failed I have not fallen back into the deep hole I have been climbing out of. I have loved and soothed myself in perhaps not the best way, yet every day I have had insight and awareness that it will be OK, and I will be able to get back into the garden and connect again in ways that help me as seen by writing here again. Living with a mental illness is an ongoing thing.
Like being a diabetic if I can stick with my life time treatment plan medication, routine and utilising my management tools I will be living a great life for me. I know this from when I am even better than I am right now. It is worth it and for anyone who is finding the best medication, the psychologist, what works for them as an individual to live the life you want and no one else’s. It is a lot of effort and there will be I am sorry to say periods where you are not doing as well as you have.
You will have gained insight and know that you are unwell due to your illness and triggers, through no fault of your own. You will be able to move forward and live the life you want.

I have struggled for too many years attempting to fit into family, school, work, and community. Where I am accepted as I am is my community and when I go out into it when I choose is wonderful. When I withdraw they generally understand. I have people who check in on me, and wonderful unobtrusive neighbours.

I like who I am and am very proud of who I am. I am thankful that I am doing well even when it feels like I am not. When I read back my jottings over the years I see where I have been and where I am now. I love waking up each morning and going to sleep each night. I am thankful I did not kill myself when I tried. I am thankful for all I have. I am thankful to be able to share my life with my mental illness warts and all.


blessings to You, Tazzie

Comfort eating. may be triggering

Comfort eating, and my CPTSD seem to go in hand in hand. I find it so easy when things hit me in the face and throw me backwards mentally or emotionally that I go shopping mindlessly and end up with a trolley full of sugar and chips. I have been working on it and up until recently this has been improving.

For example, I now buy 460ml of ice cream instead of a litre and eat all of that, with a small bar of chocolate you know the one strip bar. I would buy a small pack of chips. Where as before it would be the family block of chocolate and the big bag of chips and a litre of icecream. I would than go home and devour it all!!

The problem with this is the highly processed foods create the cycle of continuing to want them. So having just come through this comfort eating period and assessing what has worked for me most recently is to make things I enjoy at home.

When I am content and happy, doing stuff about the garden and a little in the house, (I am a recovering( slowly) hoarder(I no longer bring things into the house) so the house is a very slow work in progress and the garden is preferential but also um needing work.

I eat better and am far more conscious of nutrition. Yesterday, I was wanting something sweet, ( I do not have sugar in tea or coffee). When I am not anxious or triggered I am satiated much easier. The highly processed food after the first few mouthfuls does nothing, it just is something to do that I am unable to stop, and believe me I have tried every method to stop myself. It is just shoveling it in to fill a hole.

I have decided that I am not going to punish myself by not allowing myself to eat sweet food. Or salty food. I did that quite a while ago middle of last year. I have still had several episodes over that time where triggers have occurred that see me blindly go in and just buy junk food.

The impact of being annoyed at myself created me to me become bulimic, ( a fairly recent thing and not something I have shared with my psychologist or GP), which makes the whole situation worse. So now, I am aware and I try very hard to minimise the junk. Even when I do not as happened recently I just accept it, and look at what has kept the distance of these reactions to the triggers apart.

Me making a semolina pudding with brown sugar butter and milk, contains far less sugar and fat than in the ice cream, biscuits and chocolate I would buy. Having it when I have eaten a good nutrituous meal helps too and again I am content.

I have also found a wonderful thing called microwave mug cakes. Cake is one of my down falls, and this way I can make a home made cake and eat it all but it is only in a mug. Yes I do add delicious icing to it too. For example yesterday I made a lime (using limes off my tree) cake with coconut icing.

For brunch I had eggs on toast with a sausage and coleslaw I made with red cabbage a local carrot, and one of my apples. Delicious filling nutritious. Dinner was coleslaw and nuts with tomato (mine) on toast. I am having a hot chocolate with a teaspoon of my home made rosehip syrup in it. So delicious as I sit beside the fire with two dogs snoring. The rosehip syrup is sweet and it satiated my itch for a little sweetness today.

It is so hard when I am not well. As I do know what is best for me and what makes me function. The old retreat and overeat by self comforting is no longer what I want to be doing. I like knowing why I do, it you know having insight. I like that I have been able to adapt and make the choices smaller when I am triggered if I am able to. I am also OK when it is a full blow out and I am working on not punishing (throwing up) myself when I do either as it is really just another method of controlling my feelings and emotions.

I am not out for sympathy or rescuing please. I write these things down as it really helps me see my whole picture. Occasionally what I have shared has helped someone else. If sharing my own mental illness and journey honestly helps anyone for themselves or someone they love/know or care for, then that is good. I write though mainly for me, as often when I write, bells ring and things gain clarity.

The other positive in all of this is that I have now been walking my dogs all bar one day for two weeks. I have gone on one longer walk in that time, and my intention is to increase my walks to do the longer one at least twice a week. The interesting thing when You have dogs is that they get into a routine far quicker than you do. So now my guys make eyes at me when I am reluctant to go for a walk. They push all my buttons with their eyes, and rather than deal with that I get up out of the chair and we walk up the hill. We also go walking about the paddock everyday and about the house several times. So my phyiscal activity through walking has increased .

I am thankful for my dogs, for their needs outruling mine. I am thankful that I have insight in my mental illness and why I respond as I do. I am thankful that I have space, I am thankful for good neighbours, I am thankful for my governments work in stopping the spread of the virus, I am thankful that I do not find being at home isolation bad. I am thankful for all I have, I am thankful to have this space to write. I am thankful to other bloggers whose blogs make me laugh, inspire me, awe me, provide challenges for me, evoke responses from me. Who share their skills and own life journeys.

blessings Tazzie


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