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 ♥

 

Things not to say to those with a mental illness

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  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.

Guilt & people pleasing

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Second-guessing myself always lingers in the background, when I don’t allow myself to PEOPLE PLEASE..

Feeling guilty for not people-pleasing is something that I just have to make friends with, although sometimes it just feels harder than others.

Being authentic & true to myself is so much more important but breaking old habits is tough, especially when I am not always aware. Sometimes I just seem to realise too late and end up having to deal with whatever it is I said yes to.

Whenever I have lingering guilt after saying ”I am not comfortable with that” or just simply saying ”No”, I try and ask myself why I am feeling this way. It always boils down to not feeling good enough, not being liked & feeling like ‘I am bad’ rather than the healthier ‘I have done something bad’.

I know now, that I was moulded into a people-pleaser by my parents, when I was a young child . Narcissistic parents are very good at using their children as sources of supply, whether that is for adoration, love, doing chores for them, being their emotional crunch or getting them to do all sorts of uncomfortable or age inappropriate things.

I am fully aware that even now, in my thirties, it is a lot easier and less scarier for me to make excuses about why I don’t want to do something rather than to simply say ‘I don’t want to do it’…

As a child, if I simply said NO, I would usually get into trouble and my parents would withdraw their love and attention towards me, until I complied..I learned the hard way that standing up for myself would almost always lead to punishment..

Now as an adult, I still feel crushed whenever I sense that someone isn’t happy with my response. The guilt can sometimes linger for days and this is a really crappy frame of mind to be in, as it isn’t productive or useful. However, part of being able to stop people pleasing, is to accept that you just have to sit with your feelings of guilt, as in the end you are doing what is best for you and not others.

What is your experience with feelings of guilt when choosing not to people-please?

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.

Finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain is tough..

Inspired by a comment made by a friend on her facebook page, I wanted to address the difficulty of finding a balance between self-soothing and running away from emotional pain. I also wanted to write about what it actually means to self-soothe.

Self-soothing is about allowing yourself to experience any uncomfortable emotions by using healthy techniques to comfort and restore balance. Successful self-soothing doesn’t mean that you make the feelings more intense. It means that you will eventually enable the emotions to pass. Self-soothing is about tolerating an uncomfortable experience, without acting in ways that are not helpful in the long run. This is when running away from emotional pain comes in. If you choose to block your emotions or run from them, this will then make the emotions grow in intensity or come out in ways you didn’t intend in the future.

Running away from emotional pain looks like the following:

  • Compulsively drinking, smoking or self-medicating
  • Using meaningless sexual encounters to numb emotional pain or fear of abandonment
  • Compulsively working or keeping busy to avoid feeling
  • Sleeping too much to avoid feeling
  • Comfort or emotional eating – Eating too much sugar or fatty foods whenever you feel low
  • Compulsively exercising
  • Gambling
  • Compulsively shopping

Do you see a pattern here? The more addictively or compulsively you do something, the more it means you are running away from what needs to be dealt with. It’s like an ostrich burying its head in the sand — just because you are hiding from everything and pretending everything is okay, does not mean that it will be okay.

We are all guilty of running away from our emotions. Sometimes they are just too painful to deal with and nobody wants to feel pain of any sort.

My biggest vice seems to still be comfort eating. I love my cakes & biscuits unfortunately, although apart from those, I generally eat a very balanced diet. Chain smoking used to be my biggest coping mechanism from the ages of 15-22 but I am so glad that I was able to quit.

Luckily, I have become better at self-soothing. I have realised that the more I deal with my emotions, the better I feel in the long term.

When feelings are dealt with head on, you talk about them, you cry, you blog about them, you ask a friend for support and you do something in that moment that will help you feel a little better, safer or comforted.

Self-soothing means that you wrap yourself in a blanket and play your favourite music. It means that you take yourself for a walk in nature. It means you find a quiet space in your home and you focus on breathing slowly and deeply and calming yourself down. It means that when you are feeling especially low, you read out some positive affirmations to help empower you. It means that you run a bath with your favourite oil or bath foam.It means that you engage in something creative. It means that you listen to your body.It means that you practice self-compassion and kindness to yourself. Self-soothing can be done using all 5 senses.

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There are so many ways to self-soothe and everyone has different ways of doing so.

What is your experience?

Do you feel you are somewhere in the middle of self-soothing and running away from your problems or not?

Please share your experiences.

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.

Mental Health Awareness week

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Ending the stigma of mental health is still proving to be a challenge, although in the UK we are getting ever closer to our goal of a deeper understanding, tolerance & acceptance of the importance of talking about our mental health.

As somebody who has never known what life is like without mental health problems, I know how difficult it is to be open and honest about it..People are still uncomfortable with knowing what to say or not say..Even if they try to be understanding, deep down you can sense whether they get it or they don’t..

Every single one of us is touched by stress or anxiety at some point in our lives, whereas others live with it every day…I am one of those people who lives with chronic mental health problems..Complex PTSD isn’t something to be taken lightly..There are still so many moments in my life at the age of 34 that I still learn new things about myself that I am not able to do, that others would find incredibly easy to complete. The hypervigilance and overwhelm never goes away..The chronic fatigue never goes away..The low mood is always lingering in the background..The voice that says ‘you are just not good enough’, pops up a lot when I am working alongside others…

Self-care is so important in these moments and remembering to accept ourselves when we are struggling can make a world of difference!

Walking the same path as others with mental illness really helps people feel less alone..

All the wonderful people who ran the London Marathon raising money for Mental Health are simply incredible..

If you think about how much these runners must have battled with those nasty little voices inside their head, it makes you feel incredibly inspired. The voice of depression or the voice of anxiety is not an easy task to manage..but yet they did it, and in what an admirable way!

I am also blessed to have many friends & fellow bloggers who do so much to raise awareness about mental health! They have all been personally affected however and live with debilitating conditions themselves..

The most crucial part in my opinion of raising awareness, is to also hear more people talking about mental health that don’t have any personal experience with it..People that feel concerned about someone they know but just don’t know how to respond..People that are lucky enough to live with good mental health and are surrounded by people who aren’t that lucky..

If you have experience with ill mental health, stigma or intolerance, then please feel free to comment.

Lastly, I would also like to share my latest information video on defence mechanisms. I was having a bad day yesterday and couldn’t face the camera to film myself talk, so I came up with this instead.

Thanks so much for reading & watching!

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.

 

Approval seeking

Approval seeking is a very common behaviour that all of us are guilty of at some point in our life. It might be that we are trying to impress someone we like, make a new friend or make a good impression on our new boss. It is perfectly normal to seek approval in others occasionally.

Approval seeking only becomes a problem when we do it chronically. When we constantly seek to be validated externally because we don’t feel comfortable to accept ourselves as we are.

This is the topic of today’s video, which I felt was very important for those of you who are people-pleasers and/or codependents.

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

Avoidant Personality Disorder

Although it isn’t Monday yet, I have already uploaded Monday’s Youtube video 3 hours early, as tomorrow I am mostly on the go and won’t be checking in much.

As most of my videos focus on CPTSD, Narcissistic abuse, Dysfunctional Relationships and other areas of emotional difficulty, I wanted to address a cluster C disorder this time, as this is something I have experience with. Avoidant Personality is an anxious disorder which can be very pervasive and self-limiting for those who live with it.

It can be caused by childhood trauma and can co-exist with Depression, CPTSD, Dependent Personality Disorder, as well as other disorders.

An individual is diagnosed as having AVPD, if they meet 4 or more of the following 7 criteria.

Definition: A pervasive pattern of social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to negative evaluation, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by four (or more) of the following:

(1) avoids occupational activities that involve significant interpersonal contact, because of fears of criticism, disapproval, or rejection

(2) is unwilling to get involved with people unless certain of being liked

(3) shows restraint within intimate relationships because of the fear of being shamed or ridiculed

(4) is preoccupied with being criticized or rejected in social situations

(5) is inhibited in new interpersonal situations because of feelings of inadequacy

(6) views self as socially inept, personally unappealing, or inferior to others

(7) is unusually reluctant to take personal risks or to engage in any new activities because they may prove embarrassing

As with most personality disorders AVPD isn’t completely curable, although therapy, medication and the right support can help people lead more successful lives.

Is this something you may suffer with? If yes, then get in touch!

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

Infantilization

You might have heard of the term infantilization but you may not realise how incredibly abusive it is when a parent does this to their child.

It is only natural for a growing child to start developing independent thoughts, actions and opinions. For a narcissistic parent this can be very threatening, as they want to continue controlling their child and use them for narcissistic supply.

Check out my video for an explanation of what infantilization is.

Some examples of infantilization are as follows:

A parent stops a teenager from socialising with friends or doesn’t allow them any privacy in their bedroom. The parent may still treat them as if they are a young child whereas a teenager needs growing independence and privacy.

A parent buys their child age-inappropriate clothing and/or arranges age-inappropriate activities.

A parent might not allow the child to speak for themselves, when they are asked a question directly by somebody else.

A parent might discourage the child from pursuing new interests as they don’t want the child to become more skilled at new things than they are.

If a parent isn’t able to have healthy relationships, they may try to influence the child against their choice of partner. They can’t allow their child to leave the family nest. The parent wants to continue their enmeshed relationship for as long as possible.

The effects of infantilization are as follows:

  • The adult child ends up having chronically low self-esteem
  • The adult child has difficulties academically
  • The adult child may find getting a job difficult
  • The adult child learns helplessness and enabling
  • The adult child may self-harm
  • The adult child may have poor social skills
  • The adult child may self-sabotage
  • The adult child may become avoidant

If you can relate to any of what I have written or said in the video, then please re-blog so it reaches more people.

Knowledge is power and with knowledge comes healing. To also further promote healing on a larger scale, I have recently signed up to patreon to further support my creations of videos, pdfs & hopefully in the near future, e-books.

Patreon is a platform that enables creators to reach new goals by having their followers & supporters fund their work.

If you find my videos & blog posts helpful, then please check out my patreon page.

It would mean the world to me to be able to reach more people and help them on their journey of recovery.

https://www.patreon.com/AthinaEhlen

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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.

 

GAD (Generalised Anxiety Disorder)

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Generalised Anxiety Disorder is a long-term condition that causes you to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event.

People with GAD feel anxious most of the time and often struggle to remember the last time they felt truly relaxed. They are constantly affected by worried thinking, which can affect their daily routines, their work, their appetite and their sleep.

GAD can cause both psychological (mental) and physical symptoms. These vary from person to person, but can include:

  • Dizziness & or heart palpitations
  • Excessive worrying and obsessing
  • Difficulty handling uncertainty
  • Muscle tension
  • Trembling or twitching
  • Headaches
  • Being easily startled
  • Dry mouth
  • Cold or hot sweats
  • Nausea
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Anxiety which can at times lead to panic attacks

GAD can commonly also co-occur with other mental health disorders such as social anxiety disorder, panic disorder, (C)PTSD or depression.

GAD can be caused by genetics, by childhood trauma or loss or by an imbalance of serotonin and noradrenaline in the brain.

If you are affected by GAD, then please feel free to share your experience.

I am offering free initial consultations to anyone who is affected and is in need of support.

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.