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How Do I Cope?

From a teen in Indonesia: I am a 19 y.o. female who experiences abuse since childhood (verbally and physically) from my caregiver and was diagnosed with chronic depression. However, I feel like my symptomps are more compatible with C-PTSD. Another disturbing feeling I experienced but not listed in the C-PTSD symptomps is a sense of sadness and loss of momentary joy when I part with my friends. I also feel like though I have friends that (supposedly) dear me, I also feel like I’m alone and can’t depend/open up to them because I feel like I’m being bothersome. I feel like I have no one I could really rely on and it could be frustratingly lonely sometimes. I have a difficult time putting my feelings to words and I feel like nobody can really understand.
My question is: are those normal feelings someone with C-PTSD experiences or is there something else going on with me?

I live in a small city in South Asia and the psychiatrists I saw are not familiar with C-PTSD. Please kindly help answer my worries. Thank you.

I’m very glad you wrote. The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) identifies complex PTSD as a separate condition, though the DSM-5 currently does not. Although you believe that your doctors are unfamiliar with the disorder, I suspect they are. If not, they can learn about it on the internet just as you did.

I don’t know enough about you to answer whether it is an appropriate diagnosis for you.  What matters to me is not the label but your level of distress and your level of functioning.

Some of what you describe is common for someone your age. The teen years are a time when people figure out who they are and who they feel most comfortable with socially. It is not unusual to go through periods of doubt about friends, feelings of being misunderstood, and worries about how to express one’s own feelings. Because it is usual doesn’t make it any less painful. But it’s important to sort out what is mental illness and what is developmental. Your provider can help you with this.

I hope you are able to see a therapist regularly to learn ways to cope with depression. You might also find it supportive to join one of the forums here at PsychCentral.

Just a friendly reminder: Get enough sleep. Eat well. Get outside for some exercise each day. I know. I know. This may not sound like psychological advice. But, trust me. Taking care of the body is an important part of taking care of our mental health. If you wait until you “feel like” doing these things, they aren’t likely to happen. It’s important to do the best you can to do them every day whether you “feel like it” or not. Doing them will make you feel at least somewhat better.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie


from Ask the Therapist

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