CPTSD has been a persistent part of my diagnosis for a few years now, in part because we just refused to accept that I had EUPD. And while many survivors of childhood abuse have CPTSD, I’m one of the few that don’t have it due to what happened to me at home, as a child. There’s a theory it could have been – in part – to do with the meds I had as a child for epilepsy, or it could have been because I was bullied, but what I do know was that unlike some, I wasn’t as unlucky as others I’ve met, and that I wasn’t abused as a child by my family. This seems to be one of the key areas people focus on – if you have CPTSD, you were obviously abused as a child. And I have to say, it’s not that simple.
And as it’s an emerging label, I guess we just need to keep an eye on it.
How did I end up there?
As I’ve mentioned a couple of times on various blogs, about two yearas ago, around about the time a unit decided that there was nothing more they could do to treat me, my diagnosis was re-evaluated and changed to CPTSD. I could give a list of historical reasons why this is the case, and why most bipolars end up being reclassified as EUPD/borderline, but instead I’ll just link to this article.
I’m just a really passionate person
What got me ‘into trouble’ and the unit absolutely obsessed with the idea that I wasn’t bipolar was that I was always angry. There was no accounting for the reason *why* I was angry (I don’t do any other reaction in flight, fight, freeze), nor did they listen to me about specific things that made me feel as if y only protection was to be protective of myself.
The line though with the first team came when we had to complain about them and they said ‘everything in her record is completely accurate and justified, and we had didfferent letters, so…that was fun.
At the end of that road
I try not to focus too much now on what went on back then, but it wasn’t the best of times. And due to the way I’d been handled before being passed to the new unit, I’d basically had six months treatment in five years, something I’m still working towards fixing now.
One of the first things I had explained to me at the new unit though was that though he couldn’t say- for sure – whether I was bipolar – he was pretty sure that I wasn’t borderline, for the reasons I gave (I have little difficulty with long term relationships, and I’m angry all the time, it’s got nothing to do with my mental health, I’m just…feisty and will argue for what I believe in. In fact, at the end of the process with the complaints team, I showed the head of the unit this table from this article and he was in agreement with me. I didn’t fit BPD, I fit CPTSD, but it still took moving to a new team to be taken seriously.
CPTSD – here to stay?
In the last ten years, the definitions on mental health have changed so often that it’s hard to tell whether we’re dealing with one classification or another, whether we’re talking to someone who uses one set of terminology or another. Whether we’re even using the same definitional syste that they are. What is clear that if you find one that’s in one of the accepted systems and it works for you, it’s ok to want to use that one, and hopefully those that care for you are open to it.
*As is the common notice on Bi-polarbears, please do not self diagnose. While we appreciate, especially now, that healthcare is limited and difficult to come by mental health is important enough that you should work hard on ensuring that you’re supported and have an accurate, unbiassed diagnosis from a third party. Take a family member with you to advocate for you, but it’s important to have an official level of support and/or recognition for your mental health status. If you self diagnose, you could choose the wrong one, and as many of the items chosen when self diagnosing require medication only accessible from a professional, self-dx defeats the purpose of getting help for things, that way. And you don’t need to have a ‘formal diagnosis’ to practice mindfulness and self-care. Which I’ll be talking about later this month.
My nephew has a multi-diagnosis — it includes ODD as well as a few others — but I sometimes wonder if he has CPTSD. He was not abused as a child; he did, however, experience trauma. And one of the hardest things for his caretakers to understand (or diagnose, because it throws a “typical” diagnosis off) has been his unceasing anger.
I’m not sure what to suggest – I was very lucky that a psychiatrist actually understood that most of my anger was a defense mechanism and I don’t differentiate outwardly between fear and anger. It might be worth asking them if he has a misattribution to an emotion?
As to CPTSD, they’re talking about rolling up EUPD and a few others into it. Again, I can’t really offer much advice, but the table I finally got the psych board to slide to a halt and go… oh..uhm… OK… is linked above, as is the whole paper. It might be a place to start.
Cptsd is, like most things now, treated by meds less commonly than therapy to “reframe” and process more compassionately.
(Both my psych and psych nurse know me so well they know certain language puts my back up, hence being finally labelled aspie, so the quotes are because it’s not how i talk about it, but it’scommon shorthand.).
If I canpoint you in the direction of resources you may not have encountered, please just yell.