PTSD comes from a chronic mental and emotional stress that happens as a result of a deep psychological shock that most often disturbs sleep, with a constant recollection, usually with vivid detail of the shock or injury that’s taken place. (To learn more about PTSD, please read here.) But there are many variations of what causes a posttraumatic stress disorder, one of which is known as Complex PTSD (C-PTSD.)
You will learn in this link that C-PTSD has different criteria than the diagnosis for PTSD, but this differential is subtle and not often fully recognized, even by therapists. Also, C-PTSD is not a formal diagnosis that appears in the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM) which is used by clinicians for identifying a collection of symptoms. It is classically seen as something that has emerged from an assortment of different sources:
- The client experienced prolonged and multiple traumas lasting for a period of months or even years.
- The traumas come from someone who the victim had a deep interpersonal relationship with and was part of his or her primary care network, the most common example being a parent.
- The victim experienced these traumas as permanent features of life, seeing no end in sight.
- The victim had no power over the person traumatizing him or her.
I am not suggesting that you have this, but I am suggesting it may be worth talking to the original therapist who diagnosed you and ask them to share their thoughts about their diagnosis or to make an appointment with a clinical psychologist who is licensed to be able to perform testing that could help you identify your diagnosis more readily. Because C-PTSD isn’t an official category in the DSM individuals who may meet its criteria may have been given the label PTSD because it is the only one officially recognized.
Also, as a side note, if you haven’t read the extraordinary memoir Autobiography of A Face by Lucy Greay, I’d encourage you to put it on your list.
Wishing you patience and peace,
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral