Dealing with PTSD and Recognition of Complex Trauma & PTSD
By all means, I support that PTSD, CPTSD, Complex Trauma and any form of Post-Traumatic Stress be recognized juridically, professionally and by insurance companies, especially for vocations at high risk like the military, health, search and rescue, emergency services and the police.
Dealing with PTSD, recognition and treatment of Complex Trauma or PTSD at an early stage, greatly reduces suffering on all levels, personally and for society at large.
What I have seen, sadly too often though, is that those suffering from the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress are fighting to get official recognition of their condition. I know that there is justification for putting up a fight, but while you are experiencing the symptoms just isn’t the right time.
Being traumatized and thus overwhelmed by emotional stress is always coupled with a specific personal event or period in one’s life, be it surgery, rape, a combat situation, or an accident.
Dealing with the Overwhelming Effects of Complex Trauma and PTSD
As suffering from trauma is dissociative by nature, blame is projected onto what happened, or when turned inward becomes guilt and self-reproach. These are dissociative coping mechanisms, used to deal with the overwhelming effects of CPTSD or PTSD. They help you to survive the momentary impact of trauma, but also keep the it alive by the very nature of dissociation. That’s the conundrum of a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder sufferer; the longer the situation persists, the more dissociative the coping mechanisms become.
Anger that builds up after a traumatizing event is dissociative behavior used to deal with an overwhelming feeling of helplessness, and in an attempt to reestablish broken boundaries. Anger will almost always be projected onto somebody or something– either onto what happened, who was involved, or internalized as self-reproach. When the condition of Post-Traumatic Stress and anger (or any kind of emotion for that matter) persists, new targets will be found to project onto; one’s partner, spouse, society, the military, insurance company, and so on. This dissociative behavior and the actions that result from it will strengthen the effects of CPTSD or PTSD; therefore, I do not recommend putting up a fight while you are still in the thick of it.
Put your energy and resources into healing first.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Effects and How we React to Them
Let me illustrate this through an example:
Erika has been through a tough time at work; demanding deadlines and colleagues she can’t get along with. When on top of all this she is involved in a car accident, she cracks up. Thereafter, her ability to concentrate is diminished, her reluctance to go to work becomes tantamount and she suffers chronic pains. Currently, she is on sick leave but has to go through a series of tests to see whether she can go back to work or possibly be diagnosed as invalid for work and get early retirement. As we progress in our sessions, considerable anger and resentment surface which are projected and linked to her working environment and colleagues. We work with this, but she is unable to fully let go of it because of the fear that resolution might prevent her from getting an early retirement by coming out of the tests positively. The persistence of her condition and the pay-off of getting the benefits of an early retirement keep her in the loop. As we clarify what’s going on and what’s involved, it then becomes a choice she has to make.
Bear in mind this mindset is also at play when struggling to get financial assistance from insurance companies, recognition from the judicial system or in the workplace to get paid sick leave while still suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress.