Recovery can only take place within the context of relationships;
it cannot occur in isolation.

Judith Lewis Herman
Join the Community

Welcome to CPTSD.help

I knew something wasn't right, but I couldn't put my finger on it. I thought I had all the answers for the anxiety, hyper vigilance and recent panic attacks. It was just me being a shy hypersensitive introvert who worked too much. While having relationship issues I decided to visit a therapist. I had some deep worries and needed answers quickly! It took 6 months of weekly therapy and a lot of digging and researching when I stumbled upon Pete Walker's book 'Complex PTSD: From Surviving to Thriving'. It took a while but I finally got my answers...

Putting theory into practice is easier said than done, especially when you have to reinvent yourself. In my online reading I found various sites about the causes, symptoms and solutions. I think informing yourself and getting as much information as possible is a good first step, but the information can be overwhelming, even paralysing. I now realise I had lost something, but had no idea how to deal with it. Moving forward was the only option, but where to? How long does it take to get there? What obstacles could I expect along the way and how would I overcome them? It’s frightening to have to take the journey alone.

About the Community

Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: Knowing the name of it helps. Knowing that you’re not alone helps even more. This community is for the many individuals who have identified their condition as C-PTSD and are embarking on the journey towards recovery. Although that journey is always incredibly personal, it does not have to be taken alone. It's a real-time chat platform where members come together in a secure environment to discuss the various topics around C-PTSD recovery. To facilitate this, you can create new channels, send direct messages and have private one-on-one conversations. The platform is not a substitute for therapy, but acts as an online support group with topics such as:

  • managing emotional flashbacks
  • finding the right therapist
  • mindfulness
  • relationships and family
  • work and hobbies
  • even politics and philosophy

Besides the more 'heavy' topics we have a lounge for casual chat and a place to announce events and media related publications.

We also encourage counsellors and therapists to join the community!

Screenshot: A view of the chatroom homepage and different channels.

What is CPTSD?

Judith Lewis Herman was the first to make the distinction between PTSD and C-PTSD in her book, Trauma and Recovery. Here she describes PTSD as a Type I trauma classification in which a single incident or event triggers the condition. Whereas the Type II classification of C-PTSD is differentiated as "the syndrome that follows upon prolonged, repeated trauma."

While C-PTSD is not yet recognised within the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), it can be broadly defined as a psychological stress injury, resulting from continuous or repeated trauma in which there is an actual or perceived inability to escape.

As there are only a handful of professionals who are aware of the condition, misdiagnosis is common. This is due to the fact that people who experience chronic trauma usually have additional symptoms that you wouldn’t find in sufferers of PTSD. Other than PTSD common misdiagnoses include personality disorders such as Borderline, Dependent, or Masochistic Personality Disorder.

These are some of the additional symptoms C-PTSD sufferers might have:

  • Difficulty managing severe emotions and impulsive behaviour.
  • Viewing the world as a dangerous place, with a sense of hopelessness and despair.
  • All-or-nothing thinking, catastrophising, minimising, and other cognitive distortions.
  • Repressed memories, flashbacks and dissociation.
  • Relationship difficulties including mistrust, isolation and searching for a rescuer.
  • Self-perception and feelings of shame, guilt, self-blame, helplessness, stigma, feeling different to others.
  • Perception of the perpetrator as having total control over them with continual thoughts of perpetrator/abuser.
(source: http://www.ptsd.va.gov/)

Treatment from C-PTSD requires a reinstatement of the control and power that was lost for the traumatised person. Survivors can become empowered through healing relationships that allow for remembrance, mourning, and a reconnection with everyday life. This is the connection that CPTSD.help hopes to create for the many sufferers who are currently going this journey alone. Let the community empower your recovery.

What Comes Next?

While creating the community I had a lot of ideas for improving the website and creating informative tools that would help with C-PTSD recovery. Personally I want to have some sort of recovery timeline, hear from experts what their views on recovery are and have Q&A sessions with people who have recovered from C-PTSD.

Recovery can only take place within the context of relationships;
it cannot occur in isolation.

Judith Lewis Herman

There are certainly many avenues for development and hopefully it will become clearer what people want from the platform once the community grows. Besides new 'tools' I want to create awareness about C-PTSD and provide information for people who aren't familiar with this condition. I hope the community can help with moving this whole platform forward! If you have ideas or questions, please let me know in the chat room.

Counselors & Therapists

Finding a professional counsellor or therapist with whom you feel comfortable is tough enough. Since C-PTSD has not yet been added to the DSM, finding a professional who knows the term, and has trauma experience, can be exhausting.

If you know or are a counsellor or therapist please fill in the details below. You will be contacted with further steps on how to be listed on the website. In the future you will be listed on the C-PTSD directory of trusted counsellors and therapists who have proven experience in the field of trauma recovery.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Do I need to supply personal information to become a member of the community?
    We only ask for a valid email address to signup. When you register for an account you will need to validate your email address by clicking a link we send to you. After validating your email address you need to supply us with a username (nickname) so users can mention you in their messages. This could be anything and you don't have to use your real name.
  • Who is behind this community and are there any third parties involved?
    At the moment it is just me (Adriaan) and there are no other people or parties involved. I might require some moderation support in the future, but for now I don't think it's necessary.
  • How safe is it to use the platform and what happens with my data?
    We use an encrypted connection (TLS/SSL) between the client and server. This means nobody is able to read the messages you send over your connection. All the data is stored in a database and I am looking into how to encrypt this data as well.
  • Why do you ask for donations and what happens with the money I donate?
    At the moment I am paying around 50 dollars/month for hosting the website and chat room. Other costs are the transactional e-mails the platform sends. When the community grows this amount will grow since we need to scale all the resources. I have set up the server, created the website and configure and test the chat room in my personal capacity. In the future I want to build more tools and features and improve the website. This will take a lot of personal time and resources, so the donations will assist in improving and developing the community.
  • Is it possible to end my account when I don't want to be part of the community anymore?
    Go to 'My account' > 'profile' and click the 'Delete my account' button. Your account will be removed. To re-join the community you will have to create a new account again.
  • What software did you use to create the community chat?
    The chat room is created by this amazing open source project called Rocket Chat. Go check them out if you want to create something similar. It is a really amazing platform and it has similar and more features then Slack has.