The Difference Between PTSD And Complex PTSD

​Two days ago my husband and I read the following blog post which contains a chart comparing the difference between PTSD and Complex PTSD. We both saw myself in this chart. He is the only person who has ever seen or experienced these episodes with me. 

Unfortunately, I have been suffering for years without the knowledge of, or the connection to, why or what I am experiencing in these moments. All I know is that they are too frightening and embarrassing to talk about. And so I hide from them. Mostly we just sit through them until they pass. Now we have a name for it and an explanation.

https://healingfromcomplextraumaandptsd.wordpress.com/2016/09/07/differences-between-ptsd-and-complex-ptsd-lilly-hope-lucario/

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41 thoughts on “The Difference Between PTSD And Complex PTSD

  1. The poster is very revealing for those who read and think about it. Sometimes, in my world, when I can get my head around what happened, the whys and the wherefores, I can make my way through the aftermath. I pray the knowledge helps you along your journey. ❤

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    1. It certainly helps with the secret feelings that maybe I am crazy. And the feeling that I must hide these fears, which keep me isolated and feeling so alone. Thank you for sharing this on your blog, which led me here in the first place.

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    1. It is strange to be afraid to share or let seen the depth of your fear. It is feeling like being a caged animal with no way of knowing how to be free. And not wanting people to just stare at you. And so we hide within our own secret torture. I am sorry you suffer with this. Thank you for sharing!

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        1. I am very sorry to hear that. I am just now realizing how much this has played a role in withdrawing from everyone and isolating myself as well. A huge reason is that we don’t have the ability to cope with the normal conflicts or disappointments in life, not without a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear. It is not possible to stay in this state and so we silently retreat. And yet we need and long for connection. It is an awful dilemma!

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    1. This chart was a big eye opener for us as well. It is so much easier to hide than face this. But having someone clearly define it can shake you into reality. It just made me cry and helped my husband and I understand better what I am experiencing. As a child, in order to survive we often have to be perfect… do what we are told.

      But this is something that makes us feel out of control and so imperfect. It makes it very difficult to face or admit… so we hide as often as we can for as long as we can. And it takes us to places where again and again we feel completely out of control.

      I am sorry you are suffering with this. But I am glad it helped you too.

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      1. The line that says we avoid triggers is one I have just realized this year. For me, I’ve been avoiding things for so long I have no idea what the trigger is. For example, I never knew the grocery store is a trigger because as soon as I had kids I gave that job to my husband. 20 some years later I realize I NEVER walk into a food store. Its really hard to find triggers that I have avoided for so long.

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        1. That is a very interesting thought. I wonder if what the trigger is, is too painful to realize. For instance many triggers are embarrassing to admit to ourselves much less to others.

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  2. I’ve looked at this once and want to study it again. I was told I had all the symptoms of PTSD but I didn’t really know what that really meant. This was helpful at first glance and made me want to dig a little deeper to understand more about myself. Thank you for sharing this. I am just now learning that certain things in my life are major triggers. It’s amazing and overwhelming at the same time. I’m a little overwhelmed at times when things start to make “sense.”

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    1. I can understand this. While healthy, it is very painful to face reality and discover how much we try to hide from our own pain… because it is too painful to face. This is why we lose our memories to begin with. I am just now being forced to face that I have been suffering with this for years. I hide all of it. If it weren’t for my husband witnessing it, I probably still would. Even admitting it right now is very hard for me. I am glad this was helpful to you as well.

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      1. I hope you read my other comment. I meant what I said! Just knowing others are in the same boat is so helpful. I used to think I was crazy (still do most days). But just communicating with people at least helps take that constant questioning out of the equation. It allows you to move past yourself and on to the real issues underneath. I am serious when I say I would love to talk and get to know you. I don’t say that lightly. I sincerely hope to hear from you.

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  3. This has kind of taken my breath away! I don’t take your words lightly. And I am moved by your compassion. I just found your last two comments in my Pending Folder. They didn’t show up in my notifications. So I am sorry for the delay in my response. I just had a “feeling” I should go check my folders. This has been an ongoing problem with WP. I will definitely email you! Thank you for reaching out to me!

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  4. I also suffer with cPTSD. It’s difficult learning specific triggers and finding appropriate coping mechanisms. And it was a situation I was in for years. So the fact that I just want to get better makes things worse because it’s not a quick fix. I have to completely retrain my brain. We have to give ourselves time and society doesn’t tend to allow for that. The more of us suffering that speak up, the better things will become! Thank you for sharing.

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    1. I am sorry that you have suffered for so long too. My new therapist did tell me this past week that it is not always possible to figure out what the triggers are. But it is important to try to discover the ones we can. It can take a long time to be able to even admit, face, or talk about PTSD. It is because others were willing to that helped me as well. Thank you for sharing your experience!

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  5. I suffer as well. Good to find a community of supporters, however it’s so sad how much we suffer in silence. After researching online, I didn’t know what to even call what I had. Abuse of any kind sucks, I hope more awareness is raised so more people can come together and support each other like we should.

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    1. I very much understand Lindsay. I only just found out through my new therapist that what I have been struggling with had a name. I have just been hiding and very hard on myself for not coping better. It is very sad. Thank you for sharing. It is nice to meet you!

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        1. I hope you have been able to find a good therapist who can help you. I just recently found one after a long struggle trying to find the right one for me. She is proving invaluable in having a safe place with someone who really understands my struggles better than I do. It is very hard to ask for help, but I think we need to.

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        2. I WISH I could afford one! I’d go in a heart beat because I know it’s what I desperately need. Until I can afford one all I have is free writing, forums, blogs etc. I just wish someone would see me for free just to gain more knowledge on the subject. Fingers crossed, maybe one day.

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        3. Lindsay, I too have been suffering for years without a therapist (for a different reason) and just started recently. You may be able to find a support group. They are usually free. I too have survived for years through writing. You definitely need all the support you can get!

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        4. Thank you for suggesting that..I have a really hard time talking about my past, it’s even hard to look at baby pics without sobbing. I guess that’s what has kept me home alone..a support group may be just what I need. Thank you 😊

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        5. Lindsay, I have isolated myself for years. I started blogging a little over a year ago and it has helped me to feel more connected with people. But it has been very hard. So I am glad that you too have blogging as an outlet. And I hope that you will be able to find a support group that you can feel safe in.

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