C-PTSD. Five letters that seem to divide those who have it from those who do not. I often hear, I got through —-, why can’t you just get over it? How long are you going to sulk? It was a long time ago, can’t you just put it behind you? Why do you need to go back to treatment?

All of these questions discount what a person has been through and how their brain has responded. Maybe, psychology classes need to teach more about PTSD and C-PTSD. Even if everyone goes through a traumatic experience, they will all have different reactions. Only a certain percentage will develop the diagnosis. For example, all soldiers do not have PTSD. Only some of them do. Society seems to be doing a better job understanding that and veterans are receiving better treatment. Although, I am sure there is more to learn.

I am going to go with what I have read in peer reviewed journals, learned through groups, and learned through talking with others who have the diagnosis. No one chooses to have C-PTSD. It sucks!!! Nightmares, flashbacks, hyper vigilance, dissociation, anxiety, and depression. Add in that most of the people I have met believe that they could have stopped whatever happened including me. By the way, NO medication is effective for any of these symptoms. Those who have this diagnosis often need years of therapy and other treatments. They need to learn to feel safe in their own body.

Treatment is a persistent issue among patients. Medicare does not cover any long term treatment. Private insurance, if one is lucky to have it, does not have any long term facilities for trauma that are in network. What does this mean? Patients wind up cycling through the same safety level of treatment when they need more. More costs a lot and when you are unable to work and don’t have rich parents that treatment becomes out of reach.

In my quest for treatment, I called many of the residential centers whose treatment times range from 3 months to 18 months. Only one accepted my insurance and it was out of network. I was told I needed $5,800 up front and they could only guarantee that it would cover 28 out of the recommended 90 days. Why go? I found it odd that I had been on a unit for safety and stabilization over 20 times. I did the calculations and it would be cheaper to provide the higher level of treatment in the long run. Other centers wanted as much as 12,000 a month and were 6 months or more.

Then there are the people who think because a person has a mental illness that they cannot do a job and are inferior. My experience came when I went to school to become a social worker. I was trying o get a BSW. My advisor seeing that I already had a bachelors, recommended going right to a Masters program. I was so excited to get accepted. I wanted to work with elderly patients or in a hospice. My placement was in neither of those areas. The school placed you without any input. After my first field placement interview I was asked to come in to see the head of the department who quickly told me all of her doubts about me being able to do this.

Fast forward to getting a field placement and being there for 6 days. Time for the faculty advisor to come in and see how we were doing. I was the last one that she saw and she was not alone. My field supervisor was in the room with her. I was told that the head of the building did not want me there any longer because I was diagnosing clients. I had been a teacher, I knew better than to diagnose anyone. None of my notes or reports showed this. What was going on? It did not matter. My mental health was to bad to be in a placement. I did not understand. I had completed all of my work and was doing well in my classes. Then I was told that the principal had also checked my background. I knew it was public knowledge that I had lost custody of my kids. That is why I did not want a placement in a school or an environment with a lot of children. I was told that the parents would be upset. The school provided me with a medical leave.

Today, I still want to be a social worker band assist families and patients with navigating the medical system. What chop would even want me???

C-PTSD comes with its own stigma and oppression. Maybe, patients do see things differently, yet that would seem to be a strength not a weakness.

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