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C-PTSD: Why I Decided to Write a Blog

Updated: Jul 20, 2021

Hi and welcome back to my blog! My name is Shannon ❤, owner of Ana Olivette, a company I created to honor my grandmothers "Ana" and "Olivette". I am a wife, mother of five and teacher. My company and blog focuses on mental health awareness, self love, overall positivity and personal growth. It is my desire that my company and blog be a source of motivation for my readers. I am a trauma survivor who has spent many years trying to overcome the results of trauma in my life. I want you to know that you are not alone and there is hope. Hope for inner strength, peace and better days to come. I offer advice based on my own experience and reading. So, cozy up and get ready to learn about all that I know about mental health, particularly, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (C-PTSD).

So what is C-PTSD? PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, is a real diagnosis usually used for cases where people had a traumatic event happen in adulthood (like taking part in a violent battle, or being in a car accident). The symptoms include flashbacks, anxiety, depression, insomnia, social withdrawal and explosive emotions, among other things. Another, type of PTSD is Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or C-PTSD) which is caused by chronic, ongoing exposure to emotional or physical trauma, such as living through a war, being in an abusive relationship, or growing up neglected or abused. It’s this variant of C-PTSD that many call Childhood PTSD or Complex Trauma, and it’s what my work is all about.

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (or C-PTSD) is real though you won’t find it yet in diagnostic manuals, it tends to follow a common pattern that can be observed and measured, and is now a huge area of research and advocacy worldwide. The biggest and most impactful study sor far is The ACE Study, which has become an accepted way to measure the scope of a person’s early trauma, and to predict how it may affect them throughout life.

The ACE Study began in the mid-1990s, when physician researchers Vincent Felitti of Kaiser Permanente and the Robert Anda of U.S. Centers for Disease Control interviewed hundreds of study participants about their history of adverse childhood experiences” known as the ACE Study. Felitti and Anda created a survey (take and see survey below) that asks about each of these experiences; respondents gave themselves one point for each experience on the list they checked as a yes. So a person’s ACE score is somewhere between zero and ten.The adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs include:

  • Physical abuse

  • Sexual abuse

  • Emotional abuse

  • Physical neglect

  • Emotional neglect

  • Household substance abuse

  • Household mental illness

  • Parental separation or divorce

  • Incarcerated household member

There are many other experiences that could be included, like the death of a parent, or being bullied in school, or being desperately poor, or a living as a refugee; you can take this into consideration when you take the test.

What Does a High ACE Score Mean? The researchers found that the higher your ACE score, the higher the probability that you’ll experience certain problems in your life. Many of these are common sense problems most people know like depression, anxiety, smoking and other addictions, eating disorders, violent behavior, or being in an abusive relationship. But the study showed some surprising correlations as well. Higher ACE scores increase the likelihood of cognitive difficulties including ADHD, memory problems and learning disabilities. They’re closely correlated with heart disease, obesity, diabetes, migraines, cancer, autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, thyroid disorders, chronic fatigue, rheumatoid arthritis reproductive disorders like endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease, gastrointestinal disorders, fibromyalgia and chronic pain, chronic lung disease and stroke. This was big news, that trauma in childhood can play a significant role in behavioral and physiological problems in adults. And what this means is that learning to heal Childhood PTSD is one of the most important things we can do as people, and as a society.

I have spent most of my life seeking answers to understanding myself and my condition better. The ultimate goal is to not let the traumas of my past dictate my present and future. The present and future belong to me and my family. It saddens me to know that like myself many people suffer in silence because of their lack of knowledge on the topic and fear of being judged. My goal is to create a platform where people can come and feel welcomed, accepted, loved, inspired and educated.

So here it is! ❤ If you liked this blog, don't forget to subscribe to my mailing list as well as leave any questions or comments below.

Until next time! ❤ Shannon of Ana Olivette

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