Updated: May 21
I'm a C-PTSD sufferer (/survivor?).
Sources of hell: some nurture, some nature.
Main symptoms: flashbacks, dissociation. Comorbidities: anxiety and OCD.
When did it start?
Early childhood trauma indeed! Because it started so early (age 2, from what I understand) I've never been able to tease apart what's fixable and what's just part of my personality. I've long settled into dark, neurotic tendencies that I'd feel naked to escape. Therapy tends to be a few months of attempts followed by "it's not you, it's me" type clinical splits.
What’s your background?
I majored in psychology with minors in sociology and physics. Got my master's in education from Northwestern and lived in Chicago (Rogers Park, mostly) for several years until I moved here. Moved a lot as a young kid, but I lived in Lexington from about the age of 8 or 9 until college with a few forays to other states. I miss other places sometimes; other times I don't.
How do you cope with symptoms?
I created a social anxiety meetup late 2017 and hosted a handful of meetups. Was going great, then I got pregnant and had to put it all on hold. Right now I've got a 2 month old and heading back to work soon, so it's tough to be as involved in anything as I'd like, but challenges are creeping back in. Tapping into survival skills and methods of making it through is definitely something that's as--or maybe more--important now than it's ever been for me. Turns out my higher ed didn't teach me to fix me.
The social anxiety group was a leap that I never thought would work. Howtf to get people who aren't comfortable with people to come meet with and talk to other people who are uncomfortable with people? But it worked, somehow... I just pushed through my anxiety the best I could, and had over 20 attendees once!
The keys were: cultivating a nonjudgmental environment that emphasized kindness and patience, being open and honest about my own discomfort as the meetup host, and letting members take the reins when it came to when, where, how; I sought out a lot of input from members, kind of like it seems you're doing. I felt bad having to put everything on hold last fall because I really think people were benefiting from the meetings, but I needed to cut out a source of anxiety to have a healthy pregnancy.
I've been thinking of starting it back once I get back into the swing of things at work and feel more in my groove with motherhood. We'll see, though... trying to learn to be forgiving with myself first and foremost.