Better Understanding Complex PTSD

Essays - Understanding Complex PTSD

Understanding Complex PTSD

The following essays and poems, memes and posts try to capture what it is like to have Complex PTSD (cptsd). The topics range from having a flashback, to dealing with triggers, to avoidance, to strategies to … well, you name it. Understanding complex PTSD can be tough, whether you are in the midst of it or whether you are supporting someone who is. I hope these essays and captured thoughts can help illuminate the dark.

Included in the list of items below are a variety of materials (kinda the kitchen sink approach.) – If you’ve come here looking specifically for the poetry, the essays or the memes – these links should help. If you would like to see external resources – try this page

New Area:

Complex PTSD Survivor Voices

Complex PTSD Survivor Voices vacant black and gray chair in room
Photo by OVAN on

A safe place for Complex PTSD survivors to write about their experiences. Our stories are as different as our journeys.
The first essay – Fierce Independence by Anonymous
Fierce independence and self-reliance are survival skills. We don’t see the rage or pain behind it, we don’t hear the primal screams of an abandoned child.
Continue reading…

Scientific research on cptsd

Exploring Complex PTSD and Psychosis

Interesting stuff coming out of the UK about Complex PTSD. The North West United Kingdom mental health services conducted a unique study looking into the relationship of trauma, particularly complex trauma, with psychosis. In short, they had 144 people who suffer from psychosis answer questions. The questions were designed to help assess the trauma the … Continue reading Exploring Complex PTSD and Psychosis

My Brother


My brotherA nameI simply movedFromOne columnTo another.

When you grow up in a minefield, it seems normal.

An Analogy: the Wetsuit

People often find it difficult to explain, or to understand Complex PTSD. I often find myself falling into metaphor or analogy to explain the experience. The reason for using an abstraction is because in Complex PTSD the particulars from one person to another vary – greatly. I have found that trying to paint a detailed … Continue reading An Analogy: the Wetsuit

Scientific research on cptsd

New class of antidepressants?

Source C&E News February 7, 2022 How do you know if a mouse is hallucinating? Apparently mice on LSD and psilocybin twich their heads. Fascinating. But then, if I was a mouse and my world had gone all psychotropic I suspect there would be some head twitching, too. So what do tripping mice have to … Continue reading New class of antidepressants?

Poetry Counterpoint Complex PTSD


Between the ideaAnd the realityBetween the motionAnd the actFalls the shadow ~TS Eliot (The Hollow Men) That space betweenA pointOf precarious balanceWhere we existBoth alive and not. ~ M.Stewart (on complex-ptsd)

white clouds and blue sky

By Jove – I think I finally get it.

This post is probably going to sound a lot like bragging – but I promise there is a point at the end… I am challenging myself to do ‘one big thing a day’. Why? Because I stand in amazement at what an ordinary human can accomplish in a morning. For decades I have watched friends … Continue reading By Jove – I think I finally get it.

Siblings and Complex PTSD


I cannot describe how deep the wound goes. When I lost mybrother – he was only seven andI was only three. After that we shared the same house. We fought and shunned one another. Neither one awareof the poisonthat forced us apart.

A new post up at the CPTSD Foundation

Ah yes, the Holidays. Here is my Thanksgiving wish for you, and me. This will be the first official ‘holiday’ at my mother’s house in 5+ years. The feeling is kinda “I wonder how it’ll go” v. “OMG – What have I done?”I’ll be keeping all of you in my thoughts. Hang in there.

Complex PTSD Survivor Voices vacant black and gray chair in room

Fierce Independence

A part of the Complex PTSD Survivor Voices Series. This strives to be a safe place for Complex PTSD survivors to write about their experiences. Our stories are as different as our journeys. What is Complex-PTSD by Anonymous Fierce independence and self-reliance are survival skills. We don’t see the rage or pain behind it, we … Continue reading Fierce Independence

Gabby Petito

Gabby Petito – Another Lost

The video of the stop in Moab Utah. Fair warning – It is hard to watch. I heard the news this morning about Gabby Petito as I checked my feeds. The confirmation of my worst fears was there, displayed on the screen. I heard there was a video of the interaction with law enforcement in … Continue reading Gabby Petito – Another Lost

Nailed in the past… a paradox

This is one of those things that when I think about my Complex-PTSD should have been obvious. How I missed it for so long really confounds me. I often talk about the paradoxes that arise in C-PTSD. Here I have stumbled into another one. It goes something like this. Huh. I just realized how weird … Continue reading Nailed in the past… a paradox

Poetry Battle: Bliss

The prompt and the week that it is attached to sometimes are not in sync. This is the situation reflected in this entry to the poetry battle. The prompt was : Bliss.

Healing the Invisible

After a few tries you wonder if the voices of the CPTSD are right. You fear you never will be ‘visible’.,, But, there is a tiny voice within undulled by all the abuses and fear that whispers – “Try.”

a grayscale photo of medication pills

Falling off the edge

Meanwhile, the Dr., the Pharmacy, the Insurance company are all looking at one another and telling me that I am not their problem. 

Meanwhile – I’m running out of my medication. 

100-word Essay: Off The Rails

If you want to know more about this cycle within Complex-PTSD take a gander at this post.

A new post up at the CPTSD Foundation

light blue one use medical protective masks

Unpacking: COVID and ‘brain disease’

IF anything, this study has demonstrated that mental health is interwoven with physical health. The first order is to preserve life, but we must not abandon the fundamental human need to live.

Complex PTSD - balance

What is Complex-PTSD (CPTSD)

Definition of CPTSD Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a psychological disorder that can develop in response to prolonged, repeated experience of trauma in a context where the individual has little or no chance of escape. Honestly, I can’t remember if these are my words or not. Please tell me if they are yours. That … Continue reading What is Complex-PTSD (CPTSD)

Thinking Too Loud - writing to recovery from Complex PTSD ( cptsd )

Question of interest for book on CPTSD

A question to readers about Complex PTSD.

selective focus photography of assorted color stars

A little victory over CPTSD

I didn’t have a migraine last night.Read that sentence again because I’m going to explain WHY? that is a big deal. Ready? One of the symptoms of my Complex PTSD, since I was 12 perhaps, has been debilitating blinding headaches. I could expect expect 3-4 nights out of the year that I would spend sleeping … Continue reading A little victory over CPTSD

Very Short Story : Dangerous

I will never be alone. I forevercarry my mother’s voice with me.In my head the word ‘danger’echoes, inescapable.Stairs, danger. Eating, danger.Ice, danger. People, danger.That word, her fear isher legacy to me. Feb. 2, 2021 Note: The VSS series is an outgrowth of writing prompts for Twitter. The goal is to produce a Tweet that fits within … Continue reading Very Short Story : Dangerous

New T-Shirt (aka. I did a thing)

Ok. I did something extravagant last year. I made myself a T-shirt. This is it. I was planning to wear it on a family trip – but that went bust. Maybe next year? I’m so excited every time I wear it. It starts conversations on #cptsd – and that is exactly what it is designed to do. … Continue reading New T-Shirt (aka. I did a thing)

The Thinking Read

Off the rails : CPTSD Cycle

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a bitch. I was trying for something more academic sounding, but let’s face it, I’m not on that plane today. Nope, today is one of those days where I’m just trying to figure out where I put my sh*t. Or, more accurately, where I lost it. I know when. … Continue reading Off the rails : CPTSD Cycle

Zen Stones and a candle.

For my brother

Duane Robert Stewart October 16, 1964 – January 18, 2021 My brother died today and I wept for him, for us. For all the warm words we never exchanged, For all the jealousy we held for each other, For all the times pain was our only contact, For the words of hurt, For the thefts, … Continue reading For my brother

An Installment of Haiku

I have been participating in the Poetry Battle Friday over on Twitter sponsored by JD Greyson (@JDGreysonwrites). I’ll admit, I always say I’m not a poet at heart, but I’m really enjoying this weekly exercise. So – I’m going to pass along some of the results. I hope you enjoy. You can find the new … Continue reading An Installment of Haiku

Touching base

Well, January 2021 certainly led off with a bang. I still see things on the horizon of concern. I’m trying very hard NOT to focus on those. Instead, I am head-down in editing my second novel while waiting somewhat patiently for my first novel to have a pre-order date. I’m also trying to remind myself … Continue reading Touching base

In the can

CPTSD is a strange thing to grow up with. Even stranger to live with it. For Example: My latest InstagramPost- There it is the manuscript for Book 4 in the Unhomed series. Still debating titles. I do like to stick with one word – but this particular word is proving elusive.Despite that this manuscript will … Continue reading In the can

Thanksgiving rewritten and CPTSD

As many of my readers will know, Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday. Putting my family together with the expectations of a celebration to rival the covers of the Saturday Evening Post never worked out well. It was more like a production of The Crucible. For many years, and I know I’m not alone in … Continue reading Thanksgiving rewritten and CPTSD

Poem Autumn

Two paths diverged in a yellow wood

I love the poem The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost which contains the line used for the title. The simple idea that we all face choices that define our lives. Those choices can be momentous or tiny. They can be so small that at the time we didn’t notice that we had made a … Continue reading Two paths diverged in a yellow wood


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