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Sufferer Hi, I'm Kayla - New Grad, dx’d 5 years ago from sex trafficking & childhood trauma. Survival mode?

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Hi all,

I just graduated from college a few months ago and I have been diagnosed with PTSD I think for 5 years now. I will choose to disclose more information about my trauma in a separate thread at some point. I don't know how y'all felt about it but when I first got my diagnosis I was relieved because my therapist at the time was in sheer denial that I had PTSD and I was both relieved and terrified. Relieved that I could now use my diagnosis to find and receive help but terrified because it felt like such a permanent title to give it. Since then, most of it has gotten better. My PTSD for both sex trafficking and childhood trauma.

Treating the sex trafficking trauma was overwhelming for a few years but honestly these days the dynamic with that part of my life feels different and doesn't inflict me with as many symptoms outside of the time of year it primarily happened and random night terrors, although I do have problems with trust and with upholding boundaries as a lasting result for now. These efforts with overcoming that trauma were definitely helped by luckily stumbling upon his sex offender registration page when I was trying to remember details about him. I felt relieved to know that someone else was able to stop him and that he had been tried (though it was short) but more importantly that the information is publicly disclosed now so it can prevent others from falling into it.

For the childhood trauma though, that one actually indirectly/directly affected the sex trafficking trauma which makes it feel more complex in tackling as I find it easy to go in circles in therapy. I've been in therapy for 11 years and only for the past 3 have I made substantial progress in using EMDR rather than just CBT. Even with this though, still sometimes circular progress. There was a huge trigger last spring for the childhood trauma and ever since then not only nightmares plagued me but just in general lacking cognitive function. I'm really proud I still graduated from University despite these difficulties though, but I wish it was easier for myself to not feel insecure about my intelligence since flashbacks and lack of sleep and other things made it really difficult to pass some classes and much of it has been forgotten. My memory of my sex trafficking trauma was originally blocked out mostly but I have some of that back, though I still don't really remember the first year and a half I spent in college and my last semester getting my high school diploma aside from big events and overall feelings immediately following that as my brain was on survival mode. I was able to do way more than I should have because I kinda shut down my feelings and was always thinking. I've spoken in general terms about my problems to a couple of trusted people in my life and they ask me how I got through it and honestly I still don't know what to tell them.

Did any of you go through this "survival mode"? If so, did it last a similar amount of time for you (2 years)?
Did I go into survival mode? 100% yes, I stayed in it for years, I think it's so normal a reaction. It's like the last thing you want to do is think aboyt these awful things so you just carry on as if nothing happened.

Well done on getting your degree and welcome to the forum :)
If there is one thing about the law enforcement and the law I can agree with and respect, it's putting sick freaking scum like that behind bars! I'm sure he's receiving the same torture you endured....inmates don't take kindly to so called humans like that. Neither does God! I just need to say that someday God will wipe away your tears and erase all pain forever. It's really sad and a shame when we have a tougher time enduring this life due to the actions of others.

I feel like I've been in survival mode for many years. Went thru a lonely and physically abusive marriage for 13 years and then some...scar on left eye to prove. I just know I have to live day by day, can't change the past or predict the future. A saying a like, "be where your feet are".

Congrats on your achievements! Proud of you!!
I've spent most of my life in survival mode. It happened because my body and mind were finding ways to cope with dangerous and neglectful parents, so in a way I have to thank my little self for doing his best to protect me. It has been terribly disruptive to my relationships and ability to function in society but there are ways to rework our responses. It's important remember that we find ways to protect ourselves that work in the moment but might be maladaptive for every day life. It is amazing that you are working through these things and still accomplishing life goals though! That's definitely something to be proud of. Getting out of survival mode is not linear, but it sounds like you are headed in the right direction.
hello serendipty. welcome to the forum. sorry for what brings you here, but glad you are here.

the child sex trafficking freak show i was born into went coast to north american coast during the 60's and early 70's. when i had my first formal therapy in 1972, combat ptsd was still being called shell shock and there were no names for child sex trafficking and it's many cousins. it wasn't fit for prime time, so it didn't exist. winky wink. . .

fast forward half a century and i am still often in survival mode. the good news is that i have gained some psychotherapuetically acquired insights on how to turn many of the psycho ticks attached to my advantage and ways to manage the less productive symptoms. hope springs eternal.

steadying support while you find your own way through. congratulations on finishing your degree. may your fortitude help you go from survivor to thriver.
I still don't really remember the first year and a half I spent in college and my last semester getting my high school diploma aside from big events and overall feelings immediately following that
You just wrote my book, except I was unable to stay in College. I was too entangled with drugs and alcohol, medicating the emotional pain of my childhhod trauma, and my brain just couldn't keep up with the pace of college. I quit almost as quickly as I started. And yes, I have no idea how I graduated high school. It was one big blob of a vague memory instead of any real memory or detail. I didn't retain a bit of the knowledge I gained. I think some teachers gave me pitty and passed me just so I could graduate. I am SO happy (weird word) that you're getting real, intensive therapy now while you are young, even though it SUCKS. So many of us block it all out and live insurvival mode (unknowingly, even) until our 40's, 50's etc. when the survival dam breaks and all the jagged memories and emotions come crashing in. Keep working through it now so you can have a full, recovered life ahead.

You have found the right place for understanding and support.
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