Ever have something happen to you and suddenly, you’re part of THAT club: every person you meet has experienced the same. Get pregnant, everyone is pregnant. Get divorced, everyone is getting divorced. Get CPTSD, everyone has CPTSD. The pregnancy club membership was awesome but the others, not so much. I love every one of my CPTSD peeps to bits and many pieces, but I really don’t want to be in your club.

I am not rejecting all of you amazing people, I am rejecting the honey that has brought all of us bees together. Honestly, how many of you truly want to be in this club? Like ALL of you, one of my favourite phrases (usually followed by some very inventive swear words) is, “I’m sick of this shit”.

Opening Pandaora’s Box

The best and the worst of the CPTSD journey is near the beginning when the land of CPTSD Oz has been revealed and you’re both fascinated, relieved, and revolted. The dream of a better life just became real, but you can’t unsee flying monkeys and you can’t unsee CPTSD. I have heard so many of us on this site talk about “opening Pandora’s box” and wanting to slam it shut, but it was too late. That is certainly how I felt.

Suddenly, CPTSD was coming at me from all directions. I couldn’t turn a corner or have a conversation with someone without a flashback, brain fart, or emotional aha moment. CPTSD stalked me all my life in the shadows. I always knew something was there and it terrified me, but I could never fully see it or put a name to it.  However, once I fully saw it and named it, it no longer stalked me—instead it moved in, took over my closet, put its feet on the coffee table, and asked what I was making for supper. Every. Damn. Day.

I had transformed into “Super-CPTSD” who could leap tall flashbacks in a single meltdown and could disassociate faster than any memory could catch me.

I could not get away from it, even for a moment. So, I decided that I was going to be the best CPTSD buster that ever lived. I was going to “get over it” and jumped into the books, podcasts, therapy, and support groups. I had transformed into “Super-CPTSD” who could leap tall flashbacks in a single meltdown and could disassociate faster than any memory could catch me.

This phase lasted for about two weeks from my initial “OMG” moment. Then, a particularly nasty flashback that put me on my butt and into my bed for a couple of days brought me back to reality. This was not another achievement or notch on my life belt. None of my previous tactics or tools were going to defeat this sucker.  While all my previous emotional work and healing had prepared me for the battle, I needed more.

This is the point in most self-help articles where I should be giving you the magic recipe to defeat that emotional monster in three easy steps and start a new and improved life. But, if you’re like me and someone tries to tell me I can do something in three easy steps, I want to slap them with the book they’re recommending.

There is no easy fix. We have all tried that whether it be denial, addiction, or the other myriad of quick fixes we attempt to get through this as quickly and painlessly as possible. But, there is a fix and it is actually quite simple. We need to feel the pain and as Brene Brown says, lean into it. I know you’re thinking, “What? Are you insane? I’m trying to NOT feel the pain anymore!” Well, that’s the conundrum of healing from trauma: to no longer feel pain, you need to feel the pain. But this time, you will be able to access your adult self and a solid system of support to reach in and truly heal that pain, so it is the last time you feel it to this degree.

Yes, the pain will end. Soon enough, you will find yourself in a new club, and this one you will definitely want to join—the CPTSD Healed Club. In this club, meetings aren’t so regular because you don’t really need them. They are fun though and filled with lots of smiles and knowing nods as we reminisce about how deep our pain used to be. Membership is open and we are always actively recruiting because we want everyone to join our club. If you are reading this, it shows that you are already on the right path to joining this club. Welcome!


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