CPTSD: A Message From The Dark Side


I haven’t left the house in days, and I cannot remember when I last bathed. I try to carry on a basic conversation with my son and get stuck trying to remember every day words.

Mostly I’ve just been sleeping.

A Surprise Trigger

I was already in a bit of post-trip-to-Ireland slump. That always happens when I travel, so it wasn’t bad or unexpected.

But I was listening to an online class (which I won’t name because it is a great class and I don’t want this to reflect on it). There was a discussion of what can constitute trauma, and I began to get uncomfortable as several of the scenarios described applied to me.

I kept thinking the subject would change, but turned out that was the subject. I had to leave the class early, and was already overwhelmed with the anxious/ depressed etc. FEELINGS.

What Does It Feel Like?

That was what my therapist asked. “Anxious” and “depressed” are too vague. There’s fear. A feeling that I’ve done something horribly wrong. Pain – of rejection, of disapproval.

Underneath it all is I’m not worthy. I don’t deserve love. I can’t do anything well enough to make myself worthy of love.

Then, The Flashbacks

My therapist asked if I was only feeling feelings or if I was remembering events? Until she asked, it was just feelings. But suddenly the floodgates opened.

I remembered as a teen I wrote a letter to Dear Abbey. I told her my parents didn’t love me, and I didn’t know how to make them. I never sent it because I didn’t think she’d take it seriously.

I remembered my mother laughing in my face when I told her about rumors a boy was spreading about me. I remembered the look of contempt and hatred my dad used to give me when he was angry.

I remembered the feeling of sitting in the church pew at the end of service and the assistant pastor (who had preached that night) coming up to me in front of everyone to say that the sermon should’ve had me weeping in the altar.

The whole message of the church… you’re not good enough, you’re not worthy except for your relationship with this outside deity.

That’s My Dark Side

There you have it – my darkness in all it’s glory. And that’s where I’ve been for the last … I’ve lost count of the days now.

I was there when I wrote the article about Anthony Bourdain. I’m fortunate enough not to have suicidal ideation, but still desperately thankful for those that check on me and encourage me.

What’s Your Darkness?

I’m not asking you to share it here. I just want to point out that we all have our own darkness. Yours may be different than mine. Either way, you’re not alone.

If you’re there too, we can be in our darkness together. And hopefully very soon we can also come back into the light together.

Because as long as we hang on, we will make it out. Always. And eventually we’ll go back in the dark for a while.

Each cycle makes us stronger. The key, as always, is to never give up. As long as we stay alive, as long as we keep putting one foot in front of the other, we will make it.

And I really want all of us to make it.

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