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Other C-PTSD and Seasonal Affective Disorder

mercutio_

New Here
Hi all,

I've just joined this forum. I've been told by a few counsellors that I most likely have C-PTSD, as a result of an abusive relationship (emotional abuse, threats on my life, rape) when I was 18-19. I experienced extreme dissociation, GAD, depression, anxiety, and panic over the years, and from my mid-20s I had CBT and talk therapy, which helped me a lot (although it wasn't trauma-focused therapy) - with the lessening of the more extreme symptoms, I thought the trauma was resolved.

I've had SAD all my life, I was diagnosed when I was 5. In my 20s I lived in Spain, and I moved back to ireland/UK at 30. At this point the winters became absolutely unbearable - starting in October, every year I experience extreme fatigue, but also extreme, acute distress, panic, crying all day every day, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts. It feels like I'm in hell. This lasts all winter, worsening in January, before easing off in March. This has been the cycle for the past 3 years, and I assumed that it was just a very acute case of SAD. I have had no support from doctors - when I tell them about my symptoms they generally have said "hmm, that's more extreme than people with SAD typically experience. Have you tried using a SAD lamp?" (I use a SAD lamp every day through the winter, without much help). One doctor put me on SSRIs (sertraline), which was disastrous for me, I was exhausted, emotionally flattened out, and I gained a lot of weight. I came off them two years ago.

I have started to understand that what I experience every winter is probably at least in part an interaction between the SAD and the C-PTSD. I am looking into possible treatments for the unprocessed physical trauma, such as EMDR. I'd also consider looking into treatments like ibogaine, if those treatments don't help.

Does anyone else have experience of these two conditions co-existing, and if so, what has helped for you? Or in general, treatments that have helped for symptoms of C-PTSD? I can't continue to live like this, it has taken so much of my life from me and I'm at complete breaking point. Really grateful for any input.
 
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I've had SAD all my life, I was diagnosed when I was 5.
I've been told by a few counsellors that I most likely have C-PTSD, as a result of an abusive relationship (emotional abuse, threats on my life, rape) when I was 18-19.
So, what you'll need to do is get a clearer understanding of whether you are dealing with PTSD from a single incident plus a lot of trauma from other incidents - or whether this is CPTSD - or whether you have a lot of trauma in your background exacerbating a mood disorder, that is worsening the longer it goes untreated. Finally, what you're describing could be understood as a diagnosis on the bipolar spectrum.

Any one of those things is a problem that it's worthwhile engaging with, and working towards solving so that you can life your life more fully with less struggle.

The diagnosis of SAD when you were 5 may or may not be something that carries forward into your adult life; but if you find that traditional therapies haven't put a dent in it, it's likely that it's gone beyond SAD. Some types of depression can have long slow regular cycles, as can some types of bipolar.
Or in general, treatments that have helped for symptoms of C-PTSD? I can't continue to live like this, it has taken so much of my life from me and I'm at complete breaking point. Really grateful for any input.
First stop - get evaluated by clinicians who are qualified to assess you properly - both for your physical health and your mental health. Unpacking what is going on will lead you to your best options.

The good news about trauma therapies is that they are effective for resolving trauma's lasting effects regardless of whether one has PTSD, CPTSD, or not. Looking into EMDR or one of the trauma-focused cognitive therapies that are now out there. They typically have "TF" abbreviated in their names: TF-CBT (trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy), TF-ACT (trauma-focused acceptance and commitment therapy), TF-DBT (trauma -focused dialectical behavioral therapy)...and a number of others.

Depending on what country you're in, the process will differ for getting a reliable mental health assessment, and for seeking treatment

Are you still in Ireland/the UK?
 
Hi all,

I've just joined this forum. I've been told by a few counsellors that I most likely have C-PTSD, as a result of an abusive relationship (emotional abuse, threats on my life, rape) when I was 18-19. I experienced extreme dissociation, GAD, depression, anxiety, and panic over the years, and from my mid-20s I had CBT and talk therapy, which helped me a lot (although it wasn't trauma-focused therapy) - with the lessening of the more extreme symptoms, I thought the trauma was resolved.

I've had SAD all my life, I was diagnosed when I was 5. In my 20s I lived in Spain, and I moved back to ireland/UK at 30. At this point the winters became absolutely unbearable - starting in October, every year I experience extreme fatigue, but also extreme, acute distress, panic, crying all day every day, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts. It feels like I'm in hell. This lasts all winter, worsening in January, before easing off in March. This has been the cycle for the past 3 years, and I assumed that it was just a very acute case of SAD. I have had no support from doctors - when I tell them about my symptoms they generally have said "hmm, that's more extreme than people with SAD typically experience. Have you tried using a SAD lamp?" (I use a SAD lamp every day through the winter, without much help). One doctor put me on SSRIs (sertraline), which was disastrous for me, I was exhausted, emotionally flattened out, and I gained a lot of weight. I came off them two years ago.

I have started to understand that what I experience every winter is probably at least in part an interaction between the SAD and the C-PTSD. I am looking into possible treatments for the unprocessed physical trauma, such as EMDR. I'd also consider looking into treatments like ibogaine, if those treatments don't help.

Does anyone else have experience of these two conditions co-existing, and if so, what has helped for you? Or in general, treatments that have helped for symptoms of C-PTSD? I can't continue to live like this, it has taken so much of my life from me and I'm at complete breaking point. Really grateful for any input.
I found that body scan in combination with diaphragmatic breathing works pretty well in a lying position. Stretching and walking in the morning enhances these exercises since hypertension can be an issue when you first wake up if you're distressed. Find a body scan instruction that you like and do it lying down with your hands clasped above head like a hanger shaped halo.
 
Hi all,

I've just joined this forum. I've been told by a few counsellors that I most likely have C-PTSD, as a result of an abusive relationship (emotional abuse, threats on my life, rape) when I was 18-19. I experienced extreme dissociation, GAD, depression, anxiety, and panic over the years, and from my mid-20s I had CBT and talk therapy, which helped me a lot (although it wasn't trauma-focused therapy) - with the lessening of the more extreme symptoms, I thought the trauma was resolved.

I've had SAD all my life, I was diagnosed when I was 5. In my 20s I lived in Spain, and I moved back to ireland/UK at 30. At this point the winters became absolutely unbearable - starting in October, every year I experience extreme fatigue, but also extreme, acute distress, panic, crying all day every day, low self-esteem, suicidal thoughts. It feels like I'm in hell. This lasts all winter, worsening in January, before easing off in March. This has been the cycle for the past 3 years, and I assumed that it was just a very acute case of SAD. I have had no support from doctors - when I tell them about my symptoms they generally have said "hmm, that's more extreme than people with SAD typically experience. Have you tried using a SAD lamp?" (I use a SAD lamp every day through the winter, without much help). One doctor put me on SSRIs (sertraline), which was disastrous for me, I was exhausted, emotionally flattened out, and I gained a lot of weight. I came off them two years ago.

I have started to understand that what I experience every winter is probably at least in part an interaction between the SAD and the C-PTSD. I am looking into possible treatments for the unprocessed physical trauma, such as EMDR. I'd also consider looking into treatments like ibogaine, if those treatments don't help.

Does anyone else have experience of these two conditions co-existing, and if so, what has helped for you? Or in general, treatments that have helped for symptoms of C-PTSD? I can't continue to live like this, it has taken so much of my life from me and I'm at complete breaking point. Really grateful for any input.
There are 'blue lights' (small, portable lights that shine blue light) that are available online. That helps my SAD. I have C-PTSD also but am getting treatment for that that seems to be working. SAD is a tough nut to crack.
 
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