Creating a new normal – Covid 19

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Dealing with a pandemic of this magnitude, we are all understandably becoming anxious and uncertain about the future.

All the little things that consumed our life previously are no longer as important.

There is a new reality now.. One of survival, planning and isolating.

For those of you who are already living with C-PTSD, anxiety, depression and other mental health conditions, this time is especially triggering..

For those of you in the ‘at risk groups’, life can feel terrifying..

Here are a few tips that are keeping me sane and might help you too!

  •  Try and hold onto the positives even though the reality is extremely daunting.
  • Whenever anxiety creeps in, take several deep breaths and be kind to yourself.
  • Keep a daily log of 3 things you are grateful for on each day.

We are dealing with an unprecedented reality, it is normal to feel overwhelmed.

  • Try and stop yourself from engaging too much with social media or news on the Coronavirus.
  • Distract yourself with things you enjoy.  There is nothing wrong with binge watching Netflix series at this time or reading lots of books..
  • Even though you may be stuck at home, make sure you create a new stable routine for yourself and your family. Exercise, eat at the same time every day, do an activity together, have some alone time, have a shower at the same time each day etc. Since you have lost your normal routine, creating a new routine is extremely important.
  • Try and eat healthy food as much as possible..Limit alcohol and sugar. Keep your immune system as healthy as possible
  • Engage in your hobbies as much as possible
  • Write your thoughts and worries in a journal or online blog
  • Keep in touch with family and friends

How are you coping with this in your country?

I hope you are looking after yourselves at this difficult time dear readers.

Just remember, we are all in this together!

Lots of love

Athina ♥♥

 

Complex PTSD is recognised as a disorder in the ICD-11

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I wanted to share the great news that Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is recognised by the World Health Organization’s (WHO) eleventh revision of the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-11).

As someone who has openly spoken about living with the symptoms of CPTSD, it feels extremely validating to know that it is actually recognised formally. I wasn’t aware of this until very recently so for those of you who already knew this, please forgive my delayed discovery. For those of you who live with CPTSD and are aware of this, I hope this news finds you well.

In my personal opinion, a diagnosis of CPTSD could easily replace many other diagnoses. CPTSD is the result of child abuse, neglect and any other prolonged and repeated traumatic experiences.

Symptoms of anxiety and depression are in most cases part of having CPTSD, as well as the following (in the context of childhood trauma & abuse).

”Attachment – problems with relationship boundaries, lack of trust, social isolation, difficulty perceiving and responding to others’ emotional states”

”Biology – sensory-motor developmental dysfunction, sensory-integration difficulties, somatization, and increased medical problems”

”Affect or emotional regulation – poor affect regulation, difficulty identifying and expressing emotions and internal states, and difficulties communicating needs, wants, and wishes”

”Dissociation – amnesia, depersonalization, discrete states of consciousness with discrete memories, affect, and functioning, and impaired memory for state-based events

”Behavioural control – “problems with impulse control, aggression, pathological self-soothing, and sleep problems”

”Cognition – difficulty regulating attention; problems with a variety of ‘executive functions’ such as planning, judgement, initiation, use of materials, and self-monitoring; difficulty processing new information; difficulty focusing and completing tasks; poor object constancy; problems with ’cause-effect’ thinking; and language developmental problems such as a gap between receptive and expressive communication abilities.”

”Self-concept – fragmented and disconnected autobiographical narrative, disturbed body image, low self-esteem, excessive shame, and negative internal working models of self”.

Formal recognition and diagnosis will greatly help CPTSD sufferers with more appropriate treatment options:

Some current treatments are:

  • biofeedback
  • dyadic resourcing (used with EMDR)
  • emotionally focused therapy
  • emotional freedom technique (EFT) or tapping
  • Equine-assisted therapy
  • expressive arts therapy
  • internal family systems therapy
  • dialectical behavior therapy(DBT)
  • family systems therapy
  • group therapy
  • neurofeedback
  • psychodynamic therapy
  • sensorimotor psychotherapy
  • somatic experiencing
  • yoga, specifically trauma-sensitive yoga

It is also worth mentioning that CPTSD has also been referred to as DESNOS (Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified).

DTD (Developmental trauma disorder) is also proposed as the alternative equivalent to childhood CPTSD.

”Dr. Judith Lewis Herman, in her book, Trauma and Recovery, proposed that a complex trauma recovery model that occurs in three stages:

  1. establishing safety,
  2. remembrance and mourning for what was lost,
  3. reconnecting with community and more broadly, society.”

If you live with CPTSD and have had experience with any of the above treatment options, I would love to hear what you found helpful.

Thanks for reading

This blog post includes direct text from Wikipedia:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Complex_post-traumatic_stress_disorder

Love Athina ♥♥

Oversharing

Oversharing is something that I have also been guilty of on more than one occasion.

Why do many of us overshare whereas most people only share what is necessary when meeting new people?

In the video below, I explain a little bit about oversharing and why we do it.

Love Athina ♥

 

 

 

Merry Christmas

Wishing you all a wonderful festive season! To those of you who may be grieving or finding this time of year hard, please know you are not alone. Wishing you courage, love and warmth to soothe your soul!

Much love

Athina ♥♥

Update & video on Dependent Personality Disorder

Just a quick post to update you on what I am up to at the moment. I am currently studying my first Counselling module with the Open University alongside my work. I am very excited about this and hoping to complete a whole Diploma in Counselling or a full on Bachelors. I am studying separate modules at a time, which enables me to be more flexible in my choices.

I am still making youtube videos on my channel and also still taking on new clients for coaching.

I have a few new coaching options now, which include 30 min coaching sessions instead of hourly sessions. You can find these new options here: https://couragecoaching.net/availabilitycost/

My latest video is based on Dependent Personality disorder.

A lot of survivors of narcissistic abuse can sometimes develop this disorder or at least have a lot of the symptoms present.

Infantilization by parents and/or early loss or abandonment can cause Dependent Personality.

If you can relate, then please feel free to comment or share this video!

Much love to you all!

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here

 

The importance of being emotionally intelligent

Emotional intelligence refers to the ability to identify and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others.

Emotional intelligence is the one part of the human psyche that we can develop and improve by learning and practising new skills.

  • People with higher emotional intelligence find it easier to form and maintain interpersonal relationships and to ‘fit in’ to group situations.
  • People with higher emotional intelligence are also better at understanding their own psychological state, which can include managing stress effectively and being less likely to suffer from depression.

My newest video on my youtube channel, talks about emotional intelligence in more detail.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

Do I have C-PTSD? New video questionnaire which will help you identify this!

A lot of research has gone into this video which has a questionnaire about helping people identify whether they might be suffering with CPTSD. I set up a poll on my youtube page, asking my subscribers to choose a video topic out of 4 options and this video was the most popular choice.

As I myself have answered ‘Yes’ to around 34 out of the 40 questions on this questionnaire and have also been diagnosed with CPTSD from 3 different therapists, I know that this questionnaire is very accurate. I created it to help my clients feel validated and to provide a stepping stone in the right direction towards their healing journey.

It is highly important to stress that there are 2 different types of abuse that a child can suffer in their family home. Overt abuse and covert abuse. Most abuse survivors, who have experienced a combination of these 2 types of abuse, will answer ‘YES’ to all 40 questions and will have all CPTSD symptoms, as well as visual, physical and other sensory flashbacks, along with extreme dissociation. Those survivors who have only suffered from covert abuse, also score high on this questionnaire (as much as 38 out of 40). This proves the severity of both types of abuse and sadly many therapists don’t take covert abuse seriously, when they should.

I wholeheartedly hope you find it helpful and if you think others will find it useful and validating, then please share this post as much as possible, .

Also please feel free to add your answers in the comments below this post, or on my youtube channel! Please specify whether you experienced overt abuse or covert abuse or both.

Thank you!

Love Athina ♥

 

How to outsmart a narcissist once and for all!

Outsmarting the narcissist is important for your sanity and so you can feel in control of your life. Narcissists are experts at controlling your life with different manipulation tactics and they are very skilled at turning empaths into codependents.

This video will help those of you who deal with a covert narcissist, to feel empowered and strong again. The ‘deflect’ technique that I talk about in this video is especially good when dealing with a covert narcissist however isn’t advisable when dealing with a physically abusive narcissist.

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.

How to heal from childhood abuse

A lot of my followers on this blog and also subscribers from my youtube channel keep coming to me with the same question ‘How do I heal from childhood abuse?’.

Although this is something I have already addressed previously, I have decided to actually explore this in as much detail as I possibly can.

I will address this with reference to my own recovery journey and also by looking at research done by psychologists, psychotherapists and trauma specialists such as Pete Walker, Wilhelm Reich, Dr Bessel Van Der Kolk and many more.

Healing from childhood abuse isn’t a simple process. It takes a huge amount of courage, inner strength & resilience. It requires a willingness to become more self-aware of our own dysfunctional coping mechanisms, that we may have learnt from our primary caregivers.

If our parents were high on the narcissism spectrum, we will have endured years of all or some of the following:

  • neglect
  • hypercriticism
  • parentifying
  • infantilising
  • pathological envy
  • blaming
  • patronising
  • mood swings
  • pathological lying
  • aggression or passive aggression
  • gaslighting
  • controlling behaviour
  • emotional blackmail
  • scapegoating
  • silent treatment
  • shaming
  • invalidation
  • isolation
  • intimidation
  • verbal abuse
  • sexual abuse
  • physical abuse
  • engulfment

Living in a household with abuse, causes the child to develop Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Complex post traumatic stress disorder is a more severe form of PTSD and has the following 5 features:

  1. Toxic shame
  2. Self-abandonment
  3. Emotional flashbacks
  4. A extremely harsh inner critic
  5. Social anxiety

Emotional flashbacks are the most characteristic part of CPTSD. They are sudden and sometimes prolonged age regressions to the overwhelming feelings of being abused or neglected as a child. Emotional flashbacks don’t have a visual component. These flashbacks do however include an overwhelming feeling of fear, shame, alienation, abandonment, depression and emotional pain. They can range in intensity from subtle to unbearable.

Toxic shame is the when an individual has an overwhelming feeling that they are flawed, loathsome or stupid. It completely destroys a person’s self-esteem and causes the person to abandon themselves emotionally. This creates a feeling of hopelessness and helplessness.

The inner critic is the internalised punishing voice of our abusive parent. If we had a parent who was a bully and constantly called us names such stupid, pathetic, too sensitive, ugly etc, then we will have this voice within us, even if our abusive parent isn’t in our life anymore. It will be a habitual inner bully that punishes us instead of supports us.

Other symptoms of CPTSD are:

  • Feelings of loneliness and abandonment
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Attachment disorder
  • Developmental Arrests
  • Relationship difficulties ( Fear of forming relationships or forming relationships that are too dysfunctional)
  • Hyper-arousal / extreme flight/fight response
  • Suicidal ideation
  • Oversensitivity to stress
  • Dissociation
  • Exhaustion
  • Body armouring  (which involves tensing of muscle tissue whenever stress or emotion is experienced. To protect itself, the body takes a defensive, tight, and stiff stance. On a tissue level it enters into a muscular holding pattern that resists change and release. Unexpressed emotions such as anger, fear, and grief are common causes of this phenomenon. This was first described by psychologist Wilhelm Reich).
  • Impulsivity
  • Inappropriate anger

 

The stages of recovering

To recover from abuse and trauma, we must first educate ourselves on a cognitive level. We must understand that we most likely suffer with CPTSD and that it isn’t our fault that we are suffering. We have to put the blame where it belongs – to our abusive primary caregivers.

Secondly we must find a qualified therapist/specialist coach that will help us with the very difficult task of shrinking the inner critic. The inner critic can be a very difficult part of recovery to tackle, as the negativity from this critic has become automatic over our lifetime. It may take a long time to stop the inner critic from affecting us. Constant awareness of when the critic is present will help us stop him in his tracks and try and replace the negative criticisms with positive affirmations and self-compassion.

The next step in recovery is verbal ventilation and the very painful process of grieving our childhood losses. Verbal ventilation is when we speak in a way that releases our painful emotions with a safe person. Grieving our childhood losses means that we actually allow ourselves to cry, be angry and really feel the deep pain of not having had healthy parents. Grieving can take a long time and can sometimes last for a couple of years. In grieving, it is important for us to also grieve our loss of self-esteem and safety.

Once we have successfully grieved, we then must deal with the feelings of abandonment via somatic healing and via learning how to become self-compassionate in moments of depression or anxiety.

Lastly, we will need help with dissecting all our defences, especially those that no longer serve us. We may have picked up defences and behaviours from our abusive parents that are dysfunctional and we will now need support in stopping these defences and practicing more healthy ways of coping.

A very important part of recovery is to learn how to be patient with our progress, as sometimes it isn’t straightforward. Recovery is a journey and self compassion is crucial.

A great mantra according to Pete Walker, is

‘Progress not perfection’

Expecting perfection in recovery isn’t going to help us move forward..

Progress however is key!

Thanks for reading!

Love Athina ♥

© All blog posts and images are owned by me and Courage Coaching. Please don’t use without consent and only re-blog if you would like to use the information on here.