This Is What High Functioning Complex PTSD Actually Looks Like

I wake up every morning and fight a battle with my brain and body to get up and get ready for my day and if I’m lucky, getting out of bed will not send shooting pain through my whole body from my Fibromyalgia. Some days it takes energy I don’t even have just to get that far.

Somehow I manage to get to work or school or just get up and get my homework done for the week, because I work full time and attend school full time and manage to juggle single motherhood all at the same time. This would exhaust anyone I realize but what I need the people close to me to understand is that it goes beyond exhaustion. I am also battling panic attacks, constant anxiety, unexplained nerve pain and emotional flashbacks.

My body is in a constant state of fight or flight.

Of course I take medications, a lot of them actually, but please don’t assume that they are magic beans that suddenly cure me because they don’t always help. Sure I am grateful for the help they do give me, I know they help me function and some help me sleep without nightmares but they only help.

I dissociate often, sometimes I find it hard to carry on conversations with anyone because my brain will shut down and go somewhere else before I realize I haven’t heard a word of what someone else has been saying, please understand I am not intending to be rude when this happens, I just find it hard to shut my brain down.

I isolate myself and I cancel plans because large groups of people send me into a panic mode, I lose friends this way but that’s how it always goes, I keep the friends who understand me and that I am not being a bad friend by cancelling, I keep the friends who ask “what can I do to help?” when this happens. This isn’t many but it’s enough.

I do most of my shopping online and the shopping I do in person I try to do late at night or early on weekday mornings when there’s few people there, crowded stores set off a hyper vigilance that affects every part of me.

When the sun goes down, my demons come out, some nights I lay awake all night with my head spinning with jumbled thoughts and fears, other nights I sleep too much.

Please don’t call me “lazy” or tell me to “get over it.” My past is what it is, I cannot change it but it won’t let go of me and I can’t change that either, all I can do is function. 

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Published Author, Single Mother, Student, Healthcare worker Follow Liz on Instagram or read more articles from Liz on Thought Catalog.

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