“I’m doing well... no I’m not” C-PTSD and emotional roller coasters

One of the weirdest things for me on this CPTSD journey is realizing how my emotions change with the tides. And how unaware I can be of the gravitational pull.


One day I say I’m doing great, the next day it feels like the end of the world. One moment I’m happy, the next one I’m beside myself with anxiety and fear. Some mornings I wake up inspired and excited for life; give me a few more sunrises and I’ll be convinced that life is pointless and I’m a burden on the world.


There isn’t a ton of rhyme or reason to my emotions from an outside perspective. The worse news is, there isn’t much rationality from an inside perspective either.


There isn’t a ton of rhyme or reason to my emotions from an outside perspective. The worse news is, there isn’t much rationality from an inside perspective either.

The problem for me is, it doesn’t necessarily take outside influence to cause these major shifts in perception and emotion; I have enough shitty ammo stored up in my head to cause my own downfall at any given second.


When I keep myself “afloat,” as I tend to visualize it, above the deeper, darker pieces of my inner experience, I do okay. This quite literally requires insisting that the negative thoughts and feelings just aren’t there. Feeling the possibility of a dark sea monster underneath, but keeping my body above the responses that flood so quickly. Refusing to entertain them or acknowledge that they’re existing within me.


On the other hand, if I begin to edge myself towards those deep dark narratives in any way, my brain often takes the liberty to go wild. It’s a rapid decline like a slinky on a set of sturdy steps. Stepping down from “maybe you should have done this a little better,” to “why bother trying at all, no one on this earth cares about you or ever will, you’re repulsive and you’re doing everyone a disservice with every misguided attempt to exist.”


So yeah, that’s how a day when I’m “doing well” rapidly turns into a day when I want to leave my loved ones unburdened, remove my reign of terror from the world, and quit on life… all following something as stupid as a poorly worded email or awkward social interaction that my brain won’t let go of.


When you have a cruel, suicidal ideation-wielding inner critic and rocky self-esteem, it really doesn’t take much to tumble.

When you have a cruel, suicidal ideation-wielding inner critic and rocky self-esteem, it really doesn’t take much to tumble. There’s always a voice in your head, ready to tell you that everything is a fucking waste and so are you. You serve no purpose and you’re a fool for trying. No one loves you and no one ever will. Get ready to suffer forever.


Nice, huh? Thanks IC. It’s magnificent the way you turn uninteresting events into mountains that crash my plane and turn my attention towards eating my own arm.


Sorry, morbid sense of humor.


Another thing I’ve realized is, as Traumatized Motherfuckers who’ve been individually internally tortured for years, the relativity of our experiences doesn’t help, either.


Another thing I’ve realized is, as Traumatized Motherfuckers who’ve been individually internally tortured for years, the relativity of our experiences doesn’t help, either.

I’ve only realized recently that my impressions of “doing well” are scaled completely relative to usual experience. My usual experience and others’ usual experience are not the same thing, but we try to talk in the same generalized, shallow terms. “I’m fine, things are okay, yeah it’s getting better.”


Because we’ve spent half our lives (or longer) feeling so bad on the inside that we’ve physically been in pain, it’s hard to get a firm grasp on what a “good day” is compared to other people’s ideas. It’s like rationalizing what “feeling better” means, when one party has had a sniffle and the other party has been fighting life threatening pneumonia.


So, for instance, if I’m not literally writhing in pain, unable to stop crying, incapable of going outside or breathing… You know, I’m probably going to tell you that things are going pretty alright. I’m a lot better! I’m feeling fine! Things are really looking up! But for other people, that day would probably feel a lot different.


So, for instance, if I’m not literally writhing in pain, unable to stop crying, incapable of going outside or breathing… You know, I’m probably going to tell you that things are going pretty alright. I’m a lot better! I’m feeling fine! Things are really looking up! But for other people, that day would probably feel a lot different.

Let’s work on a 10 point scale, 0 being the worst emotional state ever and 10 being awesome.


The thing is, how I’m ACTUALLY doing might register as a 3 or 4 to other people who aren’t constantly suffering with anxiety, depression, neurosis and discomfort. But in my head, holy shit, this is like a 7 or 8 kind of day! I’m not contemplating how much better my loved ones would be without me! I’m really doing great! You ask me how I’m doing, and I tell you it’s a fantastic morning.


So, then it comes as a surprise to everyone when my perceived 7 or 8 quickly shifts down to a 1 or 2 because I’ve received unfortunate news, had a difficult social interaction, or got triggered. It’s easier to see someone hit the bottom of their worst emotions than it is determining where they are on the happiness scale - because we’ve all been culturally programmed to hide the bad and exaggerate the good.


As a result, my mood seems to plummet from the sky to 6 feet underground, but the truth is, I never WAS flying that high in the first place. I lied about it, to you and to myself, because I don't know any better.


As a result, my mood seems to plummet from the sky to 6 feet underground, but the truth is, I never WAS flying that high in the first place. I lied about it, to you and to myself, because I don't know any better.

My point being, when just being “okay” feels like leaps and bounds from the bottom, it’s hard to convey your true experience to folks who rarely dive into the depths of hell. It’s hard to understand them, yourself. And it feels like a roller coaster existence when you don’t have a realistic grip on your own headspace. It’s not genuinely that dramatic of a fall, but it sure seems drastic and wild for everyone when you just finished telling everyone you’re cool and now you’re upset and panicking.


I fall into this trap over and over again. My “good times” are fleeting, my bad times are easy to return to. And the majority of it is caused by my perception.


The only words I need to tell myself to go from a 10 to a 0? “You’re all alone” - this will rapidly turn into “... and you always will be. You’re pushing people away. You’re broken and no one will ever care for you.”


The only words I need to tell myself to go from a 10 to a 0? “You’re all alone” - this will rapidly turn into “... and you always will be. You’re pushing people away. You’re broken and no one will ever care for you.”

And Motherfuckers, you know my brain is trigger happy when it comes to those sentiments.


In fact, it just went there ten minutes ago, sparking the inspiration for this quick post. Before that moment? Doing fine. During that single moment? Panic set into my body as tension gripped my chest cavity, sunk my gut, and my head started to spin. Anxiety reared up. I started feeling needy and aimless after a day of feeling the complete opposite. It is that fast, it is that significant, and it is that easy.


This trauma brain never learned that it’s okay to be okay. That healthy people and relationships aren’t going to disappear on you out of the blue. That you can be forgiven, accepted, and loved even when you make mistakes.


I don't really know what it's like to be objectively "doing well"... No matter how many times I tell you I am.


Traumatized Motherfxckers

Not doomed. Not damaged.

Not dead yet.

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • reddit-round-logo-rubber-stamp-reddit-ic
  • Spotify
  • Pinterest
  • Tumblr

Atlanta, GA, USA | Chicago, IL, USA

© 2023 by Woman PWR. Proudly created with Wix.comTerms of Use  |   Privacy Policy