This Guestblog by Karen Blodgett about CPTSD is part 3 in a 3 part series
Please check out part 1 and part 2 of her story. In part 1 she outlines her childhood experience of sexual abuse at the hands of a boy 2 years here senior. In part 2 she talks about the hold he had on her throughout her teenage years and what the effects of his manipulations were on her. In this third part she tells about her struggle with CPTSD and offers her help to other survivors.
I thought it was over
I remember thinking: ” it’s over!” I had stood my ground and he did not persist, he avoided me as I did him, even when we were in the same room. My victory was sweet but short lived.
My brain chemistry has changed
It wasn’t over, my brain has protected my body for so long, that my brain chemistry has changed causing CPTSD. Shutting off, dissociating has become the norm for me. The last memory of being a child was when I was five years old. The rest of my childhood has been stolen.
Learning to cope
I learn to cope with a lifetime of post-traumatic stress. I live in the same community as him for another year. He parties with our mutual friends. I still keep it all bottled up. I feel very much alone and there’s only two people I even connect with. I know people grossly misjudge me. Also I still think they won’t listen to me, care for or even believe me if I told. I feel like I don’t belong. I turn inward.
Home for Thanksgiving
I go off to college and then come home for Thanksgiving. I desperately want to connect with my wonderful (yet very reserved) parents. Clearly they have no idea why I am different or why I have been a very moody, distant, and a socially awkward child. I feel guilty at the thought they might blame themselves. I want to get to know them better and that means they would need to get to know me better as well.
My parents figure I am going through puberty
My parents wondered what was wrong with me many times. One case in particular, I was in fifth grade, I cried for almost two weeks. Tears streaming down my face for no appearant reason. They tell me, they were about to seek therapy for me, but the crying stopped. I was 13 years old then. They figured it must have been the hormones of puberty.
Reconnecting with my parents
I reveal the truth to my mother and asked her to tell my father. I thought I would feel better but instead I am deeply saddened. I drop out of college for a month. I am deeply troubled and with my parents help I seek help. They support me through the rest of college, therapy and more.
Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD)
I am diagnosed as having Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD as defined by Dr. Judith Herman) and for the past 25 years, I seek support for this condition everywhere I go. The CPTSD slowly becomes manageable with the therapies and the methods I learn: Relaxation, mindfulness, EBT, listening/problem solving, some neurofeedback, workbooks, exercise and more.
Study and professional life
I earn a B.A. Psychology degree, an M.A. k-12 moderate disabilities with a licence to teach. I teach in Africa for a year and in the US for 3 years in public school. Since then I have worked from California to Africa with most ages and populations of people. Currently I’m looking for a position in which I can help others benefit from my experiences.
My offer is to share my story and help you heal
I am telling my story here and I am sharing what I hope will help other young people. More importantly: I would like to offer understanding and support for others in similar situations. It does not matter how a person comes to be hurt so personally, the emotional scars are similar no matter whether you’re a victim of incest, child sexual abuse, trafficking, kidnapping or child pornography.
I am safe now
I am living my life empowered and know I am safe. I have gained resilience, integrity, and acceptance of many people from all walks of life and cultures. I intend to help others realize this safety and freedom in their own time and place. You too are unique and unique is valuable. It can be very empowering to realize just how valuable you are.
I am ready. Are you?
I’m ready to offer my assistance to anyone working through the issues of child sexual abuse and those who care for them. I’m looking for a position in an organisation that has child sexual abuse or trauma at its focus. I believe that through the benefit of my experiences of healing my own trauma, and the extensive studying I’ve done since, I can offer my expertise in any team working with this issue. You can contact me through my linkedin profile.
For more information about the long term effects of child sexual abuse and how to heal from them, buy the book ‘I Thrive. Healing child sexual abuse’ at Amazon.com