You may wonder why, in “Breaking Free,” I made just one brief reference to trauma symptoms related to abuse.  While the symptoms of Complex PTSD have been part of my life until recently, I did not discuss them in the essay because the thrust of the essay is to show why and how I was able to move from being a victim to being a survivor.  I feel that discussing Complex PTSD in the same essay would be a distraction and would not be helpful to those who may want to focus on my description of how I stopped the violence in my home and survived to shape my  life and make it what I wanted it to be.  

This morning, as I thought about this essay and about Complex PTSD and its symptoms, I realized that for most of my seventy-seven years, I have lived two parallel lives–my “outer” life that has been visible to everyone and my “inner” life that has contained my struggle to prevent the C-PTSD symptoms from rendering me nonfunctional.  Does this sound familiar?  For the most part, I have been able to keep the two lives from interfering with each other, but I understand now how much energy that has taken and how spending the energy on that has caused me to miss out on some aspects of life that bring joy to many people. 

For example, socializing has always been difficult for me because social interactions often have triggered my Complex PTSD responses.  In one instance of this, I was enjoying my cup of coffee after the church service one Sunday in the mid-1990s when the husband of a good friend came up behind me and put his hand on my shoulder.  Before I could think, I automatically tried to deck the man and spewed a string of curse words that would make a sailor turn pale.  The shocked parishioners had no idea why I did that, nor did I.  I ran from the church and was so mortified that I never went back.  I missed attending church and singing in the choir, but I didn’t miss the experience enough to return.  My shame was more than I could bear, and I felt like the lepers I had read about in Sunday School when I was a little girl–a person to avoid at all times.  

Now that I have alleviated my symptoms, however, and have learned how to understand and manage myself when I am in a triggering situation, I have the inner energy to find more joy in life.  I have written over one hundred posts for this blog, many of which are on the topic of the process I went through to heal my PTSD to the point where I have been able to stop therapy.  if you are interested in this topic, please read my earlier posts.  Best wishes!