Self Care. Or Lack of.

Life skills. Self worth. Self esteem.

There’s many documented long term effects of CPTSD, the most notable for me being a complete lack of self care. I’m not suggesting by any means that I punished or blamed myself for my childhood trauma, I always knew it wasn’t my fault (hence why I buried it in an attempt to ‘get over’ it or ‘just move on’. And in many ways I did move on.

Once I’d managed to free myself from my mother’s care (I use Care in the loosest possible sense of the word, she’d give Quokkas a run for their money) , I was 15yrs old. The last phone conversation we had (she’d already left the country to go back to her husband after dragging my siblings and I halfway round the world to be with him some years before) she told me I couldn’t possibly survive on my own, like I’d been doing any different for years by that point. It made me realise that she really was delusional.

So I washed my hands of her and everything that had happened in the 5yrs since she met this wonder of a man, I use the term Man in the loosest possible sense of the word.

The trouble was, she left me with absolutely no life skills at all. Yes I could wash and dress, feed myself some half assed food, and I could work and earn money. But I had no idea how to actually CARE for myself. I was never kind to myself, always my own worse critic, and certainly my own worst enemy. I dismissed my own feelings, wants, and needs as quickly as I dismissed other people’s. I had no idea how to handle money, save or budget, or even to prioritise food over ‘going out’. I had my freedom, but now I wasn’t sure how to move forward or what the hell I was supposed to do with this freedom now I had it. I’d missed years of education & become estranged from most of my family. Be careful what you wish for, right?

The lack of self care came hand in hand with low self esteem. I hid it as well as I could, but it was always there, a paranoia in the back of my mind. I was never going to be good enough. Important enough. Cherished enough. But of course what this really translated to was that I was never going to be good enough to keep from hunger, important enough to listen to, cherished enough to keep safe. All the things that had happened shaped how I thought about myself and my value. And I was fucking angry about that. In fact, I was pretty angry at most things for a while.

So I did what most teens do I guess. I found a part time job until I turned 16, then took a job that came with accommodation and moved. The next few years were full of work, parties, clubs, booze and drugs, a scene I never felt out of control in, as I’d previously been exposed to so much of it. I’d love to say I cried my misery into the bottom of a bottle, but honestly, I didn’t. I was so far away from processing my trauma that the complete opposite happened. I had a great time for the most part apart from the few blackouts. I drank until I was drunk, danced until I was sober again, then rolled a joint on the way home with enough time left for a shower and a sausage sandwich before work. Legend.

I burned the candle at both ends and had a great time doing it. This lasted a few years until the shit hit the fan.

BOOOooom.

Depression.

Possibly the most surreal experience of my life. I felt numb. Had no appetite. Barely slept. Took no interest or joy in my own life or the lives of those around me. And worst of all, I had absolutely no idea I was depressed. That sneaky fuck had wormed it’s way in and I hadn’t even seen it coming. I walked around like a zombie day to day. Detached. My body wasn’t mine. There were times when I would dissociate and have no idea how much time had passed. Had I moved from this spot since this morning? Literally no clue. The most bizarre experience of my whole life.

Some people break down. Others just check out for a time. But one thing is true. At some point we all need to face the reality of our experiences.

Peace out.

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