A relapse is when a person experiences something that reminds them of the actual traumatic event. It could be something they see, hear, feel, smell, taste and/or dream. I’ve been triggered all six ways and my relapses seem to get worse and worse.
I recently realized that I can’t not get help when triggered. Finding someone who knows what in the hell they are doing when treating someone with CPTSD isn’t an easy task. I once had the same psychologist for 10 years and she is phenomenal. Recently she stopped seeing clients because she has been writing books and teaching on narcissism. I briefly saw 2 counselors that have experience with PTSD, but not equipped with the type of advanced training and treatment I needed. They weren’t effective and I felt lost. I then ended up with Kaiser insurance for 2 years….what a fucking nightmare! Kaiser’s behavioral health care is the worst system EVER! I was ignored, doped up, mistreated and pushed aside. I lived in emotional hell for 2 years and by the grace of God we got new insurance. Best insurance I’ve ever had and I immediately started searching for the perfect fit for me. I found a psychologist that has done more for me in 2 months than Kaiser would have ever done for me. She referred me to the BEST Psychiatrist office I’ve seen.
With this treatment she’s providing and my medication changes, I’ve had a 90 degree change for the better. But what did I look like before this transpired? A big pile of shut down blob of poop.
When I relapse my first response is to turn inward and shut down. I fret internally over and over again. I then become afraid to leave my home based on a number of reasons. I believe in my mind that one of many things may happen to me. The stalker may find me, I could get into a car accident and die leaving my baby motherless, there could be an Aurora Theater shooting type situation, I could have a heart attack or cancer and die, my baby could die…I could go on and on with these “what if” scenarios. Scenarios that I can’t turn off no matter what I do.
Then because I’ve isolated myself from the world I become severely depressed. This depression makes it difficult to just get up and go brush my teeth. It paralyzes me from even wanting to shower. I’ll sit on the couch, turn on my toddlers favorite movie, and let it play over and over all day while I just sit there.
I’ll do as minimal as I have to just to get by. Then after wasting the day away I feel raw shame for being the worst wife and mother to my family; which depresses me more. I then physically feel like molasses has been poured over me, rolled me in dirt and put out in the cold to harden. A full body suit of gross that fits me tightly yet hangs off of me like it’s too big. Then I walk around like the mafia put cement feet on me, like a dragging slug. I want to just sleep and stay in bed with the shades drawn and the covers over my head.
Can you picture this?
I then eat sweets all day, just to get my dopamine levels up a little. I’ll wake up at 2am and eat sweets because my levels were dropping off. I weighed 140 lbs when I gave birth to my son, 2 years later I’m 165. I’ve never been this weight my whole life. I weighed 130 lbs or less before I got pregnant, then the relapse hit with post partum depression. Having a history of PTSD, depression and anxiety increases your risk of PPD 10 fold.
Don’t ever tell a depressed person they should just force themselves to go out and sit in the sun, or go for a walk, to stop dwelling on the past, be happy they’re alive, eat better, go out with some friends, pick up the phone and just call people, take up a new hobby, take a long hot shower or soak in a tub, put some makeup on or my most recent…just look at your smiling son’s face that’ll make you happy.
Anyone within an arm’s length of me say anything like the above to me, is at risk of being throat punched. Or you’ll be cussed out so bad it’ll end the friendship.
Now add-on to the above depression description with a short temper, bursts of screaming anger, bouts of uncontrollable crying, irritability, loss of memory or words, zero affect, no sense of humor and unrealistic expectations of others.
This is what a full-blown CPTSD relapse looks like for me. Isn’t it pretty? Like lipstick on a pig.