|My latest icon, finished on May 22nd: What do you suppose he is thinking?|
When I looked today at the search terms that have brought you my site recently, I found three that I would like to address: 1. Is PTSD permanent? 2. gentle c-ptsd 3. healing setbacks. I'll do my best to address these in this post.
1. Is PTSD permanent?
This is a complicated question to answer, and I'm not a trained professional, but I will do my best to respond by relying on my personal experience and what I have learned over the years.
First, there is what might be called "straightforward PTSD," and this is the sort of problem that a person might have after a one-time traumatic, violent event. Or it may be the type of thing that might result from events during combat. I have had no experience with combat-induced PTSD, and all I can discuss is PTSD as it relates to abuse.
If a woman who otherwise has had few traumatic experiences in her life is raped one time, that person may develop PTSD due to the traumatic effect of the rape. If this is the case, then she has a good chance of healing completely IF she immediately gets the appropriate therapy. If she does not get the right help, she may continue having the symptoms of PTSD--flashbacks, nightmares, dissociative episodes, etc. If she gets effective help, however, she will be able to remember the event but not have the symptoms of PTSD. The incident will be a bad memory, but it won't render her dysfunctional. In other words, the PTSD will not be permanent, most likely.
If a woman who has been abused repeatedly throughout her childhood and then as an adult is raped, if she has been kidnapped and held hostage for a period of time, if she has been a member of a cult, or if she has been involved long-term in a domestic violence situation, then chances are she has developed Complex PTSD. IF she gets appropriate treatment, she can heal. But successful treatment for a person who has C-PTSD takes far longer than successful treatment for a person who has had a one-time traumatic event.
Can healing be permanent for a person who has had C-PTSD? My answer--I'm not sure. I am now going through the final part of my own treatment, the EMDR, and I am not sure how permanent my healing will be. Time and just plain living will give me the answer to that, I suspect. However, I can say that for about a year, now, I have not had flashbacks, and I have not dissociated to any degree. I seem to see life more clearly now than I have ever seen life, and so far my symptoms have not returned.
I anticipate being in therapy for maybe six more months. I plan to go as far as I can with EMDR and then get whatever help I need in adjusting to my new way of seeing the world. If I experience symptoms after leaving therapy, I believe I will be able to deal with them on my own, probably by working on my own with my ego states. It was the work I did organizing and bringing peace to my ego states that helped alleviate the PTSD symptoms, after all, and there is no reason why I cannot use the therapy on my own should the symptoms recur. My therapist has assured me, also, that if I need to consult with her via Skype, we can do that, for I plan to relocate when I'm finished with therapy. I'm moving to a more rural area where I can see horses and cows rather than concrete. I'll let you know what happens!
2. Gentle c-ptsd
I'm not 100% sure what the person who typed this into the search engine wanted to know, but I'll assume that the person wanted to know whether there was such a thing as "gentle c-ptsd."
I have never read about "gentle c-ptsd," so I will reply to this solely from personal experience. There have been times in my life when my ptsd symptoms have seemed to be dormant, when I have not had flashbacks and the other nasty symptoms. However, I know now that the symptoms have been, like the encapsulated tb bacillus, just waiting to erupt into a full-blown problem. I have no idea why my symptoms suddenly became so horrendous and life-disturbing when I was age 70, but they did. Nothing I have read has told me why the symptoms may lie dormant for years and then become evident. It's a mystery.
However, I know now that even though I did not have the full-blown symptoms, the "gentle" times in my life have been an illusion. This is because I was experiencing my life through the distorted lens of all the other aspects of C-PTSD--the lack of self esteem, the feeling that I don't fit into the world of "normal" people, the sense of being stupid, the desire to erase myself from the face of the earth because I shouldn't be here, and so forth. I didn't recognize these parts of C-PTSD as being distortions in my thinking. I thought these thoughts were accurate and true. But now I know they are not accurate and true.
So while C-PTSD may seem "gentle" because the miserable symptoms of PTSD do not seem present, the other aspects of C-PTSD are alive and active in the psyche and doing their own damage. The longer a person goes without help, the more damage the C-PTSD can do. I'm lucky! I knew I had a complicated problem, and I persevered in finding effective help--and I found it. Now I'm reaping the benefits of my hard work. It's worth the effort!
3. Healing setbacks--
If you find my topic list on this blog and click on "Ups and Downs of the Process," you may find what you are looking for. I've experienced my share of "downs"in the healing process, but when this happens, you just keep going. It's a two-step dance--two steps forward, and one step backward. Over time, though, the setbacks fade, and the dance becomes more like "three steps forward--one step back." Progress peaks, of course, when you get to "ten steps forward--no steps back." I hope the articles you find in "Ups and Downs of the Process" help you! Namaste . . .