I recently got into a bit of an argument with Sam Dylan Finch. In his post “Am I Traumatized Enough For A Complex PTSD Diagnosis?” he described the hesitance people often have in claiming this diagnosis, and failing to address the importance of their condition.
I thought it was an interesting question. I played devil´s advocate and wrote that a diagnosis as serious might inhibit someones ability to understand the temporary nature of their pain, and move past the event. If your hamster just died, a cPTSD diagnosis would not help.
The best thing to do, I said, would be to talk to a therapist. The therapist and you can determine whether you are suffering from cPTSD or just in understandable pain because your hamster died. Sam disagreed, and said therapy is a privilege not everyone can afford.
I think he meant that often, people will only take themselves seriously after receiving a formal diagnosis. Which is in part true. Back when I had undiagnosed cPTSD, I was afraid people would think I was just pretending to be messed up in order to get some attention.
It took me a while to figure out that I was suffering from this condition, and it would not be until six years later that I received the “official” diagnosis from a psychiatrist. But here´s the thing. I had been through sixteen years of violence. I feared for my life more than once.
PTSD is a devastating, awful condition to have. It can put you in a very vulnerable position – the position of a victim. Validating your own symptoms is a good thing – but thinking that you have a condition that will ruin the rest of your life, is potentially debilitating.
I think everybody who has ever searched their own symptoms on Google – only to find out that they had terminal cancer and have a major panic attack – can agree with me here. Take yourself seriously, examine what you are feeling, and if you suspect you have PTSD – seek help.