Episode 111 - Finding yourself at the bottom again (Shame update)

Intro
Hello my dears! My name is Johanna, and I welcome you to the Johanna Draconis - The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD podcast.
In this episode we will talk about finding yourself at the bottom again where you never wanted to be again and the shame that is usually part of it and the reluctance to get help in that moment.
Since it is so important to break the silence - let us talk about it. Though first I would like to apologize for the extreme delay and the rather unstable release schedule lately - sadly my health hasn’t been too good lately. I hope things get better soon.

Prelude
We have all been there before - even though most would not like to admit it. That moment when you realize - you slided back and now are in the place again you really didn’t want to be again.
Be it getting something of the substance you tried to get away from or the old habit you tried to stop or - fitting for this podcast - getting strong symptoms again despite doing so great. There are so many examples of this.
The kind of dark spot we end up varies greatly between those examples. Slipping back into an old habit is for sure way more harmless and less severe than ending up with the addicted substance again.
The thing they have in common is the incredible shame. The shame we feel and that makes us likely to lie and not ask for help - because we feel so embarrassed and feel that no one should hear about it or see us like this. We are better than this. This is not us.
It is so hard - so incredible hard to pull yourself out of this spot. So I try to help today to make it a bit easier. That is why we first talk about why it is so hard and then things that might help to get out of there.

Why it is so hard
So, why is it so hard? I hope no one of you is in this dark spot - where everything seems hopeless and you feel like your efforts were for nothing. You might even have doubts if success is even possible - for you at least. The hope that we might made it - is shattered.
Which is sadly all a symptom of us not being well - we don’t see it balanced. We see it as the proof or the indicator for what we fear deep down inside - that we are doomed. But that is the view of fear that we let cloud our judgment.
If all was going rather well so far and made progress - isn’t it the proof that we are succeeding? That it is nothing more than a setback? Maybe it is an indication we took the wrong turn and need to change how we went on solving the issue.
But that doesn’t make the case hopeless nor dooms us. Yet even if we know this rationally it is hard to find in these thoughts comfort. It is likely because this is a purely existential fear and deep rooted survival instincts.
Also the deep rooted fear of being cast out.Be a disgrace and an outcast. That if others knew of it, they would be disgusted and leave us - even if we deep down know this won’t be the case. It is very hard to reason with any of that.

What can be done
So what can be done instead? First off, this has - most likely - nothing to do with your intelligence, moral, discipline, self worth and the like. It really happens to everyone. ESPECIALLY during your healing journey from PTSD. It happened to me a few times.
And I know of others it happens to. This comes from our desire to find happiness and peace and be finally healthy again. We all just want to get home, kick off the shoes and relax on a comfortable chair in the warmth. The good place.
Not the harsh cold wilderness of getting better. So sometimes we are a bit premature - we feel the slight warmth and kick our shoes away - despite still being in the cold outside. Which naturally leads to you getting worse again.
So one of the most important advice is, that if you feel better than you should just keep the pace. But that is more of a precaution. That doesn’t help you when you are in the thick of it.

In the thick of it
Then the most important step is to forgive yourself. That might come as a surprise, but it is truly one of the most helpful steps you can take. And it is one of the hardest. Forgiving yourself is hard.
You took a wrong step, that can happen to everyone - beating yourself up about it won’t help nor is it not normal. The more you accept that and let go of the self punishment - the faster you move on from this.
Second is to let go of the things you think you should and shouldn’t do and go about doing the things you CAN do. It is best to slow it down and try taking it step by step. As you are once again caught in the storm - so it is best to pace yourself and tread carefully.
Third - reach out. I know you most likely won’t feel like talking in this situation. But social interactions are important to us - especially in situations like these. Doesn’t have to be about the situation… maybe just exchange a few jokes. Whatever helps.
Fourth - find a place to recover. That can be a game, a book, movies, music or whatever. Somewhere you can forget your situation for a bit and regain your strength and energy. You are not a machine after all.

Outro
That was it for todays episode, I hope you found it helpful. Hope you are safe and well. And as always, if you have any questions or feedback and the like, please let me know at contactme@johannadraconis.com.
More information and transcript you can find as usually under johannadraconis.com/podcast/, information regarding therapy you can find under johannadraconis.com/therapy/ and links are in the description.
I hope to see you next time. Watch yourselves and have a wonderful time.

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The Deconstruction Of C-PTSD ~ Episode 111 - Finding yourself at the bottom again (Shame update)
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