Sufferer Feeling alone & that my trauma isn’t valid

I think I just need a place to feel valid. This will probably be a mess of thoughts. I really only have my therapist to talk to about my complex trauma because at this point I feel like I’m bothering others with my trauma.

Complex trauma is what my therapist calls it. I just moved here so I started seeing someone new because I really want to try emdr. I didn’t realize this counted as complex trauma. After reading more about it online I feel like my trauma is so trivial compared to other people. I feel like when I tell people I’ve had a hard year it just gets pushed aside like “everyone has had a hard 2020” Yeah you’re right. I’ll just keep it inside.

I always just called it my series of unfortunate events. In September of 2019 I felt like I was just winning at life. I helped open an amazing restaurant. I was making an obscene amount of money which helped me pay for school. I was in a seemingly perfect relationship with someone that I thought I’d be with forever. I had just gotten a puppy 2 months before and she was the most perfect little girl. She was able to perform tricks so quickly. She even knew how to roll over.

Then everything just started going terribly in July of 2020. Due to COVID the restaurant I helped make into something amazing told us on a Thursday that on Saturday they would be closing for good. That was a painful moment to go from having full time secure employment to being afraid and jobless. A few weeks later in the beginning of August I was dumped. It felt like it was out of nowhere. It really wasn’t though. I had a history of crippling anxiety and depression I wasn’t working on. That spilled over into our relationship. I should have been seeking treatment for past mentally/emotionally abusive relationships. I was forced to find my own space with my little pup J. At this point my family of 5, my ex and I and the 3 animals we shared, went to a little family of 2.

A few weeks later I was walking J at night before we were going to sleep and as I was walking upstairs someone attacked me from behind. I had no idea what was happening. I just new I had to protect my little 8 lb girl in my arms. This person continued to attack me and J was so afraid and I couldn’t hold her she ran off. Two men heard the attack and grabbed the woman off of me. She ran off. My glasses were broken and I was so disoriented, but I had to find my girl. Thankfully I found her scared in a nearby bush. I just held her and waited for the police. I didn’t have health insurance and didn’t want to go to the hospital. The paramedics and police persuaded me because my left eye was swollen shut and they thought something was broken. I begged for J to come with me and they allowed her. Thankfully nothing was broken, but I never found out why or who this person was that attacked me. My apartment cameras were fake and I didn’t see the person.

In October 2020 I was still having contact with my ex. I’ll call her C. C and I raised J together though she was technically mine. I still allowed C to have “shared custody” I thought it would be good for both of them. C decided at this point to confess she had been emotionally cheating on me and slept with the person after we broke up. I really couldn’t handle anymore bad things being told to me or happening to me. I cut off contact. My family told me I should put J in doggy daycare so I wouldn’t have to rely on C. I told them it wasn’t just C watching J. It was the familiarity for them.

December came and I graduated with my bachelors. I had this comforting feeling that everything was better. I graduated, I had my sweet little girl J, I was in therapy and my meds were working. I felt hopeful for the future.

Then January 8th 2021 happened. After a lot of thought I decided to take J to doggy daycare. I had to work 8 hours a day 5 days a week and felt terrible she was at home alone. I dropped her off for a 2 hour trial period to see how she would do. At 9 AM I drove back home after dropping her off. I was staring down the clock anxiously waiting for her to come back. I was excited to ask her if she made friends, see how hyped up she was and just have her back with me.

Because of COVID no one could go inside. I called and let them know I was there. I was standing by the door waiting forever. It had been about 20 minutes of me standing and staring inside waiting for her. Looking back now I hate myself so much for going inside my car. If I was standing by the door I could have stopped what was going to happen. I sat inside my car. I was expecting someone to carry J to me because she was so small. I carried her to the person when I dropped her off. I was on my phone just mindlessly scrolling when all of a sudden I heard screaming and a commotion. I open my drivers side door to horror. J ran by me with no collar no leash. Nothing. Immediately I start to panic. I jump out and run for her screaming her name. She always would come back to me when I said her name. I was running and screaming and suddenly she turned the corner. I prayed and prayed please dear god please let there be a gate on the other side. Please.

There was no gate. There was a four lane busy road. She made it through 2 lanes and was hit in the third. I saw her little body get hit and lay there. A daycare worker ran by me and grabbed her. I thought surely she was ok. He ran back to the entrance and I ran back screaming is she ok? Is she ok? When I got back to the entrance the man was surrounded by others and he was in the fetal position holding her. I kept asking is she ok? Freaking out and crying. Her little body was perfect on one side and so terrible on the other. Thank god she died immediately. I don’t know how I would have coped if she had to die in agony.

The employee held her and I don’t remember much from that moment till the owner coming. I remember calling my family, C, work etc. Crying. Screaming. The owner of the daycare took J from him and kept telling me to calm down. CALM DOWN? YOU TOOK EVERYTHING FROM ME. YOU TOOK MY BABY. YOU TOOK THE LAST BIT OF JOY FROM ME. She kept demanding I hold her. Demanding I say goodbye. She said she deserved a goodbye and to be held by her mom. Am I wrong I didn’t want to hold her? I wasn’t prepared for this? I wasn’t prepared to decide if I wanted her remains or if they should be scattered with other dogs. I held her for a moment and told her I was sorry. I told J I was so sorry I took her there. I told J I was so sorry for not getting along with C. I told J I loved her.

I cannot go a day without thinking about her death. I cannot talk to anyone about her without crying. Why did this have to happen after everything? I can’t even heal from anything without something else happening. I told my current therapist at this time in my life I just get ready for the bad to happen. I don’t want to let my guard down again like I did in December. Thinking everything was going better and life was on an upswing.

I can’t talk to C about this anymore. I feel like I’m a bother to her. Because of this shared trauma we became friends. I still talk to her daily, but I just feel like I’m annoying her at this point. I can’t even talk about J with people because this is more than just losing a beloved pet. If I say I lost my dog in January I get responses like “I lost my baby a few years ago when they were 15 and I haven’t been the same.” And I am not trivializing anyone’s loss, but J was a baby. She was 1.5 years and had so much time with me left. I usually just empathize with them and just keep my pain to myself.

Im not sure what I want from this post. To know that I am valid? Thank you to anyone who read this.
 

Friday

Moderator
Im not sure what I want from this post. To know that I am valid?
TLDR : See Bottom in bold. 😁

1) In PTSD-Land things like job loss, the end of relationships (including normal/expected deaths), injuries/illness, etc. are known as Stressors or Stresses. <<< This is super important for MANY different disorders and conditions, and has varying different BIG effects on those disorders. PTSD has 2 different “kinds” of Stressors; those that would be considered Stressors to anyone, regardless of what kind of disorder they have, and those that are Trauma-Specific. I’ll talk more about the second kind in a minute, but the first kind? The effect stress has on PTSD you can read about here >>> The ptsd cup explanation

1.5) Loss of Coping Mechanisms is often something that compounds Stress & Stressors, as without those coping mechanisms, symptoms very quickly get out of control, as the stress cup fills. (Coping mechanisms include things like a routine that bleeds stress from your life and provides stability, a pet or service animal that helps manage symptoms in a wide variety of ways, a support network made up of trusted people in a variety of roles; lovers, friends, family, colleagues, therapists, etc. )

2) Triggers & Stressors are those things directly/indirectly related to your trauma. Someone curled up in a ball on the floor following violence, for example, might be a trigger/stressor from your abusive relationships. Or the smell of blood, or the feeling of your throat as you screamed in terror. So no matter how normal or how bad something is, in itself? When someone with PTSD is dealing with a trigger/stressor it LINKS with the past trauma. Whether your dog has just been hit by a car and someone is curled up with blood on them, or someone has a totally harmless nosebleed during yoga the LIFE-OR-DEATH!!! full on adrenaline response marries to the moment. A waaaaaay better explanation of what Trauma related Triggers & Stressors are -and how they differ from each other- can be read here >>> Stressor vs. Trigger - What Is A Trigger?

3) Trauma, capital T-Trauma, also known as Criterion A Trauma… is a very specific definition purely related to PTSD, and what can CAUSE it.
- Trauma by medical definition can be anything from a skinned knee to being burned alive.
- Colloquial use of the word trauma/traumatic, meanwhile is even broader, and includes things like stubbing your toe or someone rolling their eyes.
- PTSD CritA Trauma = (DSM) “Exposure to actual or threatened death, serious injury, or sexual violence”

SO! You’re looking for valid? Let’s add those 3 things together

Trauma
- You have a history of abuse / domestic violence
- On top of already having a trauma history you’ve added NEW trauma via a recent Assault

Stress / Stressors / Loss of Coping Mechanisms
- You lost your job
- You lost your income
- Your relationship ended
- Your routines / stability / support networks have all been severely compromised
- You were assaulted & injured
- Your dog was killed

Triggers & Stressors
- I can’t even begin to quantify how many you’ve been dealing with, in addition to everything else going on. Maybe a few, maybe day in and day out, maybe even none… but that’s doubtful.

So you have new trauma, increased stress, & loss of coping mechanisms. Up to your eyeballs. Yeah, hon. That’s not just “valid”. That’s a perfect storm. And that’s before adding in the effects of any triggers and stressors that you’ve also been dealing with.
 
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