Complex PTSD – Living in a Parallel Universe

Living with Complex PTSD is akin to living in a parallel universe. I co-exist with the rest of the world. I am living one life and they another. My mind is one place and their’s another. My body is in one room but my mind is nowhere to be found. It is missing in action so to speak. It is absent. Not present and no amount of mindfulness will bring it back. Today is such a day. I am consumed by the Disorder, the past, the all-encompassing past. The sounds of the present and mere scratchings on the surface of my mind, a mere irritant. The dominant sounds are those from the 1970’s and 80’s.

It has all been brought on the return of Cardinal Pell to Australia for his trial for alleged historical child sexual abuse charges. Victoria Police on June 30 charged the cardinal, a former Melbourne and Sydney Archbishop and Ballarat priest, with multiple sex offenses.The Cardinal, a top adviser to Pope Francis, has taken a leave of absence as the Vatican’s financial chief to fight the charges.

He told reporters in Rome in June that the laying of charges had strengthened his resolve to prove his innocence.“There has been relentless character assassination,” he told reporters in Rome after the charges were laid. “I’m looking forward, finally, to having my day in court. I’m innocent of these charges. They are false. The whole idea of sexual abuse is abhorrent to me.

Those very words ring in my ears, as did his words all those years ago in 2012 on the 7.30 Report on the ABC with Leigh Sales when the Royal Commission into Institutional Child Abuse was established, when he glibly said in reply to one of Leigh’s questions ‘the Catholic Church is not the only cab off the rank”. At those words, I went into shock in my sitting room blankly staring at the television not knowing what was wrong with me as a flashback after flashback assaulted me. His carelessly flung words opened up a rotten cauldron in my mind and thirty years of suppressed childhood abuse came flooding back in a torrent culminating in a breakdown and a subsequent diagnosis of Complex PTSD.

I struggle today 11 July 2017 to stay in touch with reality knowing he is back in the Country. He has come to symbolise all that has happened to me. He represents all the Priests and men that abused me. I know it is ‘innocent until proven guilty’ but the Commission has found his testimony so far to be unreliable and he has been found to have willfully moved priest from Parish to Parish when they were found to have been an abusers rather than report them to the Police. I believe him guilty and wish him to be found so for his accuser’s sake so they can have peace. I could be wrong but all the evidence points that way and I don’t believe the Federal Police would take out a case against the third in line to the Pope lightly without pretty credible and strong evidence.

My struggle today will be not to self-harm which is my default behaviour when this level of dissociation happens and I am under such stress. I currently have my MindDog Toby at my feet watching me carefully as he always does when he picks up on my change in mood. He is such a good Therapy Dog. I need to focus on him. I know he won’t leave my side on a day like today. He is so intuitive. Remarkable animal.

As I write this my son is sitting opposite me writing practice essays for his Trial Final year High School exams due to start in two weeks. I love him to bits with all my heart but find it so hard to stay connected when dissociation is this strong. The best I can do is stay in the room with him and speak when spoken to. I have no conversation to offer. My husband is down harrowing the paddocks on the tractor which I can hear faintly in the distance. Life goes on.   Complex PTSD today traps me in the past but for all around me their day functions normally and like train tracks we run alongside each other, going in the same direction but totally separately. I am on a singularly different track and today it is a dangerous one. Tuesday night’s I have a Consultation call with my Therapist so I need to stay out of harm’s way until then and resist any self-harm and hope my alters don’t get too strong and lead me into devious behaviour.  Stay with the dog, stay in the room with my son and stay writing. Keep clearing the mind. One day at a time that’s all you can do with Complex PTSD. One day at a time.

I would love to hear from you so please leave a comment. All feedback is much appreciated. Thank you. Erin

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