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Hi everyone my name is David and I live with complex-P.T.S.D and as well Hep C and Hemochromatosis. I live in British Columbia Canada. I'm new to this site and am just looking to connect with individuals who, might be experiencing the isolation and loneliness of living with P.T.S.D. If you'd like to connect, I'd so welcome that. I experienced early childhood trauma and was held hostage in a school at gun point, when I was ten years old. I won't go into the details, yet it was horrifying. I escaped my family home which was highly abusive and ran to the streets of Toronto Canada, where I spent almost ten years living on the streets. I survived, yet am left with the invisible wounds and scars of so much abuse. Today I am 53, I hope that what I've shared is appropriate for this forum, it is not my intent to trigger anyone. These days I seem to have inadvertently pushed people and support out of my life. Thus, I'm very isolated and lonely. I need to connect with people who live with this disorder as there is very little supportive services where I live. However, through filing a "claim" for criminal injuries here in British Columbia Canada, I have been awarded some councelling and will be starting soon. I'm so grateful this site is here. Best wishes to everyone. David.

13 Replies

  • Hi David and welcome to the group. Living with cptsd can be very isolating as we can fence ourselves in in a way of avoiding triggers. It can seem that almost anything can trigger us in any moment of any day. It does get easier. Counselling is one way of helping. I've been doing EMDR for eighteen months now and it's helping. Google EMDR if your not sure of it. It seems weird in the beginning but it's helping me. There are so many different modalities of help it's just finding the right fit for you.

  • Hi Lindyloo, Thanks for responding to my post. As you mentioned living with cptsd can be very isolating, I do find myself avoiding going out due to triggers and yes, almost anything can be a trigger. I'm glad to hear that for you it has become easier over time. I'm familiar with EMDR and had some sessions of counselling focuses on it and it did seem to help. I also did sensory motor counselling too. The current counselling I will be doing is response based therapy, it is not a body centered therapy rather more of a talk therapy. It has been a long journey, as I'm sure it has been for you too. Yet, it is great to connect to people with the same challenges. Hope you are having a great day, best wishes to you and again thanks so much for responding to my post. David.

  • Hi David, my name is Wendy, and I too live with Complex PTSD. I too experienced early childhood trauma also a number of extremely traumatic events in my adult life. Although I have battled depression pretty much my entire life my PTSD diagnosis only came 4 years ago when I began having 'Flashbacks'. I cannot even begin to imagine how horrific your early childhood experiences must have been, and living on the streets for 10 years. Importantly, you have survived. You are a survivor! A very wise counsellor pointed out to me once that that in itself is an achievement - and as survivors of trauma and hardship, although it doesn't feel that way a lot of the time, it means that we are way stronger than what we think and we need to give ourselves credit for that. I have tended to push people away also and avoid contact with the outside world most of the time. Fortunately for me I do have a very supportive GP and counsellor. But I still find that living with PTSD is rather a lonely walk. As you mentioned in your post, the wounds and scars are invisible to the outside world, yet they exist within us and impact every moment of every day. I don't get on this site much but it's 3:30am and I can't sleep and I just happened to read your post and felt to connect to let you know that there are others out there who care and share some of the same challenges. I wish you all the very best on your healing journey and hope that the sun begins to shine more brightly in your life. When I am able, one thing that has helped me is to connect with Mother Earth and nature and to feel her life and see her beauty. I hope that your counselling goes well.

  • Hi Wendy,

    Thank so much for your wonderful reply to my posting. It sounds like you too have had quite the journey of healing from the past. It was helpful to hear that you too have a problem with going out and feel lonely too at times. Complex P.T.S.D. is a lonely journey at times. As well, it is important to remind myself that I'm a survivor and have lived through a great deal of trauma. So, thank you too for that reminder.

    So, you are having flashback too, I have that as well, often they are like intrusive memories which plague my mind. They come up unexpectedly and I get stuck in remembering the painful trauma's of the past. I find that what tends to help me is meditation and prayer as well as the medications I take and the counselling I've received so far.

    Like yourself, I too have a supportive Doctor and he really understands P.T.S.D. and has a good knowledge of how it affects a person. I find that walking in nature and the healing of mother earth helpful too, yet it seems so hard just to leave my home and access the nature trails near by. I really need to start to get up early and do my walks again, as it helps so much and in the early morning there are very few people around. The medication I take leaves me feeling very tired in the morning and I just feel I've no energy to walk. Maybe I need to take a bit less than I do.

    I'm prescribed, Cipralex (anti-depressant) and Oxeapam ( anti-anxiety) at night I take Mirtazapine which really helps with nightmares and is good to help me sleep through the night. Thank you for connecting with me Wendy, it really means a great deal to me to know that their are others struggling too. I don't feel so alone. I hope that you are having a really nice day today. Where do live ? I live in Duncan, British Columbia, Canada. A small town with lots of nature around me. There are Deer and bears and the odd cougar, yet we don't see them much, there is still lot's of old growth tree's here too and some are 1000 years old.

    Well, I am getting out my home today to go a pick some wild blackberries. Please keep in touch if you like, and thanks again Wendy for your email. Best wishes, David :-)

  • Hi David

    I'm glad you received my reply and that it was helpful. I've just read your reply to my reply and it has helped me! So there you go. I guess that is what these type of forums are all about - connecting people up with each other and gaining solace from the fact that we are not alone with our struggles. As with all things in life I suppose, it is not possible for others to understand unless they have similar experiences. I think that is what makes PTSD such an isolating challenge to live through, and especially Complex PTSD. It is taking the world a while to recognise that PTSD is such a real and valid condition but slowly it is happening. Meanwhile, we are blessed to be able to speak to each other like this and support one another.

    I live in Australia in Queensland's capital, Brisbane. I too have the frustration that I am not good in the mornings because I'm tired from medications and struggle to leave the house and with low energy levels. And I agree, early mornings are so much better because no-one is around. I enjoy the early morning hours when all is still, and because I struggle with sleep I'm often awake with the stillness and I enjoy to slowly hear the world waking up - the natural world. First I will hear one bird call, then another, then another as they all start to wake up.

    Where you live sounds like such a beautiful place, being a small place with lots of nature around. I love deers. They are such gentle creatures. And trees, God I love trees. Amazing that you have trees nearby that are so old. There is such beauty in them and they carry such an amazing energy and hold so many stories. Where I live in Brisbane is in the North West. A few minutes drive away there is a beautiful creek and bushland. I like to photograph nature so I used to go there a lot and just head off the beaten track. The wildlife here is different of course than Canada, but on my walks (when I was going on walks!) there are lots of Water Dragons which are like large lizards, and ducks, a turtle or two and different birds - white cuckatoos, crows, Kookaburras. Then there's the insect world - the butterflies and the Dragonflies and even the spiders with their amazing webs carry their own beauty. I love rocks and stones - and would often collect some and bring them home. As well only 15 to 20 minutes drive away there are mountains and further drives away even rainforest walks and waterfalls. It's frustrating, that these things really are accessible and nearby yet I remain housebound and don't access them.

    I was already unwell, but at the beginning of March this year I had a serious car accident and have been without a motor vehicle plus the trauma of the accident set me right back to square one with my PTSD symptoms. I too have an injuries claim in the pipeline. In theory, sometimes things that help seem easy, yet to actually do them is another story. I tend to be quite hard on myself and beat myself up for not doing more.

    Interesting that you mentioned meditation, as I was just writing about that in my journal this morning. I used to meditate a lot but not lately. Was thinking about it this morning that I must really TRY to again - to curb my racing thoughts and try to reign them in.

    I am a copious journal keeper. My journals have been my salvation for many many years. I just pour out all of my feelings in there. It's a safe place to say whatever I want.

    My current medications are Antidepressant Cymbalta (Duloxetine), also Mirtazapine and also Oxazepam plus Diazapam (Valium) when needed. Sometimes if I have been triggered and am in public and feel myself going into a flashback I chew on a couple of diazepam plus I've got a little kit of natural survival tools always carry with me - essential oils, herbal anxiety sprays, balancing balms and always got the odd crystal or too to hold onto that helps. Mostly I am able to avert having a flashback in public but there have been times when they have taken me by surprise. Can you believe it, last year I got triggerred by a painting in an Art Gallery and had a flashback in middle of the Art Gallery! Once I am 'in' the Flashback I am unable to communicate. It's like someone presses a 'play' button to a scene in a movie or something and it just has to run its course and finish playing. Though I do have conscious memories of some of trauma from my adult life, a lot of my flashbacks are just body memory and the emotions that accompany that. And I've often wished that I COULD have the conscious memories as sometimes it's just like all of these pieces of a puzzle and I am left wondering. But, maybe this is for a reason. Such is life.

    Sounds lovely, you going out to pick wild blackberries. I love them. My father died when I was 13 but he used to go interstate once a year and bring blackberries home and make the most awesome blackberry jelly (jam). Good on you for getting yourself out of the house!

    I too must brave the outside world today as I've got scripts to fill at the chemist. The outside world - eeek! But I must be brave and do it.

    Yes I would like to keep in touch, so talk again soon. Bye for now - Wendy

  • Hi again Wendy,

    Thanks once again for your reply, it means so much. Like you said living with Complex P.T.S.D. is isolating and it is so amazing to have this forum to connect with individuals like you. It seems at times that living with disorder is some what invisible and people do not know what we go through and experience, unless one is living with the disorder. Things are changing and it seems that medical professionals and the public are being made aware of the devastating effect of P.T.S.D. I was talking with a counsellor I was seeing lately and said " If I was a survivor of war, a veteran...people can seem to totally understand" his retort to me was that the difference between me and the soldier was that, the soldier went into battle a whole person and that I never became whole, as the abuse started for me at 2.5 years old and then continued until I was six, the abuse afterwards, I suffered was sexual at that time, later it turned into violent physical abuse as well as emotional and mental abuse. Most of my life I felt like an object and not a person. Which led to running away from home and always brought back to that home by the police. I ran away so many times and still they kept bringing me home to experience further abuse. I ran to the streets of Toronto, Canada and was further exposed to abuse by sexual predators on the street as I was involved in prostitution. Unaware, I was acting out my early childhood abuse by engaging in this behavior and it lasted ten years.

    However, I healed from that behavior and with lots of help, I can now say I'm clean and sober now many year. I'm left with the invisible wounds of the traumas of my past. I can not tell you enough how grateful I am to connect with you. You are prescribed almost the same medications that I too am prescribed. You too have experienced trauma after trauma, and still survive. Thank you for your strength and compassion. You had mentioned that you are also seeking compensation for the traumas you have experienced and wish you well in your endeavor. Like your self I compare myself to others and often feel guilty for not being capable of measuring up and being a better person in my society. However, I also see that I'm not like those who came from nurturing backgrounds. I'm really struggling with just trying to fit into society, somehow I feel like a round peg trying to fit into a square hole ! I just feel at times like an alien here on earth.

    Flashbacks are something that is hard to understand, I can totally relate in how you mentioned that a painting in an art show, triggered you into a flashback. I understand. Sometimes I get so triggered that I hunker down in my little apartment and just stare out the window as my memories play before my mind. At times I've experienced my whole body shaking and my neurological system just going into overload. I too find solace in nature and it is nice and interesting to hear about the animals in Australia. How amazing a place you live in, it sounds incredible. I've always desired to visit your country and experience the landscape of the Australian outback. I did make it out to pick blackberries this evening. The blackberry bushes are in the back of an old age center which looks after people who are at the end of their life. Yet, there was I and my roommate Olive picking these most delicious berries. How wonderful is that ! I had gone next door to the center to talk with Jo, who is the administrator and asked if it would be alright to pick the blackberries. She said of course you can, so kind. I was a hairdresser in my former life and now live on a disability pension. I asked Jo if I might come to the care home and do some hairdressing for those who can not afford it, she said that would be great ! So tomorrow I'll present my CV and maybe I'll be able to make the lives of those in their last days just that much better, at least that is my hope.

    Wendy, once again thank you, for it is so wonderful to connect with you. I wish you all the best in your journey, hang in there and if you feel like it, please continue our contact as it is said, a hurt shared in a hurt made in half and joy shared is a joy doubled. The very best wishes to you my dear. God bless you and take care. Yours David :-)

  • Hi David

    Good to hear you got out to pick the blackberries.

    What a wonderful idea, to do some hairdressing in the aged care centre. I'm sure you will bless many of the residents there. That physical touch & bit of pampering, plus just the company and a chat I'm sure will bring them joy.

    I am also on a Disability Pension. I have done a bit of voluntary work when not so unwell. For a while I was going into one of the Hospitals in Brisbane and massaging the feet of patients in the Renal Ward while they were on Dialasis machines for their kidneys. It helps with their circulation and is a bit of pampering as they are on the machines for hours. There was one aged man whose feet I massaged who lived in an aged care home and he had no family or anything so I think for him he was just so grateful to have someone to talk to for a while. I found it very tiring though as I would do about 8 or nine patients in a morning and was having to catch 2 buses to and from.

    I then got accepted into the training program to be a Volunteer Tour Guide at the Queensland Art Gallery. The training was very intense and during this time my son was still living with me and he was in a lot of trouble with the law so there was a lot of stress as I was also spending a lot of time compiling information for his defence in court. Then a David Lynch painting triggered me and I was back to square one again. It seems to go like that a bit sometimes, things seem to get a little better, then i become more unwell again and more flashbacks.

    I received a beautiful text message today from a lovely social worker who has been helping me and he said something so kind. He said "I think it's important to note that sometimes our ultimate recovery is less about finding a 'cure', and more about learning to prepare for and manage the hard times; and strive for a rich and meaningful life despite them. I think you're doing just that" . I find it so important to receive that kind of validation & acknowledgement. Just achieving simple basic things sometimes can feel impossible. I have had a couple of what I would call 'good' days this past week or so, which are more valuable than gold to me. Had been feeling a lot of grief and hiding away in my house not eating properly or looking after myself. With the help of the Social Worker, my psychologist & my GP I am trying my hardest to turn that around.

    My abuse also began from a very young age. I won't go into it all as I'm not sure how much we are allowed to share on these sites. Much of my younger abuse the conscious memories are blocked and I just have body & emotional memories in flashbacks. But also as an adult some pretty bad things have happened to me, one of the worst being when I was overseas and in Trinidad and I hope not a trigger for anyone who may read this but I was kidnapped at knifepoint.

    But, out of the darkness, light can sometimes come. I am part of a project through the Brisbane Rape and Incest Survivor's Centre in Brisbane and have done the creative writing for a children's book with my photographs from the Creek as illustrations. The characters in the book are animals, but one of them is being sexually abused and the whole purpose of the book is to make kids aware that they should always "tell" and that it is never their fault. We haven't got to the publishing stage yet and how many copies we publish will depend on funding but it will be very rewarding when it all comes to fruition. Ideally we would love for it to be accepted into some prep and primary schools.

    I leave it there David. It's nearly 2am here now and I'm hoping that I can get some sleep.

    Bye for now


  • Dear Wendy,

    So nice to hear from you again, and once again I was out this evening picking some blackberries, there seems to be an abundance of them this year ! Which is great as they sell them in the grocery store for about $3.00 per half a pint.

    So, you are living on a disability pension too. It is really expensive here in Canada where I live, rent, food and utilities put me right to the max of my pension yet, I get by. How is it where you live? Is it expensive too? It is great that you have been able to volunteer at times and being a volunteer tour guide sounds like it would be an interesting volunteer position. So, you also have a son, sorry to hear he was in trouble with the law and as well, that you were triggered by a painting in the art gallery. You sure are one heck of a survivor to have to go through your son's troubles while living with this disorder.

    Like yourself I too have some good days, and yet the bad days leave me feeling incapacitated and some times all I can do is sleep, and at times I find it hard to care for myself and do not eat properly. It sounded like a very horrible and very traumatic experience you had while in Trinidad. My gosh how terrifying.

    It is good that you are connected to the Brisbane rape and incest survivors center there. As well, the book that you are writing sounds wonderful, and will help so many children as well as be some healing for you too. I like what you shared with me, that the social worker said " It is important to note that sometimes our recovery is less about finding a cure, and more about preparing for the hard times, and strive for a rich and meaningful life despite them". How true that is...there is a big difference between healing and curing, isn't there.

    Well, this weekend I'm going to be preparing for a colonoscopy I have on Monday morning. Not too much fun as I have to start the cleanse on Saturday. It involves drinking a liquid and then I shall not be too far from the bathroom as it works pretty quick. Sunday I can have no solid foods. Well, now there is an exciting weekend ! LOL !

    Well, take good care of yourself Wendy and keep positive if you can, I wish you all the best and hope that tonight you might be able to get some much needed sleep. Best wishes. David. :-)

  • Dear Wendy,

    Hope you are doing ok. Have not seen you one the site much. Often living with P.T.S.D. one can go through periods of hibernation like a bear does..LOL. I was just thinking of you a was wondering how you are doing ?

    No need to get back to me if your just taking care of your self, if you feel like corresponding please do. Otherwise, take good care and maybe we'll chat again soon.

    I've started with a new therapist and am feeling really good about the work she does. Anyhow Wendy, sending you good vibrations and best wishes. David :-)

  • Hello David and all I am as well from B.c I will write more later but its 1.22 am .

  • Hi David,

    Having just read your introduction it seems we share a few similarities.

    First of all welcome to PTSD Global Community and I see some kind and caring members have spoken to you already. Thank you for saying hello and telling a little about your life that has resulted in PTSD amongst other medical health problems.

    It seems that a few of us catch a few "grenades" as we go through life and have to deal with them as best as we are able.

    In my life I've had a few knock downs and some ongoing things which defy any logic.

    I celebrated my 57th birthday last month and there have been times I never thought I'd make it this far. I went with my partner to stay with family on the south coast of Essex, England and we attended a major air show on my birthday in hot sunshine and with plenty of icecream !

    My childhood trauma (terror) started aged 5 in about 1965. Those events were to send me down a very hard path in life. The quest for knowledge and enlightenment. Although I do not follow any religion, I am not an athiest either. Those events had a very profound effect on me at a very early stage of my life. Some people might say it was abuse, I can see it either way as a positive wake up call or as a negative experience. I prefer to see them as positive but I can still at times feel the intense anger at them for what they do. Reference the work of John E Mack PhD Psychiatry. A true medical pioneer and a man to who I owe so much for helping me to come to terms with my childhood experiences.

    Although they seemed to fade away, I still had occassional strange experiences that defied any logic throughout the years of my professional career and while bringing up two children with my ex wife. I was successful for a while.

    My mother died of cancer when she was aged 38. I was 18 and I have 3 brothers. She spent a lot of time in and out of hospital and when she died 3 years after diagnosis, it tore a big hole in our world. Our father became OCD and quite cold and abusive and he too suffered badly with the loss. I try hard not to judge him, but he was not a loving family kind of man. But he had great virtues in other important areas, he was an honest and hard working man.

    My older brother who was my best friend was kicked out of the house 2 years later after arguing with our father about his obsessive behavior and we lost touch with each other for a long time.

    In 1991 I was made redundant from my work as a project manager for a large international engineering group. We lost our village home within 3 months due to bank repossession in the dark recession of the early 1990s.

    While out of regular work for a few years I retrained and gained further qualifications in the mid 1990s and forced my way back into the professions armed with IT and CAD skills.

    Then in 2001 my world fell apart again. Ive been into motorcycles all of my life from age 11. It's the feeling of freedom I love.

    Ten days after 9/11 I was riding my Suzuki 1300cc bike on a country lane going to see a bike mate one friday afternoon. I was career focused and planning my next career move for more income and less hours. Designing our home extension to double the ground floor area.


    That day and at that time there was a car coming down that country lane towards me and we were going to meet only for a fraction of a second. A complete stranger who I would meet for that fraction of a second and never see again, was to change the course of my life forever and nothing at all would ever be the same.

    The impact of the car that hit me was sufficient to smash my body so badly that I would not have lived much longer than 1 or maybe 2 hours. I was left underneath my bike, unconscious and with no witnesses. The driver who hit me did not stop or phone the emergency services.

    I will spare the forum the next few hours and days due to its truly horrific nature.

    2 years later with no support for my family or me and the police lying saying there was no evidence that a car hit me. Yes the police lie too. I bailed out of my 20 year marraige.

    I walked out with some bin liners of clothes and a few personal belongings. No family should ever have to witness the hell I was going through. My spinal injries, head injuries and broken ankle were not daignosed for another 5 years and therefor went untreated.

    While I was at home my family could not get the support they needed from the state. So I had to go and take my problems away from them... chronic pain and no sleep for 18 months isnt a good thing on your syche. I spent 6 years on elbow crutches. My left leg continued to collapse for maybe 4 years before they repaired the femur.

    So I became homeless for a few years. Sofa surfing and just kind people helping me out. I met a few angels in human form when I was utterly desperate and needed help I can tell you. Amazing how they appear when you think you have nothing left to go forward with? The kind of peope you would never ever think were angels.

    Eventually through the most lengthy and bizarre chain of events I found the most special person I could ever find in perhaps many more than just one lifetime.

    We both believe we were bought together because of the incredible events that lead to us meeting and then living together. She is an amazing and beautiful person who shares the same experience of riding her bike a Ducati and being badly hurt by a hit and run van driver a long time before we met. We are inseparable and both strong in our own right. But also vulnerable to abuse from the state aka the system.

    However my past experiences caught up with me in 2008 when things started getting very surreal again. Involving close encounters with ufos at night or in broad daylight. My partner has her own encounters and we sometimes have family here when we see these things. But there are more paranormal things going on which I shalln't go into.

    These things aren't good or bad. They just happen. We just watch in amazement.

    My most recent event was to observe a large pale silvery white Orb in a neighbours garden at night in March this year. Quite a spectacular sight and no logic or reason I could discern for its presence there.

    My life has never been normal and I didn't know "normal" from the age of 5. I realised that life isn't normal for some people. I think by embracing that fact enabled me to deal with it better over the years. But this is my life, I own it, I accept it including the hard parts.

    That's an important thing to remember.

  • Thank you for sharing your story, you've sure been through a great deal. Your strength is amazing. I'm going through a great deal right now and am experiencing a great deal of brain fog. So forgive me for this short response. Yet know how much I appreciate your message. May your day be a positive one and I wish you all the healing that you deserve in this life. God bless, David.

  • Hi David, I apologise for being away from the forum for a while dealing with soulless people who work for the state.

    I read your story with great interest and I know how some of that feels but not other parts of it. You are an extremely resilient person yourself!!!

    I feel a sense of pride to read stories like yours because you came through it. A bit battered and scarred maybe, but you're here, still batting and keeping on. Glad to know you.