I think PTSD fatigue and exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms accompanying post-trauma; to be utterly exhausted, tired, fatigued, not having the will or the energy to do anything, and especially so after a triggering activation, when one's story, accompanying emotions, and adrenaline get going. It saps the very life force and can take days to become fully renewed, only to be wasted yet again, in a heartbeat.
Suffering PTSD is cyclic: trigger sensitivity or dissociative behavior might increase, leading to more withdrawn periods of reclusiveness, making it harder to connect again to one's self and others. So it goes on and on, cyclically, until attended to.
PTSD Fatigue, PTSD Exhaustion as a Symptom of Trauma
It is not uncommon for people living with PTSD to develop ME or fatigue syndrome over time. It is one of the major symptoms accompanying PTSD, as are migraines, fibromyalgic pains, irritable bowel syndrome, depressed immune system, and inflammation.
PTSD fatigue, tiredness, lethargy, and exhaustion can manifest in different forms. It can vary from a flat-out draining attack related to what you are dealing with and suffering from, to a lingering, sullen, but persistently pervasive, exhausted state.
I think PTSD fatigue and exhaustion is one of the most common symptoms accompanying post-trauma; to be utterly exhausted, tired, fatigued, not having the will or the energy to do anything, and especially so after a triggering activation, when one's story, accompanying emotions, and adrenaline get going.
The cause of the draining attack is obvious; your flight/fight mechanism has kicked in through a triggering event, and after it has run its course, you will have to pick up the pieces and attempt to build yourself up again as best as you can.
Besides a triggering activation, there's a lot of energy invested in keeping a traumatic state steadily static, and this is held mostly at an unconscious level. It is this manifestation of PTSD that leads to the persistently exhausted state.
Rupture of Boundaries and the Nervous System Responses
Post-Traumatic Stress is a maladaptive pattern which was formed in response to an overwhelming experience or period in your life. It breaches your boundaries, healthy containment, and sense of self because you were unable to adjust and integrate the experience and feelings at the time that they occurred.
Feelings and sensations generally manifest through the body. When we judge a sensation or feeling as "good" or "bad" it becomes emotionally polarized and tends to become cyclic, unsteady, and pathological. This inevitably happens when you go through a traumatic experience or period in life.
Emotion residing in the body creates tension, and creates "knots" or concentric tension in body tissue. Emotions affect primarily the nervous and endocrine systems, and organs; from there, the effects travel to the muscular-skeletal system where pain first occurs due to the body's enervation. These "knots" or "cysts" in the body are holding the emotion, as though frozen, and with deep traumas or early life trauma, they even store the memory of the original, pervasive event.
The Body as Container and the Price to be Paid
The body-mind keeps these emotional tensions--these energy cysts-- in place to the best of its ability, at the cost of enormous energy. It might be preferable to choose pain, discomfort, or disease instead of coming to close to the sensation of the overwhelming helplessness in the face of the traumatic residue.
The remainder of your available energy has to compensate for keeping a traumatic state, with accompanying body tensions in place, which can result in lethargy, depression, tiredness, fatigue, ME and many other conditions and diseases.
How are you dealing with PTSD fatigue and exhaustion? Leave your comments below.
Doc at VA has giving me 4 different meds. I asked him if any meds. give you energy he said he would check? Just tired of being tired.
B complex may help with energy. Also ask about magnesium supplements. Magnesium helps with anxiety and depression as well as muscle pain/cramps.
Hence why floatation is so beneficial for trauma
It probably depends on where you are. For many it can be too much to start with and more boundaries and containment first are necessary.
Absolutely not for everyone. There is no way I would be anything but anxious!!
If that’s what u believe then u won’t indeed.
Well, that’s a helpful attitude.
Can I ask what flotation is?
The energy is locked up within the tiredness. The tiredness is the dissociation to not feel overwhelmed. Feeling into that rather than resisting will possibly open the underlying emotions that give rise to the tiredness. Make sure you do this with someone skillfully.
I have found this to be true. Insightful counsel.
What are referring to for “feeling in to it” in this example? Feeling in to the tiredness? In to the overwhelmed? In to the original trauma? These few sentences fit me all too well. I’ve made good counseling progress, but nothing shakes the fatigue I’ve had for 30 years now! I force myself to minimally function through it and live life, but the fatigue itself is traumatic to have to struggle against day in and day out. I also have tried all sorts of nutritional regimens, some of which help a little, but again not enough to give actual relief. My newest technique to try is EMDR, which has promise but is getting dragged out with not much help in fatigue yet.
Hi Cheryl, TRE (trauma release exercises) have been incredibly helpful for lifting my fatigue. 30 years is a hell of a long time to be suffering… I really hope it gets better x
Thank you for sharing this… Fatigued all the time after tramatic events, and depression
I have been doing EMDR for a few years, at first steadily for a year, and now just whenever something is coming up. With CPTSD over here, it felt like it took forever to plow through and experience any progress. I am so glad that I stuck with it. When I started I had chronic pain and fatigue from a whole slew of autoimmune disorders. I have so much more energy and far less pain now, as well as being more centered, empowered and resilient. Somatic focusing and EFT have similar effects, but I think EMDR with a well-trained therapist is better to start with. Anyhow, my suggestion is to not give up, keep going even if it is really hard and you aren’t sure it is helping. It takes time for some of us, but it is so worth it. Best of luck!
Hi your struggling is familiar to me can I ask how is your concentration and memory affected by the condition
Look up adrenal fatigue related to hypervilance, this is often behind long term PTSD related fatigue
This is pretty insightful and helpful to get more clear on my habitual tiredness as a compensatory strategy to avoid overwhelm. Seems simple but the impact is pretty huge, noticing a great deal of my coping strategies actually exhaust me and in the end, make me tired.
Feeling that right now. Narcissistic step father who hated me, a sibling who followed his lead (only realized that now, in my 50s).
Not a surprise that I spent 20 years with a narcissistic husband, not knowing what was wrong with him in the end.
I left 8 years ago, after much in the exact t health issues you spoke about. I have been incredibly exhausted nearly that entire time. I work and feel like I must have worked twice the number of hours-my heart is having a good deal of trouble again.
I went back to school. I had so much trouble concentrating and so much physical pain and anxiety, but I did graduate with a 3.75. Studying was next to impossible, but I spent the extra time to get it done, forgoing sleep often. Crashed and became physically ill every single quarter.
Market shift under a certain pressure and health care shift rendered my degree nearly useless, at least if I wanted to get ahead at all. Bankruptcy, failure..
Finally, I was paying expenses (barely though), and a tornado dropped a tree through my roof. I wasn’t insured as I had sold nearly everything to get through school. Sibs continued to say how I wasn’t right, in many ways (I was my father’s favorite and never knew how jealous they were).
Anyway, just exhausted and in pain, trying to hold everything together as I try once more to get life going.
One of my sons and my daughter have been neglectful and abusive lately. They just don’t understand. THEY were my reason to go on. Now, I am sorting out how to learn to honor and respect and love myself, and have appropriate boundaries. We were never allowed to have boundaries, and I knew nothing about them.
Thank you, for your work!
wow our stories are similar! Hugs to you!
That makes so much sense.
Taking an active form of folic acid helps a little. It won’t give you all your energy back but it helps you have some days you can actually be productive. You can some good tasting chewables on Amazon.
I have been entertaining the thought of low dose testosterone. It may get rid of the lethergy, give your circadian rhythm a reboot as well. I haven’t broached the subject with mmy doctor yet but, after 12+ years, I am ready to try something else.
Did he ever check and get back to you? Would love to know something that would help this overwhelming tiredness with the chronic depression.
‘ Overwhelming helplessness in the face of the traumatic residue ‘ ……..So that is what is happening !!…..soo good to know….I just thought that i was
no good …..thanx Roland ….this has really helped .
I, too, find that statement more concise and appropriate in describing this mess that circles and then attacks my brain and body probably better than anything else I’ve come across during the past 50 years.
Thank you so much, Roland!!
Adderall that’s time released with 2 types of amphetamine. The VA has it but doesn’t like to start with it. You have to work up to it unless a doctor overrides. If you check the McGuire Veterans Hospital polytrauma transition center in Richmond, Virginia, they went through this with me last summer. The Polytrauma Transition Center is in its own bldg beside the main hospital. On the ptrip side is a nurse named Jim. Ask him about Col. Newton with the Kona coffee and he should remember me. He was familiar with my travails and should be able to guide you through getting the proper type of adderall. Good luck.
Does this cycling of exhaustion, etc continue forever? I was diagnosed three years ago but this seems never-ending. About to go back into a Neuro-clinic for a few weeks. Too much exercise and I crash. Too much stress and I crash. Not even sure most of the time what the triggers are triggering. Trauma began from birth so memories are difficult.
I take kratom and Mucuna Pruriens. To restore energy and depleted dopamine … it’s extreemly helpful and a blessing!
Also natural and has been used for centuries! Research these please! I’ve been taking for a few years now
She mentioned magnesium below. Make sure it is magnesium carbonate. I found a liquid for at a locally owned pharmacy called MAGONATE. I can really tell a difference when I run out. I also take adderal and trust me you don’t want to start a stimulant like this. It seems they work for awhile but eventually you need more and more. Wish I would have never taken it…
Nodie – me too!!! Exactly!!! Can’t sleep, can’t get my brain to slow down and rest. So I take multiple sleep aids (alternate what I take to try to avoid dependence. Not sure it’s working but..). Then it’s like I’m drugged the next day! Lead in my bone marrow tired! If I’m able to nap, that really helps me to finally become functional. But whether I nap or not, I still can’t sleep at bedtime. :/
I have to take zodpidem and it is a blessing for me otherwise I would not be able to shut my brain down. It also takes me out of ‘pain’ mode-I have severe chronic pain- while it is in my system. I don’t care that I am dependent on it. It helps.
Diagnosed with Narcolepsy, hmm.
Do you have an idea when it begun and what is related to it, on a personal level?
Same here! Was prescribed Vyvansse.
What does “ME” stand for?
Myalgic Encephalopathy or “ME” (a term which the ME Association feels is more appropriate than the original, Myalgic Encephalomyelitis).
As a massage therapist, I understand what this article is saying and the importance of doing soul healing work. Taking supplements is going to help you keep going in life but they will only help a bit and the resolve will not come until you ACTIVELY participate in the healing of the emotional wounds. Participating in Adult Children of Alcoholics meetings and workshops helps, (for people raised in families in any form of dysfunction) but working with a therapist is essential. The meetings are not meant to replace therapy. If you can find a therapist who work in the understanding of people being a triune being, body, soul and spirit you’ll find the best possible therapy because we are whole beings, not segments.
How to find a therapist that is affordable? At 61 should I even try?
Yes it’s worth it! I am 51 and doing therapy with EMDR. The thing I’m discovering is I’m not entirely 51 years old… there are traumatized parts of me stuck at the original age and influencing my life accordingly. As I address the traumas, these parts of me can finally let go and integrate with my current self. I hope to be fully and completely 51 through and through, and to finally heal from my constant fatigue. So I say go for it and seek help for hurting child inside who doesn’t know anything about your age 🙂
I like that she knows nothing about my age , I’d never thought about that you made me shed a tear for myself , haven’t done that for years thank you
Of course you should try! You might have another 20 years of life left, why suffer anymore.
I feel constantly depressed and tired and hidden repressed anger. Had one session of emdr and can feel things loosening up deep inside. I spent thousands on counselling and therapy. Wasted my money. Just could not go deep. All it did was keep the trauma alive I felt. This trauma specialist says it wouldn’t change me as I need to process the memories.
Yes, unfortunately there are few who address the cognitive part and also work on processing the emotional charge related to trauma. Keep going!
And, on the other hand, Roland, you and others in this field have discovered C-PTSD and are developing ways to help us all. Keep up the good work!
I can’t afford costly therapy sessions that may or may not work; I have been ‘talking’ out loud of past traumatic childhood-young adult-adult situations like I would be talking to a therapist, and I cry a lot while doing it; it seems to help
I am looking some sort of a healing retreat to go to. A retreat that possibly specializes in trauma and ptsd recovery. Is there one you recommend?
Perhaps have a look at Bessel van der Kolk in Boston. They have an in-patient program.
I just finished reading “The Body Keeps the Score” by Bessel van der Kolk. Wow, amazing information!
Of course you should try! You might have another 20 years of life left, why suffer anymore.
Costa Colina in Laguna Niguel saved my life. Its expensive but they take Blue Cross Blue Shield.
This makes total sense, thank you.
Thank you for describing this in so much detail. My next question is: what do I do about it?
Is there someone out there who can understand a traumatized body and knows how to help it?
Hello Jordan. Understanding helps to create a framework. If you want to work deeper on a somatic/emotional level please get in touch by private message fro setting up an online counseling session. Regards
Hi Nodie, TRE (trauma release exercises) have been really helpful for me. I was in a bad car crash (luckily not injured, but car was a total write off). That evening I went for a session with a TRE practitioner and happily drove a car the next day, no stress at all. Basically it is the body releasing trauma memory from the muscles, particularly the psoas muscles. Do some research on TRE – it’s amazing. Hope this helps 🙂
OMG…This article was VERY concisly helpful..BUT thank you to all commenters…
WOW..intellectually I KNEW I was not alone…but it has been a bad week..
AND..I reverted to physical pain and extreme..crippling fatigue..THANK YOU ALL for reminding my “shutting down self”…IT’S OK…IT’S JUST A LITTLE SET BACK ❤
It’s nice to see this put into words. I hope to start EMDR soon and am really hopeful. Thus far I have found a way to manage my fatigue, but I am so tired of being tired. I have changed my surroundings to reduce stressors and I have finally cut ties with my family, which was very helpful as they were a major trigger, but there is more, I want more healing beyond just finding a way to manage from one day to the next. It’s also very isolating to have so much fatigue because I feel like I let others down when I opt out or when I have to rest up. I think reading this article helps me feel less guilty because it is in fact real and not just in my head.
The last six months trauma of the same keeps repeating. In the moment of repeat I feel calm and in control. Then about 2 day after that… I get a setback… crying, sleeping the whole day, it feels if I lost a day or three… at day 5 about I feel in control again and can go on like normal. What worries me is. For a day or 2 it feels like I have a total blank, cannot remember what I did or say. I’m getting worried about it. I dont feel depressed after a episode. Just angry…
I dont take any medecine. Just Vitamines and folic acid.
The Trauma is from some familymenber. My son went threw a bad teenage fase, family member keeps interfering. Like a Narsist! She infuance my husband. She interfierd in my marrage since I met my husban 29 years ago. Now she start with my children… She is stealing not just my life but also my husbands an now starting with my Children…it feels if she is busy killing me slowly…
I have trouble sleeping and get jolted easily and startled from surprise touches
The NHS does have trauma specialists, my NHS Trust has added this specialism – do try to campaign for greater awareness among GP’s and Mental Health Trusts of your somatic & PTSD symptoms. My belief is that this is under diagnosed & wrongly treated. As Roland said without containment & skilled psychological understanding, clients are left to flounder. I would also recommend a highly experienced massage body worker, to deal with long standing intense pain. Namaste.
From early childhood right up until now, ive had endless trauma, emotional stress and sometimes severe depression. From an early age in adulthood i developed severe health issues. Complicated by raising children and living in an unhealthy unfufilled marriage ihave see various therapists over time whit not much success. My life has become so unbearable that i continuously pray that i can just sleep and not wake up.i have always had a strong spiritual belief system without which i don’t think i would have reached this age in my life.
I have been noticing for some time that I have cysts on my arms and could on my legs. I have chronic PTSD and I did associate when under tremendous stress at some point I as I call it go on auto pilot. Sometimes also I get extremely tired n can sleep for one day up to 5 days n not wake up. I really thought I was going crazy until I seemed therapy n started reading your articles. When I go on auto pilot I won’t remember anything about the incident until someone tells me how weird I was acting n people think I’m on drugs which I’m not cause I don’t use street drugs. This has been going on for a lot of years. I call them episodes and the can last up to four to five days. They can be very scary for me n my family. I don’t know a single person that this happens to which makes it hard for me to go out with friends cause I never know when an episode may accure.
Yes I have chronic depression. Had m.e in the past and fibromyalgia pain last 10 years. Am awaiting more in depth counselling. To incidents that happened when I was very young. Am so fatigued. Gets frustrating.
Thank you for your interesting articles. I experienced PTSD in 2013 after a traumatic a build up of 3 years of trauma events that happened. I was so fatigued that I struggled to get out of bed and stay awake during my day. I went to a breath worker who helped me to release my trauma. It took about 6 sessions of deep breath work which resulted in physical release from my body which was just the start. 5 years later through changing my thought patterns, eating a no sugar, gluten and diary free diet, swimming, meditation, drinking alot of water and green tea, spending quality time in the sunshine, doing gardening and taking care of myself, I am feeling 100% better. I have learnt humility and appreciate the fact that I am alive today. I also took anti-depressants for 6 months but stopped them cause it caused brain fog. I am on chronic meds…Vitamin D and have B12 injections when I go through a stressful period and take time out for me. I found that the most powerful tool that has helped me is to take charge of my thoughts and emotions and not allow my self to go into a negative place as soon I start feeling overwhelmed .
Really helpful points you made there. Thank you so much.
Complex trauma or C-PTSD. I have these episodes. Sometimes dissociative, sometimes suicidal actions, sometimes both. When I come out of them, I’m so exhausted. It seems like triggers are all over, but right now specifically; I’m in the middle of a civil case where the person I’m fighting was my therapist. There was grooming, gaslighting, pills and alcohol provided by him in sessions, until he brought me home from the hospital and sexually assaulted me. I had been given morphine for a kidney infection which had gone septic. Up until that point I always said no to his advances, but I felt guilty, like I was taking advantage of how much he ‘took care of me’. By this point he was in my life everyday, telling me what to believe and who my friends could be. Anyway, I even thought I loved him though I walked on eggshells most of the time. I had to tell him what he wanted to hear, or he would be upset and get into my head until I was triggered to the point I’d be in one of these blind states where suicide was the only out. I survived. I started telling him no. He sent me into these tailspins over the months after I said no. One day I realized he was harming me. I realized and tried to get him out of my life. He wouldn’t stop. He snuck onto my work property, left a scary card on my doorstep after the police told him to have no more contact with me. My state of mind was so threatened that I put my daughter in a house I thought she would be safe at, and I fled my home of 9 years, my job of 16, and moved from couch to couch and finally to a shelter. Two years have passed from the shelter, and I feel like my mind is never going to heal. One second I’m okay. The next, gone. When it passes, I’m so exhausted I can’t think or move. Society doesn’t understand. My own lawyer and mediator called it a relationship and an affair gone bad. Those statements put me in a bathtub with a knife. I don’t see a relationship or affair. I see a systematic abusive professional who destroyed my life. I’m in therapy. Trauma processing with EMDR. I don’t know if I’ll survive. I want my mind back. The one that wasn’t so damaged. I got here by looking up why I was so exhausted. Maybe the stuff here will help.
I’m so sorry about your circumstances, Alicia. You didn’t cause this man to abuse you and he is not your responsibility. You are.
I hear how hard the lawsuit is on you and just want to say, of course it is!!! He hurt you and took advantage of your trust and you’re trying to make sure he doesn’t get away with what he did to you — or get to do it to others.
That’s damned hard work. If one more monster is jailed, that’s one less monster out in the world targeting other people.
What is being referred to as ME in this article?
Myalgic Encephalopathy; sometimes cross-referred to as Fatigue Syndrome.
Watching others with PTSD is hard specially through fatigue when you know that rest and restoration can only come with time. Tanks once again Roland for touching on subjects and how to look at trauma. I am most impressed,
I cannot recall ,when I realized the affect of trauma on my nervous system,but I describe is as “my nervous system has gone roque”.;it has a Life of its own. What I can do is not to harm&push it any further (the affect on ACH…) Resting;just quietly breathing “4 in 8 out”, doing tasks e.g.in half an hour intervals;then stopping for 5, going to bed early ,and even deliberately walking slower,if I feel myself rushing;These are some of the choices I have. I can feel “buzzy”,but bit by bit the Roque One joins in. Today I am safe&my physical actions can relay that message to my frayed nervous system.
I have never had trauma counseling for historical sexual abuse. I’m experiencing all C-PTSD symptoms since remembering the trauma 15 yrs ago. Should I try to find a therapist for trauma therapy? I have had some therapy & then the therapist discharged me.
Hi Pat. Sorry to hear about your distress. Would online counseling be an option for you? Please have a look at this page – https://rolandbal.com/online-counseling-ptsd-cptsd-complex-trauma-roland-bal/. Regards
Does anyone have any techniques, activities, ways of being that can help with PTSD related fatigue?
I write and write and write into it Nadia…..Hemingway once said that there
was nothing to writing ….he just sits at his typewriter and bleeds !!
I do the same with my pen and paper…
hope that helps you as it does me .
Sleep for over nine hours. Go to sleep every night at the same time. Only work part time at a safe, low stress job that brings personal satisfaction. Eat a no cane sugar, corn sugar, no chemical diet that is full of fresh fruit, vegetables and whole grains. Exercise at a gentle walk, do yoga, gardening, but nothing stressful, just enjoyable. Cut out all people that make you tired, stressed, or sad. Meditate and pray each morning before you get up. I turn on a YouTube guided meditation for healing and sit up in bed and meditate. Prayers can be as simple as saying five things you are grateful for. Get sun and fresh air. Constantly reassure your body that it’s safe. I do Neuro feedback therapy with EFT and talk therapy. Avoid therapists that drag you backward into the trauma session after session. Once you’ve spoken about what has happened it’s time to work on copping skills and strategies. All the above works for me until I overdue it and end up back in an exhausted state like I am now. I went six months being functional before this last set back. Now I’m working on moderation and learning to accept my limitations. Also, alcohol actually make everything so much worse. I love being tipsy but it takes my brain chemistry three days to recover and I’m a real pissy hellcat during those three days. Alcohol is just a demon in a fancy bottle for trauma survivors.
Sending you love.
I have found over my adult life I am simply unable to work more than 30 hours without great difficulty. I have this tremendous fear of appearing lazy or incompetent because 40 hours is such a standard.
I think 30 hours should be the standard!
Can you please recommend a therapist who can help me with dissociative amnesia, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia, depression in Adelaide, South Australia please?
I’m always tired. I need 10 to 12 hours of sleep, per night (which, of course, I don’t get), in order to feel somewhat better. Less sleep, and I’m way more tired, and I can’t think straight. It affects my mood, leading to more depression. I have a C-Pap machine, that I love, but I still don’t feel rested…ever. 3 antidepressants, and thyroid meds, on top of that. Granted, I’m really doing the best I’ve ever done, but I’m too exhausted to do anything more than go to work, and go home and hide. I have bouts of random body pain/aches, as well as traveling, “voodoo-doll-like” stabbing pains. No answer from the doctors, and I can’t afford (with insurance) to push the issue to do more testing. Therapy takes forever. One ego state gets in the way of the other, and prevents complete processing. Now, sometimes, when I try to sleep, I am tortured by random, traveling itches. Scratch one, and another pops up. No rash, no allergies, no bugs…I know it’s just in my head. Wherever the itch is, when I scratch, it’s like saying “I’m not itchy, what are you doing?”.
I have complex trauma disorder. For 17 years I have been in counseling with various counselors, psychologists, and psychiatrists. I’m now doing Neuro feedback with EFT and talk therapy for one hour twice a week. This is the best therapy I have even found. My energy is up and I’m able to do more. My depression and anxiety is lower and I can sit with my back to a room and have even created an inner signal that tells me to redirect when negative thoughts or triggers try to take over my thoughts.
I’m afraid to try, but my core say do it. It’s an internal struggle I’m tired of fighting. I’m thoroughly convinced – having followed your blog and other readings- that I can’t become whole until I address the emotional residue. I believe I’m smart and highly capable of achieving so much more in life than I already have, but the negative self-talk went stop. I’m going to purchase the meditation series when I get paid. My inability to cope led to the trauma being passed down to my children, if you will. I need to become whole if I’m to help them become whole, too.
So true! Fatigue is my primary issue! I use magnesium, B12 and prazosine an off label blood pressure drug used for lymbic activation. Lots of side effects and can only be taken at night but works amazing! Long term side effects and consequences not sure
Physical activity beginning with walking and slowly working up to running, dance, or other activities help to release the energy trapped in the nervous system. At first it seems tiring, but if you approach slowly, over time then body will feel much better.
It all makes sense to me, now!!!
I have a diagnosis of EUPD. Before that, Bipolar.
My psychologist used Mindfulness to rediagnose me. It was Hell. Opened my Pandora’s box & then discharged me, as it activated disocciative memories.
(I have D.I.D)
So all the anger,resentment,guilt,#shame came flooding back & the Alters. (The old me’s who got abused, I was to young to comprehend or deal with the things that happened, so I disocciated. )
I use to be numb! But, the mindfulness opened up the black hole & I was left to relive the whole mess & feel all the emotions that I couldn’t express as a child, teenager. Reliving it, as though it was happening all over again. I have no support even my family avoid me.
Yet I can’t disocciate, anymore. So constantly feel a sense of dread, besides the overwhelming emotions and feelings. Along with the insomnia & Alts, shame, guilt & exhaustion.
Your posts are a lifeline.
That I use to restore my hope & faith, to carry on
My triggers are few and far between now, but I have found a way to work through them. I become irritable when I’m triggered and it would seem irrational to others because it is out of place to them. The trigger is the scenario in our head as many who struggle with PTSD already know.
I have trained myself to notice what is happening and ground myself. I take deep breaths, focus on one object in the room, and then use my other senses to hear and smell the area I am in. It helps me a great deal. The key is to actually use the tools you learn, but I get it, this too can be challenging. It’s also helpful to have someone who cares about you work through it with you.
I deal with fatigue and depression through meditation, exercise, Keto foods and taking time for myself.
Exhaustion. Yes, indeed. How many times in my life have I realized I had to face another challenge and rethink behaviors and make decisions about what to change? I’m 65. I have had to face psyche-threatening issues so many times!
Being diagnosed with depression and finding the right medicine for it relieved the exhaustion I felt every day. Therapy also helped. (I was in therapy for over 30 years.) Not with the same therapist, thank God! It was situational for me. I would discover I was facing a new problem, find a counselor who could work with me to resolve it, and learn how to move on in a healthier way.
But just last year, I was diagnosed with anxiety and successfully treated for it. It is almost as if I’m living a different life. I wake up every morning knowing that something good is going to happen. I’m cheerful and have hope that there’s something beyond today I can look forward to.
Once my anxiety lifted, it was clear to me that I had lived with it my entire life. Not just as far back as I could remember, but, based on a trusted family confidant, because my mother had been trying to break my will since birth.
So, back to the original topic: it’s always good to know that the science supports my own experience and that I can find reliable resources that will help me.
But your article made me curious to know whether or not you believe that when C-PTSD changes our brains, it’s not just the event, it’s not just the memory, it’s not just the contexts we put ourselves into as we try to relive the terror, hoping that THIS time there’s going to be a happy ending.
It’s than being exhausted or hyper-reactive, or hyper self conscious or hyper aroused more than hyperactivity. More than hyper self-consciousness. More than how close it lurks to the surface.
Somehow, it’s about how we accommodate ourselves physiologically and psychologically to being in constant fear.
I’m so grateful to have found this website, and so interested to hear your thoughts.
im not dealing with it. I’ve been locked in four mental health facilities like an animal; all made it worse. i can’t afford appropriate care…so I cope the best I can…and I’m losing the fight. I’m so tired and there are days I don’t think I will be able to continue. There are days I wish I had the courage to put an end to it…It’s been a long time…and I feel like a cockroach, flailing on her back…unable to right myself, due to lack of funds, access and accountability for the actions that caused my PTSD to begin with.
This info felt like finding water when stranded in the dessert. Thank you so much Roland! Lots of the comments were helpful as well.
Happy to hear!
I agree with you 100% My mom had early trauma& didn’t understand it, never had treatment. It didnt exist in the 50-60’s. She was a screamer& yes I was with my children as well..It was passed on to 2 of my children. The 3 all have extreme anxiety, 1 has OCD, daughter has addictions.
There a signs of it in 1 of my grandsons, only 5. 4 generations!
I’m trying my best by example.Now that i’m older & wiser, I totally understand what I should & shouldn’t have done.
I tell my grandchildren when they’re upset that there is ALWAYS a solution. Then, we explore options.
Good luck Kristin. You can do it!
Its so not right that when you think youre finally getting shit figured out, that wham,, now I get to have massive health issues, because of my traumatic childhood! Its like being punished again! Like what I went thru wasnt bad enough, but NOW, all my medical problems are directly linked to the childhood trauma. Ive been diagnosed with ME, hashimotos thyroiditis, degenerative disc disease, hypertension, tachycardia, etc.. at 50 years of age Ive had 20 surgeries, and have more coming, Ive suffered pancreatitis, diverticulitis, and ulcerative colitis, all in the past year, its so depressing to know, Im never going to get better, im only gonna get worse! How in the hell are we suppose to be ok, knowing we never heal??
I’ve been dealing with this for 60+ years. It definitely feels like the norm except I’ve garnered some insight of late and it is a real battle attempting to assimilate the then to the now as often I feel like I am 5 years old at 67. I’d love nothing more than to be able to feel connected ( to self and others) but it is difficult at best. I do like your blog posts- they are informative and at least explain the ‘why’ of things.
I was injured at work when an overhead lamp came loose swung down and hit me on the head and neck, knocking me to the floor. no one called an ambulance, i was driven to the hospital and given xrays for broken bones but no concussion check now going through hell, tbi, mental fatigue, whiplash and ptsd and my job or their insurance will take responsibility
I was dx’d w/ MDD and CFIDS. Believed this for 30 years. Now a correct dx is CPTSD. I have woken tired for all those years. I’ve taken meds to keep me awake but I could sleep on them.
I have A traumatic experience that resulted in amnesia. Ptsd for 30 some years yet I refused to believe I had that experience until recently my life was threatened and some memories Came back to which my family confirmed that true and it wasnt crazy. Anyways the way I see it anyone would be exhausted holding this crap inside. It’s like I avoided and held together now I can’t I’m exhausted. I follow adrenal fatigue suggestions. I didn’t sleep for like 8 years and didn’t realize it wAs a problem until psychosis started. Anyways Psych meds didn’t help my fatigue, yet strong psych med put me too sleep, unable to function but I couldn’t anyways.Rest helps.I couldn’t work either lots of rest and zero stress. Absolutely unable to handle any problem and I tell others it does help. I don’t care if they don’t understand. I’m very slowly feeling better.
30 some years ago I received 1 day of psych treatment and I had amnesia. What a difference now. I hope perhaps drs can study my case as I was on life support etc. the remembering all these years later caused psychosis. Not only that I feel hopeless now I’ll never be the same. I’m very tired I lived in constant fear for my life for my whole life my nervous system is haywire. I’m going blind lots of problems since remembering. I’d rather be living with my amnesia. Nothing good comes out of realizing people sexually assaulted you left you for dead and no one cared. They couldn’t even prosecute because of my amnesia and they didn’t want to cause me more issues that’s what they did then. Cover it up. So sad I’m so depressed and getting my life threatened nowadays related to it.
I’m working a simple job right now but really I shouldn’t be. I’m unable to do anything I feel disabled it’s been 30 yrs I never improved I got dramatically worse. I’m so tired but I can’t even help myself anymore. At least I know I’m not alone.
This is me.
Tension and trauma Releasing Exercises (T.R.E.) have worked wonders for me. So much so that I got certified in it so I can share this self-help technique with others. I still remember that specific moment when I felt that breakthrough in feelings of extreme fatigue after trying to get out of it for almost 4 years!
I was diagnosed with CPTSD, atypical depression, and an anxiety disorder during a recent three month stay in a residential mental health treatment center. My life has been trauma filled from day one; a mentally ill mother, childhood sexual abuse from multiple perpetrators including my father, several sexual assaults as a teen, and being married to a sociopath in my first marriage with all the lies, gaslighting and abuse that a relationship like that brings.. That marriage ended with him kidnapping our sons and taking them out of state when he found out I was leaving him. Getting my boys back with the help of a private investigator, attorney and law enforcement, and the divorce and custody battle that ensued is when my health broke down: ME, fibromyalgia, adrenal failure, etc. I still deal with those conditions 25 years later and they have greatly limited my life, along with the mental anguish from all that trauma. I’ve invested thousands in medical care for those conditions, including holistic options, and a fortune in supplements as well. I have had some years of therapy that helped somewhat but I do not think my medical or psychiatric issues will resolve unless I take a deep dive into specifically treating the trauma. Recently, my second marriage of over 20 years ended after my husband had an affair and went back on drugs. That triggered an epic breakdown. The residential program helped a lot, but I do need ongoing therapy and am struggling to find a good trauma therapist in my area that I can afford. My inner landscape looks/feels like a WW2 bomb site. I’m barely functioning these days and cannot cope with even small amounts of stress. And of course the pandemic has added a constant layer of that. Thank you to all the brave souls who have commented.
Reading this offered some insight. My friend sent me a photo that triggered me (but was otherwise innocent). They didn’t know about my ptsd, so I politely asked them to refrain from sending me something like that. Although we had a pleasant exchange, afterward, I feel drained, like I haven’t gotten any sleep all day, and it’s like a fatigue in my bones. Adrenaline was definitely released when I saw it, like I felt it. The fight or flight response. This time though, a panic attack didn’t result. Thank you for the article. It helped me to not spiral.
i went through alot of childhood trauma. every type of abuse. i have been very exhausted for about 3 days now after having to re live the abuse when telling somebody about it. exhausted to the point of torture and mild cramps despite me having a normal potassium intake.
ive always been triggered by people, places, and things related to what ive been through. most times i have no idea why im feeling edgy. even when nothing has happened. usually about every 3mo ill have some type of anxiety/ anger episode and itll calm down after maybe a few days. im not diagnosed bc the counselors ive gone to have been zero help. all they wanted to do is talk, even after ive been there for months. that doesnt help. no tests or anything. nothing but talk. i need real help. i need a real diagnosis. i live with myself, so youd think that doctors would listen. they dont. they never have. NONE of the drs ive told this to have any answers outside of their own office. im tired of going through this with no help even when i try to get help. im 43, and my childhood trauma ended when i was 16. ive lived with this for 27yrs now and its been a straight up nightmare half the time.
i always feel discriminated against bc im a male who does not look like a “classic” person with problems. bc of that i get shunned by drs and counselors. i try to make an appointment and nobody takes my insurance or are taking new clients bc apparently EVERYBODY has PTSD now.
Reading this and all the comments is very insightful and encouraging. I’m currently doing EMDR to process the trauma of a house fire that happened when I was 12. I spent my entire adolescence and young adult years sleeping only 2-4 hours a night. I guess because the fire happened around 4am, so I wasn’t able to fall asleep before then. Fun fact, sleep deprivation eventually starts to feel kind of like being on morphine. Somehow managed to get through school and “become an adult” despite the chronic fatigue. How I didn’t lose my sanity from the sleep deprivation is beyond me. I did use Saturdays/days off to “catch up.” I guess as a teenager, your body and brain are still fairly malleable and resilient? I’m getting much better sleep now but it comes with the caveat of waking up screaming from nightmares and occasional sleep paralysis. My therapist tells me this is normal since I’m actually allowing my brain more time to rest and thus more time to process. Gotta push through!
Is it possible over magnifying a small task is stemmed from trauma? A lot of the time, this is what drains me I think.
Thank you to those who commented. Some of these responses have been insightful.
Currently 21 and have had trauma since the age of 3 (and likely before this point). All I know is pain with occasional doses of happiness every once in a great while. So much feels hopeless, as I can’t even find medication to help me, and therapy has done so little (had to learn things by myself with research). Currently have a therapist trying to do CBT, only the depression, anxiety, and probably much more is too overpowering. Not really sure what route to take at this point. If anyone has insight, please let me know.
Very interesting stuff on this message board. My story so far – diagnosed with CPTSD 2016 (I’m 62 now). Massive childhood abuse (emotional neglect, some violence lots of abandonment) plus several near death experiences as an adult. Drug and alcohol addiction – multiple suicidal attempts – one of them nearly, successful. Sectioned in psychiatric hospital. Since 2016, have experienced varying levels of fatigue. Constant but moderate dissasociation – disconnection from my body. Was feeling physically sick 24/7 for three years (this stopped in 2018). Was on Escitalopram for anxiety which helped, but the side effects were horrible. What helps my fatigue – magnesium citrate (this also took my anxiety down from 7/10 to 4/10 within a week), daily long walks – this calms the nervous system & reduces brain fog. Plant based whole food diet – this reduced my anxiety even further – down to 2/10 and increased energy levels. Cut out coffee altogether – coffee gives me energy but then makes me much more, tired and stops me sleeping. Sometimes, Coffee did not, give me any more energy straight after drinking it. Only have one week cup of tea a day (I cut caffeine out for 9 months, and definitely slept better and longer with less fatigue). Yoga helped me a bit, but found it boring after a while. Body massage helps quite a bit with the anxiety and over activation of my emotions. Juicing helps quite a lot – especially with reducing exhaustion. Vigorous exercise helps quite a lot with reducing exhaustion only, if I have slept well night before and the vigorous exercise is no longer than 45 minutes. More than 45 minutes and the exhaustion becomes much worse.
Last 8 months having somatic therapy – this is primarily, not a talking therapy and this is definitely helping me the most. Juicing helps quite a lot – especially with lessening my exhaustion levels. Somatic therapy allows you to re-experience your trauma without, going into meltdown. Once the trauma is re-experienced (but in small amounts at a time) your nervous system can process it and little by little, the ‘knots’ of trauma lessen. This then reduces your fatigue and other symptoms from trauma. A friend of mine has been having somatic therapy for 18 months and he says his symptoms are quite a bit less. Books that helped me: COMPLEX PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving by Pete Walker, The Body Keeps Score by Bessel Van Der Kolk & How Not To Die by Dr Michael Greger – Discover the Foods scientifically Proven to Prevent and Reverse Disease. Crappy Childhood Fairy and Irene Lyon (both on Youtube) are superb at explaining why we get exhausted and what helps.
Things that made me worse: talking therapy, EMDR, drinking coffee, exercising too much, eating junk food, not experiencing my emotions, sleep deprivation, workaholism, drinking alcohol, taking drugs and venting over and over about how bad things have been for me.
2016 – I could barely function (Psychiatrist said I would not get better or only slight better). Just about held down my job. Panic attacks and emotional flashbacks. Am now about 75% better compared to 2016. It can, get better.
Thanks for sharing Pete. Keep going.
Hi Roland – there is one symptom that is bothering me at the moment. I have (diagnosed) ectopic heartbeats and when I over extend myself, I get the sound of blood rushing past my right ear. I also get a quivering feeling sometimes. This occurs more at night. Any suggestions as to what can help?
Thank you so much.
This article, all the comments, that a relief. Relief that I am not completely broken and abnormal. Because my constant fatigue is perfectly normal for the circumstances. Of course it des not fix the issue, but it takes away the “stress” of being weird and different.
I have been recently diagnosed with CPTSD (and PTSD). Haven’t started the therapy yet, still waiting for appointment.
For almost 40 years I just thought that I simply had a bad childhood, but it is all in the past. Only couple of months ago I realised how much those experiences affected my life, my actions, my responses, my confidence, health and peace.
I can’t even remember ever being able to sleep deep and through.
After some triggers, when I am able to somehow work through what was the trigger, what it triggered me to, and when I finally get my marbles back, I feel extremely exhausted, tired and numb. I tend to think that yeah, I’m finally ok, I am proud of myself that I managed to get out of those old emotions and I didn’t allow them to steer me (for too long). But I am also getting in this state of not being bothered with anything, the motivation to do anything drops, I don’t want to meet anyone, I don’t want to do anything that I am usually passionate about. I am just tired.
I started wondering if this is really OK. Maybe I am actually drifting in some sort of disconnection, that I was not aware of before.