Kimberley Cox talking CPTSD

In this Episode of Love your Diagnosis, I talk with Kimberley about her diagnosis of CPTSD.

CPTSD is an anxiety condition that has similar effects to PTSD

When the underlying trauma is repeated and ongoing, some mental health professionals make a distinction between PTSD and the more intense, complex PTSD (C-PTSD).

Due to Kimberley’s traumatic childhood, she was misdiagnosed for a while with depression and bipolar, but it was soon rectified when the diagnosis came in for CPTSD and has been treating and managing this ever since.

Links to Kim’s you tube story:

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A little side note:

These shows are meant to create food for thought for people going through similar situations. Planting seeds of information about things that perhaps you never knew could and might assist in treating and managing the symptoms associated with your diagnosis.

Alternative treatments are out there to be used, alongside allopathic medicine, or instead of.

That part is completely up to you, but gaining knowledge is the first part in empowering yourself back to health.


Lainie 0:07

Welcome to the love your diagnosis podcast. And today we have Kimberly Cox on all the way from the United States. We've had a few United States people, where are you exactly from? Kimberly?

Kimberley C 0:21

Indianapolis, Indiana.

Lainie 0:23

Okay, see that somewhere is not on my bucket list should it be?

Kimberley C 0:29

It is really nice there it actually, uh, we're about, oh, the four hours from Chicago.

Lainie 0:35

And what makes Indianapolis what what puts it on the map?

Kimberley C 0:40

Well, it's like the biggest city really in Indiana. And I grew up I was raised in Chicago, not raised, but I was born in Chicago. So that was a little bit too big for me. But Indianapolis is like, not small town, but it's definitely not huge Chicago. So.

Lainie 0:59

Alright, so let's get cracking. Now, Kimberly, you have a history of dealing with PTSD, but not just that not PTSD, as it is post traumatic stress disorder, but C PTSD, which is complex, post traumatic disorder. So how long ago were you diagnosed with this, and a brief description of how it affects your life. Now, if you're still dealing with it

Kimberley C 1:29

okay. I was actually like, officially diagnosed about six years ago. And basically, it's when I look at, like, mental health in general, and like, dealing with mental health, I feel like it will affect you for a long term, really, in a way, because it's layers of healing. And so I have been through, you know, quite a bit of healing, but there's still days when I just don't have... something will hit me and I just won't be able to, you know, do normal things. Like, you know, you go okay, like, let's go do dishes or something like that. And yeah,

Lainie 2:14

how old were you when you were kind of diagnosed with it?

Kimberley C 2:19

When I was diagnosed, I was about 34.

Lainie 2:24

Okay. Now, were you diagnosed with the C, PTSD or just the PTSD? And we'll go into later what the differences because there actually is now it's now being shown that there is a bit of a difference.

Kimberley C 2:38

Yes. I was diagnosed with C, PTSD day, basically, I was actually misdiagnosed with something else first, and then they took me off of those meds. And we're like, no, it's C PTSD.

Lainie 2:51

Well, let's first talk about what the difference is. Because this is this is your world and you understand it. I've read a bit about it. But from your understanding of it, what is the actual difference between the two?

Kimberley C 3:03

with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder you're going to deal with Like, the symptoms like intrusive thoughts and flashbacks, and the whole emotional side of things and everything with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it's kind of like it is PTSD. It's just because it has happened. The complex part is it's happened either repeatedly or prolonged exposure to the trauma.

Lainie 3:35

Yes. So their particular situations so, PTSD, they sort of claim is that it's a single traumatic event. Yes, that can have have a repercussions for people. And C, PTSD is where you have long lasting trauma that continues and repeats for months or maybe years. Yes, right. Correct. So when they diagnosed you with the cPTSD Did they did you have to go through a whole lot of psychological tests? What were the tests that they actually ran in order to do this diagnosis?

Kimberley C 4:14

For me personally, it was a lot of talking to my therapist, because I had been in therapy. And knowing the traumatic background that I had as a child and things like that, she kind of went, Okay, like, if the meds aren't working for what they gave them to you, you know, if they're not doing what they're supposed to, then you don't need those. So that's not what it is. And kind of through process of elimination, they just kind of said, it's got to be that and then the more we dug into it, the more we kind of unpacked some of the symptoms and some of the things of it, it just really made more sense.

Lainie 4:54

Okay because I know that CPTSD they used to just say what with vets war veterans that came back, you know, as we said, long lasting trauma that can grow for years, you know. But now they're saying that there are other, there are other groups of people that can experience that. And childhood trauma is definitely one of them. Yes. So you were on medication that wasn't working, What were you experiencing? What was some of the symptoms that you're experiencing that weren't going away with the medication.

Kimberley C 5:27

So what what actually happened was, I was put on medication for depression, between my first, between my oldest and my youngest child, and I couldn't get them any longer from my OB. So they had to, I had to go and actually go talk to a psychiatrist. And the psychiatrist diagnosed me with bipolar disorder, which was not what it was. And the meds that he gave me for that were supposed to chill out my being, you know, my anxiety and stuff like that. And basically, all they did was they made me like a zombie completely.

Lainie 6:14

Right. Did they keep upping the medication thinking it wasn't working?

Kimberley C 6:19

No, no, they did not. I told them, I was like, because there was they were got me to a point where I just had no emotion whatsoever. And so at that point, it was like, this is not, this is not what we need to be fixed. This is not where we're at. So they took me off of that. And then I went back through just a whole lot of CBT.

Lainie 6:46

What's that?

Kimberley C 6:48

Cognitive behaviour therapy? So talk therapy, basically,

Lainie 6:52

how did you basically get them to understand that it wasn't bipolar?

Kimberley C 6:58

Well, it was one of those things where it was like, I was on the meds, I was actually worse, at not being able to function. Because if you don't have the emotional capacity to really do stuff at that point, and it just basically shut my emotions down to where I would just like, go do something and come back. And I mean, I could function. But I just wasn't myself. And when I told them that and just said, you know, there's, I can't do this, like, you're gonna have to do something else. And then my therapist did talk to the psychiatrist.

Lainie 7:40

Okay. And so once the diagnosis of bipolar was kind of trashed, your therapist then had this idea that it would that it was potentially C, PTSD.

Kimberley C 7:54

Yes. And they had kind of always had that underlying, I think on there too, just from my childhood and things like that.

Lainie 8:01

Have you uncovered, And you don't have to discuss this at all. But have you uncovered the actual traumatic event and you're working on that now?

Kimberley C 8:10

I have, it was a series of a lot of events. What's interesting to me about trauma is that everybody experiences trauma differently. And we all pretty much have some form of trauma in our life, there's always been, there's been some kind of event that's happened, that we could put to a level that it was traumatic. So it's when you go through something that's traumatic, a lot of times people will say, well, it wasn't as bad as XY and Z, or whatever. But it all depends on how your body reacts to the events

Lainie 8:51

Body, Mind brain. Yeah, that's a bit of a holistic thing with trauma and and very, very important to understand that what is traumatic for one person isn't for another and there is no right or wrong. It's someone's experience. So have you had to relive this trauma to be able to heal it? Or how have they How have they attempted to be able to assist you in dealing with trauma?

Kimberley C 9:16

I actually did go through a little bit of EMDR. Eye Movement, desensitisation, and reprocessing something or other but um, it's basically a sort of a form of hypnotism that they do to you to try to get you to get into that memory, and then kind of realise that you're an adult and you're safe and everything's okay. And kind of lessen the trauma, the trauma around the event, and I went to that for a little bit and my, my particular story has a lot of pieces to it because it was a lot of have repeated trauma in different areas from different things. That just kind of like, as soon as you'd catch your breath, boom, something else would happen. So as I was going through that I actually had another traumatic event happen. And we had to move town and stuff like that. So I'm actually in the process of going back through therapy now.


And what age group were you when, when they this happened between what ages,

Kimberley C:

the very first bit of trauma that I ever experienced was basically, as young as I can remember,


sorry, to hear that, Kimberly,

Kimberley C:

like, my first traumatic experience was about eight years of my parents just absolutely screaming and yelling, and just fighting every single night that I could ever remember. And there was a lot of alcohol abuse and stuff that happened during that time. So it was like, that was my normal. That was how I was when my brain was, you know, doing all its developing stuff as a baby like that was how normal was


and how old are you? Now? If you don't mind me?

Kimberley C:

Okay, great.


You made it. Yep. Incredible. It's only gonna get better for me. Yes, yes. When you when you were sitting in that doctor's office, and they basically said, Yes, you have this, and this is your diagnosis. How did you feel we relieved? Were you nervous?

Kimberley C:

I was a little bit angry, actually. Because I felt like, I don't want to say I felt like it wasn't a real diagnosis. But I felt like, Okay, I already knew I've been through all this traumatic experience, give me something that has something that you can do with it. Don't just give me this, like, okay, sorry, you've been through all this. Here you go, this is what you have. And it wasn't until about maybe a month ago, a couple months ago, actually, that I really got to come face to face with exactly what C PTSD is. I think a lot of times we think of trauma affecting like, your mental state, but not necessarily your physical state and things like that. If you're in one piece, and you're fine, but it really has a lot of ties to your nervous system, and to how you, you know, handle things.


So what happened a month ago, Kimberly, do you can't share? Oh, yeah,

Kimberley C:

I kind of hit one of those walls where I was just really, really mad. I'm a single mom right now. And my daughter, my oldest daughter has some disabilities and stuff too. And I was just really frustrated. And so I started digging into more mental health stuff, like just kind of binge watching every YouTube video, I could find stuff like that, when it finally put it face to face with me that like, okay, all of these physical things, the fatigue, the fact that sometimes you just cannot get your brain to get into gear to do things, they'll, you know, off and on little bouts of depression and things like that, like those are all things that have happened to you because of the trauma. And then you add in certain ways that I react, like it's very difficult for me in interpersonal relationships, because I'm always like, second guessing myself and not communicating correctly. And I actually have an ADHD diagnosis too. So when you put them both on top of each other, it becomes really sometimes difficult in communicating with people in, you know, some of like, just your normal everyday stuff. And as I was digging into it, I got to a place where I was like, this really is not your fault like this is this is all stuff. That is because you've had stress hormones in your body for so long. That that's what your systems used to.


Wow so great, so you've stopped blaming yourself.

Kimberley C:

I've stopped blaming myself, I've come to a place I think, with healing I think especially when it comes to like traumatic experiences and grief and things like that. We tend to think like there's an end point. At some point, you're going to get to where you're normal again, or you're going to get to where you're okay again. And I've come to this place where I've realised that my brain is just not wired the same because of everything that I've been through. And so it's not gonna, can I, can I manage things? And can I find ways to make things easier and stuff? Yes. And you can certainly live, you know, a very normal life that way. But there's always going to be that chance that there's going to be a trigger or something is going to happen like that.


So are you on medication? Now?

Kimberley C:

I am on ADHD medication, but that's it.


Okay And is that helping you,

Kimberley C:

it actually does help a lot. It helps me to kind of focus and stay so that my brain isn't all over the place, which definitely helps with homeschooling, and housework and all that kind of stuff.


it's a lot to unpack, I mean, you know, your own and then dealing with your own children as well, single mom a lot to unpack a lot for your brain to be able to kind of find its normal. So within all you're researching and watching YouTube, and things like that, did you find any avenues outside of the allopathic medicine approach to what you're dealing with, that you can do for yourself?

Kimberley C:

I think the biggest thing with dealing with all of this is, I got to that point where I, you know, I'm understanding what's going on more. And then I'm able to kind of be gentle with myself, and create strategies and create things that helped me to get through things. You know, I have like a million post it notes all over my wall with, you know, quotes and stuff like that and things.


And are there any like recommended lifestyle choices that you can adopt to be able to help the brain assist with the trauma? Or trying to reprogram the brain? Is there any is there anything that that is being recommended besides just medicine and therapy that you can actually do to help reprogram your brain?

Kimberley C:

I haven't dove into all of it and stuff like that, because I'm sure there are there are avenues. I've definitely seen stuff for like ADHD and stuff like that. So and I know that EMDR does work for trauma. I think that one of the things that I have done that has helped me the most, is to just listen to my body. Some days, when you don't have as much energy, you just move things to another day because though there will be another day it'll it'll go on, instead of wearing yourself down to nothing and burning yourself out, are getting frustrated and creating more of that stress hormone in your body. To just, you know, meditation, I definitely do meditation, and just trying to listen to your body.


Would you say that you love your diagnosis? and why

Kimberley C:

I do , I feel like I would not be who I am today. Had I have not been through everything that I've been through. And coming out on the other side of it. I can say my brain might not be wired the same as other people's is. But that definitely gives me a different perspective on things. And I think that sometimes that perspective is a good thing.


Absolutely. And do you still feel like you're on the journey of learning? Like, are you are you interested in learning more about how to reprogram your brain and deal with the trauma?

Kimberley C:

Yes, definitely.


There's lots out there. I mean, yeah. Have you heard of neuroplasticity?

Kimberley C:

Yes, that I have.


Have you attempted anything on that realm? Joe Dispenza. His work?

Kimberley C:

No, I haven't yet. haven't gotten that far. Like I said, it's just been about a month or two that I finally stopped trying to just shove the diagnosis under the rug. And you know, keep going and kind of took it out and said, Okay, we're going to live with this.


So this is relatively new this epiphany for you. Yes. Yeah. Fantastic. I'm excited for you to go on this journey. Because I know with my own diagnosis, I'm 25 to 30 years down the track of looking at ways of managing and treating it and I'm definitely in a great place in my life. Yeah, there comes a time when you just have to stop unpacking why it's there. And you've done all the work and you just, you get a chance to just enjoy yourself and your little idiosyncrasies, and, and your vulnerabilities and stuff like that. So I'm excited for you, Kim. Never give up. Never give up looking for that answer that's going to make your life amazing. Well, thank you. So would you have as some parting words to people that are potentially going through what you have or what you are? Do you have any parting words? Words of advice or things that people should look into, if they're feeling like, it's not just PTSD, but it could be complex PTSD,

Kimberley C:

I would say that when it comes to complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, it's definitely it impacts your, you know, your emotions, it impacts your ability to deal with interpersonal relationships and stuff. And if you're feeling that definitely, you know, look into some type of therapy, something like that. And don't be hard on yourself. Don't think, oh, you know, I'm just no good at this, or I can't do that, or whatever. Like, I think sometimes we blame ourselves, because we don't understand all of the different ways that trauma can affect us. And so we just think, okay, it's been over for whatever, we should just get over it and get on with life, you're always going to be a part of your story, it's always going to be a part of who you are. And so just to, you know, realise that some days are going to be really good and some days aren't and get the help that you need to move forward. I did on my YouTube channel, I've got a two part video up there where I tell my story. So it's, it's up there I am, I guess, because I deal with light. And this is one thing that I didn't put in there, because I wasn't thinking of it until now, obviously, but like I tend to dissociate sometimes. So dissociation is like what the brain does as a coping mechanism. So my brain tends to do it anytime. Either the past is brought up and I have to like, tell my story. It'll feel very much like I'm unfeeling during it. Like I don't bawl my eyes out when I'm telling the story. And I might look like I'm smiling or whatever, but I'm not fully there. If that makes sense.


Completely. You've built a resistance up and attachment to it. Yeah, as a survival mechanism. I know it well, because I kind of, you know, with my own traumas have done the same thing. Yeah, great, beautiful parting words, and find supportive friends and family that can be there for you definitely assume thank you so much for sharing your story and being brave enough to combat your trauma. So you can live a really fulfilling life for yourself. sorry that you had to go through that.

Kimberley C:

Thank you for having me


Yeah, my pleasure. And, and I will put the links that you sent to me up so that people can look deeper into it if they want to. Okay. Thank you so much and take care of yourself. All right.

Kimberley C:

Thanks, you too.


Bye. Bye.