Now you’re singing The Boomtown Rats in a slightly confused fashion right?
So this is something I think about every week. Heh, get it? Because Sunday is once a week? Okay I’ve not woken up properly yet, my humour isn’t exactly on point.
So I’m sat here, in my warm cosy office, candles burning away, with a mug that was made for me by one of my best friends and one of my dogs is curled up on my lap.
However it wasn’t always this idyllic, and that still sits with me to this day.
When I was younger I would dread Sundays, and like I just said, I still do.
There’s an eeriness about them, the calm before the storm if you will.
I know why it is like this for me, and it’s also another reason why I resent my impeccable memory sometimes. My brain can remember smells, sounds, colours, intricate details and pointless recollections of conversations I don’t need to know.
I link this trait massively to the fact I suffer from CPTSD. I wanted to write about this because it’s not a widely discussed diagnosis, and when I’ve written articles for magazines in the past people have assumed it’s a typo and I actually meant PTSD.
We are all aware of PTSD, we hear about it in the form of soldiers returning from war hearing shrapnel around them, vivid nightmares of what they saw and psychotic episodes because their brains can’t cope with how much they are forced to relive the trauma.
Well CPTSD is a little different, the C stands for complex. I don’t talk about this one as much because it involves me divulging more information than I can be bothered to explain plus it’s not as prominent on a day to day basis as my BPD.
CPTSD and the complex aspect, unlike PTSD, does not stem from one situation. It stems from many, repeated and constant traumatic situations, prolonged emotional abuse in my case. Everyone is different and we all have varying levels of tolerances to trauma, what one person can cope with, another will crumble. So for me, it was years of gaslighting, it was the majority of my family not living past 60 and having to go to funeral after funeral from the age of 7 until 27. The age of 7 is not one that you should become to accustomed to death so quickly, it’s a strange concept.
I remember not crying when I found out my grandmother had passed away when I was 21, but then I cried for days on end when I heard my mother had rehomed my dog without me knowing when I was at university.
I was also fairly horrendously bullied throughout school, and I still cringe every time I hear myself say that as I can imagine said bullies laughing about it and saying I’m overreacting, or that I made up the hell I went through.
But that’s how my brain goes, all the trauma I’ve been through from death to homelessness and everything in between, it’s like one moment I allow myself to feel like it happened, and the next minute my brain is telling me that I’m an attention seeking drama queen. Can you tell that phrase was one of the repeated and constant contributions..?
Anyway so back to why I hate Sundays. It was that existential dread inside me, I knew what was going to come from Monday. It wasn’t that I was just lazy and didn’t want to get out of bed, it was that I knew what was ahead.
Even now I feel this tightening in my chest and my breath has shortened.
One school in particular it wasn’t the other pupils that scared the life out of me, it was the teachers. They didn’t like my older sibling so I was labelled by that, and every morning I remember at the age of 7 being sick outside the school through pure fear, and then being dragged inside, forced to change from my black shiny outdoor shoes into my brown leather indoor sandals. Yes folks, they made a 7 year old do that.
They would drag me inside, force me to sit in the school kitchen and watch me until I ate 2 slices of marmite toast. Why you ask? Because they had decided the reason why I was sick every morning was because I didn’t have breakfast. Nope, it was pure fear and anxiety inside me. If this happened to a child now it would probably be all over the Daily Mail and I’d get a primetime feature on This Morning.
Anyway, overall I went to 7 schools, some were okay, I made some good friends who are still by my side today but I don’t even think they understood the level of sadness in my soul back then.
So back to the CPTSD and intense memory recollection.
I can still smell the steam of the iron now as my mother ironed my shirts in the livingroom whilst watching a combination of The Antique’s Roadshow, Songs of Praise and Channel 4 News. The theme tune to all of these programmes make a cold, prickly wave flow over my body.
I hated roast dinners for years and would tell people I didn’t like them because my mother made them too often, which was kind of true, but the reality of it was that the stodgy potatoes would clog in my throat as I thought of what was to come from the coming week.
Combine that with the dull aspect of a Sunday evening. And when I were a lass *read in northern accent as if I were an 80 year old nana*, we didn’t have TV’s in our rooms and netflix on our phones. I mean I didn’t even have a phone. I remember the pain of Wimbledon being on because it meant no children’s TV for 2 weeks whilst the country shouted at two people smashing a neon spherical object up and down a big green oblong with a terrible fishing net in the middle of it.
So in the grand scheme of things I was left alone with my mind for far too long, team that with living in the middle of nowhere with no shops or friends nearby.
Anyway I digress, Sundays make me sad, even though things are good now it’s ingrained into my brain and soul to not enjoy them. I revert to that small child waiting for the pain to be torn further into me in the form of words, I guess I should be lucky that I was never physically attacked, but the incessant labelling, gaslighting and cutting words in both school and home has stuck with me to this day.
I’m not really sure why I’m writing this other than that I’ve never spoken about it before so it felt right to heal another wound with words. Which is ironic really as the original wound was caused by words.
Which brings me to this piece written by Rupi Kaur, I read it yesterday and it fits so nicely with where I’m at in life right now, I’ve realised I’m more than the pain from those wounds I very nearly did die from.
I’ll write more factually on CPTSD one day, this was more of a Sunday musing because I’m feeling a tad emotionally on edge today and felt the need to rebalance with writing it all out.
If you want to read a little more about what it actually is, this article is pretty good:
Other ways that it has affected me runs very closely alongside my BPD traits so it’s hard to distinguish but for years, and even last night actually, I get plagued with nightmares.
I’m prescribed 3.75mg of Zopiclone (sleeping tablets), only 14 a month so I don’t take them everyday, just when I can sense a bad night coming on.
For years I would repeatedly watch my Dad die in my nightmares, over and over again. Or I would have friends turn against me, my family would berate me and call me spoilt and selfish.
Last night I dreamt I was with my Dad again, driving around cliffs in Australia looking out over the glistening blue seas, and for a moment I don’t resent that my brain makes me believe this other world is real. It feels so real, like I can almost touch him.
What’s most confusing about these types of nightmares is that they feel like they become memories, my mind is almost distorted as I try to identify what is a correct recollection and what’s literally a figment of my own imagination. Sometimes it’s a combination of the two, it will involve real people with similar situations that have happened in the past, but it’ll become twisted.
These also then merge further into lucid nightmares, so sometimes I can identify that I am asleep, but I’m trapped in my own mind and can’t wake up. I wake up eventually crying, and that’s the weirdest part.
So back to the point of this, I may be sat here now drinking my (now very cold and ignored coffee), smelling my beautiful candle and stroking my gorgeous little pooch but the memories are always there, sometimes I can cope, sometimes I can’t. And that’s okay.
What you need to remember, is that despite how vivid and real it all still feels, regardless of how deep the cuts still go, you are safe now. And if you’re reading this and you aren’t yet safe, you will be one day, I promise.
It takes time, it takes soothing and distractions, management techniques and most importantly self care, which I found hardest to master as I never felt like I deserved it.
If any of this resonates with you please don’t feel ashamed to go and get help, whether that’s in the form of therapy, exercise, speaking to someone, or just something as simple as a hot bath and some time out for your own mind.
It does get better.
Today I might not feel emotionally okay, but I’m taking solace in the fact I feel physically strong and that I’m still here to write about it all from a positive state of mind and a safe place.
I guess this is why I love Mondays – you finally reach the moment you were dreading but you realise that it’s all different now, and it’s alright.