I was looking up some signs of unresolved trauma (mostly relating to dissociation) and came across this awesome list. The ones that apply to me are in bold (and there are way more than I thought).
1. Addictive behaviors – excessively turning to drugs, alcohol, sex, shopping, gambling as a way to push difficult emotions and upsetting trauma content further away.
2. An inability to tolerate conflicts with others – having a fear of conflict, running from conflict, avoiding conflict, maintaining skewed perceptions of conflict
3. An inability to tolerate intense feelings, preferring to avoid feeling by any number of ways
4. An innate belief that they are bad, worthless, without value or importance
5. Black and white thinking, all or nothing thinking, even if this approach ends up harming themselves
6. Chronic and repeated suicidal thoughts and feelings
7. Disorganized attachment patterns – having a variety of short but intense relationships, refusing to have any relationships, dysfunctional relationships, frequent love/hate relationships
8. Dissociation, spacing out, losing time, missing time, feeling like you are two completely different people (or more than two) *
9. Eating disorders – anorexia, bulimia, obesity, etc
10. Excessive sense of self-blame – taking on inappropriate responsibility as if everything is their fault, making excessive apologies
11. Inappropriate attachments to mother figures or father figures, even with dysfunctional or unhealthy people
12. Intense anxiety and repeated panic attacks
13. Intrusive thoughts, upsetting visual images, flashbacks, body memories / unexplained body pain, or distressing nightmares
14. Ongoing, chronic depression
15. Repeatedly acting from a victim role in current day relationships
16. Repeatedly taking on the rescuer role, even when inappropriate to do so
17. Self-harm, self-mutilation, self-injury, self-destruction
18. Suicidal actions and behaviors, failed attempts to suicide
19. Taking the perpetrator role / angry aggressor in relationships
20. Unexplained but intense fears of people, places, things
* My most frequent dissociative symptoms are derealization and depersonalization.
“Depersonalization is characterized by a feeling of detachment or estrangement from one’s self. During an episode of depersonalization, the sense of ‘self’ is disturbed. There is an overall feeling of estrangement and detachment from the self. …Depersonalization can be very distressing because it seems like one is losing their grip on reality, losing control, or ‘going insane.'”
“Derealization – During the experience of derealization, the perception of reality feels distorted and there is a sense of being detached from the outside world. It can feel like living in a dream.”
In the next post on PTSD, I’ll get into some of the messier stuff–mainly, how I ended up with PTSD and how it affects my life. It’s something that is going to require a lot of effort on my part because (as anyone who knows me well can tell you) I don’t really like to talk about it. Joke about it? God, yes, I’ll do that all day long. I’m also able to write about it, to some extent–just the facts, ma’am. But really getting into the heart of it is something I still find incredibly difficult and try to avoid as much as possible.