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Unsure of the future

Community Member

Hi all, so I have only recently being diagnosed with c-ptsd and I am currently getting help for that, which seems to be going well. The question I keep coming up with that I can't find an answer for is what works for everyone else when they are trying to figure out their lives and who they are moving forward? I have spent so much of my life stuck in that flight or fight response that I'm just not sure on how to move on.

2 Replies 2

Eagle Ray
Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Dear Jasemine,


 I understand your feelings and have found myself also trying to figure out the future as I come to terms with the past.


One thing that could help is finding something you love doing and immersing yourself in it. For me this has been photography. It is something I chose to learn about because I was drawn to it and it now feels part of my identity. So I have a building block going forward in my sense of self that doesn’t have to be defined by things from the past. Apparently being immersed in activities we love is calming for the part of the brain called the default mode network which is where we tend to ruminate. This can happen a lot with c-ptsd as we can go over and over past events, often continuously reactivating our fight-or-flight response or freeze response. So by quietening this ruminating part of the brain and being immersed in something we love doing, we can often deactivate the trauma circuits and start building new neural pathways that are healthier. In turn this can put us in a better position moving forward with our life.


Also, I think connections and a sense of belonging with people who are healthy for us helps us build trust and safety. It then becomes easier to have a sense of a place in the world, in turn making it easier for us to know how to go forward with our lives. So gradually finding people we connect with, perhaps through common interests, we start to have a sense of belonging. That can help us know ourselves better as humans are meant to connect relationally in the context of forming a sense of self. As children we are supposed to form a sense of self through healthy relationships with our caregivers, but this often goes wrong in c-ptsd and we can end up with a damaged sense of self instead. Often working with a good therapist is a beginning point for starting to know that people can be safe, and then we start to form healthier relationships in our lives as we develop a sense of self in relation to the world.


 I recently took myself on two road trips which was precisely breaking out of the stuckness of being in a freeze response. It’s like I activated the flight response (get in car and travel) which got me out of freeze and then brought me back to a kind of equilibrium. It engaged the curious part of my brain as I explored new places and I was doing photography which completely absorbed me and took me out of a trauma pattern I’d recently fallen back into. So I think finding circuit breakers that break up the reality we’ve always known and having new experiences can help us move forward. I began to have creative ideas about my future while on my trip which I feel happened because I broke out of those familiar trauma patterns.


 I don’t know if I’ve explained things that well or if that helps, but those are the thoughts that come to mind in response to your question. I’d be interested to know how others with c-ptsd have found ways to move forward.


Take care and all the best on your journey.

Community Member

Dear Jasemine, 
I hope you will find some comfort in that you are not alone. There are many of us out there - lost, struggling and doing our best to just pull through another day. Something that really helped me is a book called The Untethered Soul by Alan Singer.