I was diagnosed with PTSD with dissociation at an extreme level over 12 years ago. During that time PTSD was gaining recognition as being more than a soldier’s terror. Sadly, this caused conflict and confusion. Some soldiers thought that those not serving in the war didn’t have the ‘right’ to talk about their pain and suffering to be on the same level as their horrific experiences. I felt sad that when studying PTSD I felt shut out and marginalized that some how I hadn’t suffered enough to get the label PTSD. Only my counselor knows my whole story, in fact, due to fractured memories on my part, I suspect he knows more than I do. He didn’t tell me my diagnosis for years; he didn’t want me feeling locked in by a label. I actually felt relieved that I could look something up and learn more. Time and again, I felt discourage in trying to find information that really sounded like what I live with every day. A few years ago, I started hearing about CPTSD, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The more I learned the more I felt like this was where I belonged on the PTSD spectrum.
To me, the complex part of my PTSD is it went on for years. My counselor pointed on I was raised in what is equivalent to an insane asylum. Personal relationships and my caregivers, distorted my childhood so completely, it was amazing that I functioned at all. To avoid going into my personal details, I looked online to share more generalize descriptions with resources to add to your own study and mine too. I don’t read every link that can be followed from these pages but I do believe what I did read sounds fairly reasonable to me.
This first link is a few paragraphs long with a link that may be helpful for some people: https://youwillbearwitness.com/2017/04/03/what-is-trauma-v-complex-trauma/
I followed the link in the article that led to this PDF, it is a more technical information and suggestions for counselors. It was a little like reading the recovery plan I had with my first counselor. He worked at stabilizing me, teaching me missing skills, then working towards integrating my past with my present. Not an easy task. http://www.blueknot.org.au/Portals/2/Fact%20Sheets%20Info/Fact%20Sheet_Health%20Practitioners.pdf
This next link is more technical and written more to therapists than survivors.
Towards the end this article talks about personality changes. My mother actually wrote about my personality change in my baby book when I was only 5 years old. I don’t really remember a before and after experience. I always knew I was just different from other kids. When I expressed my concerns, I was ridiculed that I was over sensitive and I was just like every other teenager exaggerating the slightest thing. I believed them or at least appeared to since I didn’t know how to fight for myself. I kept seeing medical doctor after medical doctor trying to figure out my physical problems then. I now understand those symptoms are part of the PTSD mind/body distress. However, thinking over the change of personality this is my conclusion….I would think it very odd if a person had a life changing experience and did not change. I changed. I changed again due to the impact of counseling. I was trained to continue to become the person I envision myself to become. I will not allow my abusers to decide my future.