My purpose in starting “Thriving with CPTSD” and what I hope will come from it

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Photo by Ravi Roshan on Unsplash

*Disclaimer: I am not a therapist or a mental health expert. I am a survivor of child abuse who has studied CPTSD and its effects in order to understand what was going on with my own brain and how to heal from it. Whenever possible, I will link back to experts and studies so you can draw your own conclusions.

My Medium journey began as a personal journal. As a writer, I often turned to journaling to express my feelings, document events, and try to process difficult moments in my life. Often, in trying to make sense of what was…


Embarking on a Ketamine journey to end my depression and anxiety

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Myriam Zilles via Pixabay

If you’ve read any of my other articles, you’ll notice that most of them chronicle parts of my nearly 3-year journey through the hell of major depression. There’s a reason for that — it had completely taken over my life. I’ve battled depression off and on all my life. But a cosmically orchestrated squall of life changes hit me at a vulnerable time and pushed me to a place I wasn’t able to escape.

At first, I tried to heal on my own, pushing myself to stay social and…


Are you experiencing the long-term effects of chronic trauma?

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Photo by Brian Lundquist on Unsplash

I first heard about Complex-Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or CPTSD almost two years ago and was startled at how much sense it made in explaining my lifelong symptoms and struggles. It took another six months of research to discover how it was the core of so many of my issues.

CPTSD or complex post-traumatic stress disorder is similar to PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) but with additional symptoms. Dr. Judith Herman, a pioneer in trauma research, first suggested CPTSD as a separate diagnosis. …


Sharing self-help memes can say a lot about your perspective and understanding of mental health

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How about, “I have empathy for people in trauma recovery because it’s exhausting and terrifying, especially when it’s all you’ve ever known. And it takes deep work to strip that away and discover who you are.”

When this popped up on an acquaintance’s Facebook page, at first I rolled my eyes. Were they saying, “Just quit being a victim?” I scrolled past, but the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I got. An average person might take this meme as a generalized statement about taking control of your mental health. About not building your identity around your suffering. What’s the big deal?

The person who posted this meme is a generally caring, supportive person who has a pretty good knowledge of abuse and trauma. I don’t think she actually meant to shame anyone. Maybe…


Why you can’t beat yourself up for not healing in a straight line.

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Photo by Elton Yung on Unsplash

My anxiety has been through the roof for five days now, and I’m afraid. I panic any time I feel the familiar pull of depression or anxiety, wondering if this is the beginning of my backslide into the abyss. I have to remind myself that it’s no longer the same slippery slope, and I’m going to be ok.

But I’m also angry. I have worked so hard to understand and learn how to make friends with my anxiety. Yet all the tools I’ve tried this week only offer temporary relief. Talking, journaling, meditating, exercise, breathing; they all work, but only…


Concluding my Ketamine therapy for depression and anxiety

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Photo by Ritam Baishya on Unsplash

The depression relief from my first Ketamine infusion lasted about 4 days. The second lasted about a week. I had hope knowing it was working, but I was worried the relief wasn’t lasting longer. Research shows that repeated ketamine infusions have cumulative and sustained antidepressant effects, which my doctor had noted in his own patients. This reassured me enough to keep trying.

Developing a routine for the infusion helped me make the most of each one. I preselected music beforehand. Sometimes gentle meditation music, sometimes binaural beats. …


My second Ketamine infusion overwhelms me

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Photo via <a href=”https://www.goodfreephotos.com/">Good Free Photos</a>

My initial infusion of Ketamine almost instantly relieved my latest episode of severe depression, which had lasted nearly three years. Unfortunately, that relief only lasted about four days. By day five, I was in free-fall, and by day seven, I knew I would soon be on the brink of becoming suicidal again.

I called the clinic to explain what was happening. They couldn’t move my appointment up due to the holidays. But they had another option. There was an opening in a group therapy infusion the following evening.

For this private, introverted, anxiety-ridden person…


If your child is chronically bored, could meditation help?

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Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

The phrase “I’m bored” is a common refrain for parents to hear. It's frustrating and easily dismissed. Most parents have a snappy comeback such as, “Then find something to do.” or “I can give you a chore!”. Then there’s the Dad joke response of, “Hi bored, I’m Dad!”

These reflect the irritation we understandably feel in stopping our busy day to find them entertainment. But it also dismisses the real issue at hand. Your child isn’t really bored; they aren’t engaged.

Kids today have an insane amount of options to fill…


An ode to snowshoeing

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“Silver Lake”, by Shannon N

White Vacuum

Crisp, clean air fills my lungs,
fogging my view as I exhale.
The sun glints off every frozen flake
hanging from needles
and hugging drifts.

The crunch of snow beneath my feet,
repetitious and steady.
My jagged breath is all I hear,
keeping in time with the pace of my shoes.

My head down,
I watch the trail.
A glimpse of the tracks of fellow travelers.

Looking up, I am struck by beauty. But this is not what I’ve come here for. Not the picturesque scenes of fallen logs covered in a fairyland frosting…


Tackling my C-PTSD to move past survival and start living

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Photo by Mitch Lensink on Unsplash

All my life, I have been surviving. My abusive childhood conditioned me to see the intricacies of living as a game of Mastermind—mental gymnastics of tactics and strategy. Just staying alive is the goal, only to keep fighting in this battle with no end.

I was diagnosed with Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) several years ago, which made me simultaneously relieved to begin to understand my brain and my history while also feeling overwhelmed and profoundly saddened. How do I even begin to heal from this? …

Shannon N

Finding myself even though I didn’t realize I was lost. Teacher, mother, wife, woman, survivor.

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