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 something that I glossed over, because I didn’t realize how nebulous of a definition it is to the unfamiliar. I am talking about how it comes that trauma take what shape.
It seems rather obvious in retrospect, but it is crucial to understand what kind of trauma category you have and for some if you have PTSD at all. So let us talk about it.
Of course the shape we are talking about is a metaphor to help you visualize that hidden illness - similar to a drawing of something. I find that often people have trouble finding words and explaining what is wrong with them when they have PTSD.
Nothing seems accurate and most don’t even think for a moment they have PTSD, because the typical or known things are usually significantly different from what they have. For example what is a trauma. Another nebulous term.
Which I tried to explain better in the third episode of this podcast, but I realized by now, that this might have all been a bit much and too overwhelming for people to be certain. So this time I keep it very simple.
This is mainly so you can identify if what you experienced counts towards trauma and/or for what shape and therefor category it belongs to. Short reminder of course, that this is always in general terms and very broad.
This is meant as a tool of orientation. As each trauma is very individual. So it is important to be honest with ourselves. Maybe write things down. First we talk about the shape it takes, then a small insert about PTS and then how it keeps growing afterwards
What shape does the trauma take? (as long as the trauma lasts)
First thing you need to understand about trauma is, that the trauma only ends if the whole ordeal is over. If we stay with the famous car accident example, then the trauma only ends as soon as you are safe. If you are stuck in the car, it is still the same trauma.
So you could call a trauma a very extreme stress situation. And this stress situation is something our brain can’t overcome as anything before and therefor we get PTSD. That is why there is such a huge shape difference between the suit and the ball trauma.
The suit trauma consists of many, many small things happening over long period of time. But those don’t go deep, therefor this trauma is very thin. Constant belittling and insulting is the perfect example of a suit trauma.
If you have multiple things happening, like the insults AND regularly beating, then those are 2 different traumas. Each way of abuse or event or whatever has its own category. Something I plan to get into more detail in another time.
For now it is important to remember that a trauma lasts until the situation is over - there can be no recovery as long an issue is still ongoing. If the things isn’t regularly or semi regularly at least, then it becomes different traumas. For example occasional beatings.
The more painful and/or extreme the experience, the deeper the cut into your soul goes and therefor the wider your trauma gets. The car example is short and extreme - almost the perfect ball example.
The more strong elements affect the situation - the more likely it is going to be a ring trauma. If it lasts over a long time then it will be most likely a cluster trauma. That was a short overview, but as usual, if you have questions, please ask.
Small insert of PTS - how it is so significantly different
Which leads to our short insert about PTS, the post torture syndrome, and its significantly different nature. As mentioned before the more severe a experience is, the deeper it cuts into your soul and the wider your trauma is.
Now torture takes this to a whole new level. While the damage to your soul is not the goal of the abuse you suffer, it is either a nice side effect or irrelevant or the like to the abuser. With torture that is the aim and the main goal.
While during abuse the goal is to hurt you and risk you taken psychological damage it is the exact other way around for torture. It is to maximize the damage on the soul to break the person or leave them as much crippled as possible.
Which is why I keep it separate and why PTS is a whole league on its own.
How it keeps growing after it happen
With that out of the way that leaves us to the final point: The growth that happens afterwards. It is similar to a regular wound - if you ignore it and don’t treat it, it will most likely get more and more worse.
With each time it getting triggered, activated, relived in a similar situation and so on -the pile gets bigger and the trauma grows. And there is no limit how far it will grow and it might even turn into a higher category.
It additionally keeps blocking more and more of who you are. Also often having PTSD - even hidden - leads to unwise decisions that make a new trauma more likely. It is an absolute viscous circle that keeps escalating hard.
That is why it is so important to treat the trauma as soon as you can and not only after PTSD brought you to the brink of your existence. Which I know is hard and the fewest will do - which included me in the past.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.