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What is Complex Ptsd? For me, it was like carrying around a ticking countdown clock just waiting for a precise moment to remove all of my mental health. To top it off, I didn’t know this countdown clock existed.


What is Complex Ptsd?


July, 2020

What is Complex Ptsd? For me, it was like carrying around a ticking countdown clock just waiting for a precise moment to remove all of my mental health. To top it off, I didn’t know this countdown clock existed.

Most of us don’t realise this countdown clock exists, so we continue to pursue our life over the years, wondering why anxiety, depression and other illnesses seemingly appear out of nowhere. And for some of us the unknown ticking clock runs out of batteries and we literally lose our cognitive abilities and are unable to function.

Complex Ptsd, Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, occurs after a child has parents/caretakers who are physically, emotionally, sexually and/or verbally abusive. The hardest part as an adult who grows up in this environment is coming to understand it’s not normal. The next challenge is realising we’ve been busy doing life and busy also unconsciously numbing the past. 

My GP was more shocked than I was when I told him I had Post Natal Depression. It took me 5 months to work up the courage to tell him. His first response was “what, you, no way!” and I immediately wondered “why not me?” When I listed all the symptoms he immediately knew I wasn’t joking around. Especially because this was in the days when admitting you had a mental health problem wasn’t the done thing.

A Psychological Wound

Complex Ptsd is an interpersonal, psychological wound. Our parents/caregivers need to give us love and attention for us to feel safe, to thrive, and to know love. For our brains to be able to develop in a healthy fashion. CPtsd ensures different parts of our brain will be larger and smaller. In recent times it’s been shown as we recover the size of the different parts of the brain impacted by Childhood Developmental Trauma (CPtsd) can return to normal. Each year Scientists discover more about the brain and the impact of Complex Ptsd.

This chart details a lot of Complex Ptsd symptoms and underneath you’ll find a chart of Complex Ptsd Symptoms I’ve put together to make it easy for us to identify with the symptoms. Both charts are included as the more information we have the sooner we can identify what is happening and how we can begin treatment.


From the chart below how many symptoms do you identify with?


Most people relate to or have heard of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – Ptsd. However, Ptsd is not interpersonal and can be just one incident, and not necessarily during Childhood. Complex Ptsd and Ptsd can occur at the same time – called co-occuring symptoms.


The following table breaks down the differences between Ptsd and Complex Ptsd.


For me, it’s been a long recovery road after losing all my cognitive functions and I wouldn’t wish the journey on anyone. If you’re suffering from any form of depression, anxiety or mental health challenges see your G.P. and ask for an ACEs test to be done. If they don’t know what you mean, here’s the link to one – ACEs test. This is to help you get a correct diagnosis AND to receive the proper medical treatment you need.

If Complex Ptsd is your diagnosis then please make sure your Therapist or Trauma Recovery Coach is able to work effectively with you and help you recover effectively. Too many people are spending years, decades in Therapy when there is more effective help available today for Complex Ptsd recovery.  Feel welcome to check out the Coaching FAQs page for some answers Coaching FAQs


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