The cPTSD Cycle of Emotion

Darci Ann Burdett
2 min readDec 18, 2019


Each emotion starts the same. A tension just below the solar plexus, it spirals in you taking grasp of your lungs and moving into the back of your throat begging you to scream. The urge to scream, however, triggers the part of a broken mind trained through years of trauma not to react, not to make a peep of dissatisfaction for fear of alerting your attackers. The silence takes over you.

But this is not peaceful silence; not the silence found by meditation or wisdom, it’s the silence heard when sneaking through a long, dark hallway, up past bedtime and too small to reach the light switches. A silence whose tension allows for the perfect reverberation of your inner thoughts.

Disassociated Scribbles

As the rage inside you continues to build, no longer held at bay by the possibility that you may act, express autonomy or take any step to protect yourself, a slow roar begins building in the silence. Mistaken at first as the rumble of waves, or that of a Southern father’s truck returning home, the truth eventually leeches out into your conscious. Each thought is being shouted, in an overlapping shrill and no hope of distinguishing where one wail ends or begins.

This stage can be unbearable for many of us. It can be the stage that sends us into a panic, chasing us under the bed, into the closet, or out into the streets, in hopes that the sound of another human voice might shatter the echo of silence.

For those that hold on, those of us who have been granted the opportunity to survive our illness and learn how to weather the maddening unheard cries of our inner child, horrendous and life-shattering thoughts await: demands that others are worthless, negligent and to be disposed of for your own safety; a forever lingering insistence that the battle has been long enough and all hope is lost; a crying fear that action, or inaction could lead to an irreconcilable end that either freezes or forces one into an unwilling participant of what’s to come.

Some will fall prey to these thoughts and cause unforgettable harm, many, many times in their journeys, others may push this experience down so deep its existence is not once recognized. Each of us are terrified of this cycle with its potential for possibilities outside of conventional imagination: attacking a lover with a car key, hiding in the park until dawn, or shredding your identity to pieces in front of your closest friends.

Each time, we traumatize ourselves again. The demands get louder, the insistence more believable, and the fear more suffocating.

always surv;ve | never surrender



Darci Ann Burdett

Struggling millennial with a tendency to rant on delicate topics, with comma splices.