What Complex Trauma Feels Like to Me


Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and complex trauma are just that — complex. In fact, I believe all mental health and trauma are. It’s all so complex.

Some days it looks like managing triggers — finding a way to keep grounded. And managing it all can feel overwhelming and painful, and still, somehow, I am managing. Managing to put one foot in front of the other and get out of bed and do some or all of the “adulting” I need to do to function in the world.

And some days, managing feels somewhere close to living.

Other days (today for me) it looks like triggers and flashbacks and body memories and barely functioning and sleeping when I possibly can and nightmares and terrors and trying to piece together how on earth I found myself here again. Looking back at a week that was also so triggering, and finding some answers, but knowing some of it has no answer, and struggling to sit with that. Sitting with it, right there in the discomfort, trying to find a way to move through and ground myself and be in this body, while also trying to distract and comfort, and getting frustrated when another piece creeps back in.

It looks like a body in pain and illness and vibrating with memory and feeling, some I know and can decipher and name, and some I can only feel…and feel and feel and feel. And oh, how painful it feels.

This is today for me.

And somewhere in all of this is everyday.

This is trauma. This is complex trauma. And every day it is complex and it is never ever linear.

If you are somewhere within this, every day, in one way or another, with trauma and all the things that often come with trauma: I see you. I hear you. I believe you. I love you.

Because if I’m sure of one thing in all this, it’s that we need each other. And while everyone’s experience of trauma is individual and uniquely theirs, and sometimes it can feel like the loneliest place in the world, we can move through this together. We need each other.

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And I’m with you.

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Thinkstock photo via Transfuchsian.

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