The blog of D Kai Wilson-Viola

Author, advocate, designer, mental health advocate and parent. 

C is for C-PTSD

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  1. Yup. I had... Other stuff also happen that I try not to talk about- mostly I like to be clear…


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This entry is part 6 of 22 in the series AtoZ 2023 - The AtoZ of Me

I’m doing two posts today – C for Cats, and C for CPTSD. 
In the early 2000’s, I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. I went through a period of needing medications, which sorta worked, sorta didn’t. By 2014, after losing a job I loved, I really didn’t have an easy time of it. It led to a lot of issues, eventually, with my mental health treatment and that’s a whole other story, but it also led to me being given to a team that finally decided I might have Complex PTSD.

A definition of CPTSD

(from an article on Bi-polarbears)

Complex post-traumatic stress disorder (CPTSD) is a mental health condition that’s triggered by prolonged or repeated trauma. This trauma can be physical, sexual, emotional, or psychological.

CPTSD is similar to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), but it’s more complex. People with CPTSD may have trouble regulating their emotions, trusting others, and feeling safe. They may also have difficulty forming relationships, holding down a job, and feeling good about themselves.

The symptoms of CPTSD can vary from person to person. Some common symptoms include:

  • Flashbacks and nightmares about the traumatic event
  • Avoidance of anything that reminds you of the trauma
  • Negative changes in mood, such as feeling hopeless, numb, or helpless
  • Difficulty trusting others
  • Feeling isolated and alone
  • Changes in physical health, such as headaches, stomachaches, or fatigue

If you think you may have CPTSD, it’s important to see a mental health professional. There is no one-size-fits-all treatment for CPTSD, but therapy can be helpful. There are also many self-help strategies that can be helpful, such as mindfulness and yoga.

A personal view of CPTSD

Many people pick up CPTSD for abuse as a child, and while that’s technically true of me, instead of it being familial abuse (I was *very* lucky to have a loving extended family that raised me with my mother), I had issues, instead, with my peers. I was bullied, badly, until late high school. And while it used to be believed that bullying was character forming, honestly? Though it made me who I am now, and some of that is really interesting and there’s a lot about me that I think was formed by my issues with my mental health, and it’s not ALL bad, some of it is. I don’t blame the kids I grew up with, I don’t blame the teachers who thought it was ok. It’s all pretty…blameless, right up to the last couple of years, and even then, I write most of it off as ‘we were kids’.  Because that’s the truth. Even when we weren’t…we were.

How it affects me

I’m not entirely sure how to explain how my mental health is, but the last few years have been an exploration and a start to untangling, on my own (after two AMAZING years with Dr C and M, at Avon House). Well, I say on my own, but my family and friends have helped, a lot. But I’ve done a lot of work, I think. From mindset to trying to teach myself to trust people more, to working on my anxiety…it’s a whole ball of stuff.
But, I’ve got some of the standard issues which arise from CPTSD, and a couple of non-standard ones. Anxiety, and issues with seeing and hearing things are my major ones, but I struggle with understanding if people are angry or upset. I also struggle with isolation, depression and more.  

That said, there’s a lot of things that I’ve also learned.  I have a great mindfulness program that I follow and I meditate several times a week.  I’ve got my coping mechanisms, and most of all, and as I’ll talk more about in L for Ludosport, I’ve got an in person community that I exercise with, and they support me too. Plus I’ve got a tonne of friends online.  I’ve spent the last few weeks and months, especially working through the information that I’ve got and I’m writing about it now.  That I’ll be talking about in R, on Booksbykai.

I’ve struggled, and might struggle again in the future, and my mental health will waver, but I’m learning, and working through it.  Like being mildly autistic, CPTSD is one of those things that I’m actually comfortable with now, though I do admit I fought quite hard at first.

Yesterday’s Posts

B for Blogging

B for (world) Building

Yesterday’s comments

J Lennie Dorner

J R Vincente

The Multicoloured Diary

Series Navigation<< C is for CatsD is for ‘dont call me that’ – aka Donna #Mondayblogs >>


  1. Tarkabarka

    Bullying can have a lasting effect even when you have family support. People often underestimate how deeply it can change how one relates to peers later on in life. Thank you for sharing!

    The Multicolored Diary

    • Kai

      Yup. I had… Other stuff also happen that I try not to talk about- mostly I like to be clear that though CPTSD is most commonly caused (based on current research, because it’s an emerging diagnosis) by familial or childhood abuse, and I don’t like the implication that my family wasn’t good, or somehow, I am inadvertently suggesting I am a survivor of a different type, if that makes sense?
      Thank you for your comment!



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P is for Psychosis #realmentalhealth #mondayblogs #nomorestigma

This is one of my harder blog posts to write, because though I talk – a lot – about the impact my mental health has on my day to day life, and has done for a while, I’m pretty sure that this is the bit no one really understands, causes the most…misunderstanding and I hope, because I wouldn’t wish it on anyone, they can’t relate to. If you didn’t know that psychosis was a feature of my mental health diagnosis, or didn’t understand if you’d heard it mentioned before now, please…don’t start changing your opinion of me. That’s the biggest reason those of us with serious mental health issues aren’t as open as society needs. Because we lose people.