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Hello! LIVING with Complex Trauma Disorder; Complex PTSD

Updated: 2 days ago

Well, hello there! (Big, deeply warm hug)


I'm so glad you're here! Two very important things I think you should know before reading on is that first, my blog posts are written in the format of a letter to someone I love and second, I'm writing under a pseudonym, Evangeline North, in order to protect my family and the identities of the people I write about. Just so you know, each person I include in my writing will also be given a pseudonym.


My husband Ezra and I have been married for 20 years (can you believe it?!?!). Over the last 20 years, because of Ezra’s education and various jobs, we’ve moved all over the country and for a short stint we lived overseas. Sienna, our daughter, has grown up to be a very strong-willed and intelligent pre-teen; she’s beautiful and silly. I’ve both enjoyed this stage of her life and loathed it. We also have Max, who is a lively and very funny elementary aged boy. We adopted Max two years ago so, honestly, we are still at the beginning stages of bonding and creating a good dynamic as a family of four.


We live in a suburban neighborhood in beautiful Colorado. Our family loves to explore new places through camping, hiking, bike riding or some kind of other adventure. Personally, I love to take pictures, worship Jesus, paint, write, kickbox and most recently, I’ve started participating in Tae Kwon Do. I’ve worked as a product photographer for the last year. Before this I was a teacher for seventeen years, however, Covid and the adoption of Max helped in redirecting my purpose.


Because of spending the first eighteen years of life enduring several forms of childhood abuse, short-term homelessness, and long-term poverty I began finding it very difficult to cope with everyday life and trust the people and world around me. Around 2014 I was diagnosed with Complex Trauma Disorder (CTD). I’ve never met anyone else diagnosed with this disorder, but I know plenty of people who meet the criteria and I've often wondered if you do too? I carry a few unseen bruises because of the complications that come with my racial mix and the light color of my skin.


The day I was diagnosed I remember the anger I had as my psychologist explained my diagnosis. I remember thinking, after all the beatings and the name calling and the meanness, instead of getting a gold fucking metal you’re telling me I have a mental illness? Then, along with that shock came a second special kind of gift called shame. For too long I saw my diagnosis as evidence of my incompetence, my inability, and my low worth.


If I were to do it all over again, I would listen to my diagnosis, allow myself to be angry about it and then I would go out and celebrate myself. I’d celebrate my endurance, my survival, and my diagnosis as a new start to life, a chance for a new normal, for healing, for wholeness, for connection.


My adult life, although it has been filled with crazy amounts of grief, loneliness, confusion, anger, and fear, has also, especially after understanding my diagnosis, been filled with clarity and joy.


If you’re just asking questions for the first time, just starting your abuse recovery journey or just starting the process of understanding the complicated reality of Complex Trauma Disorder; Complex PTSD and how it affects you and others, I hope you hear from my experience that there’s hope. You are capable, you are worth more than you can imagine and there is reason in each season of the process to celebrate your growth.


The most important thing I’ve learned in my process is, I can’t do it alone so, Jesus is who I anchor to. Jesus says, “I have come that they may have life and have life abundantly.” John 10:10b. He wants to give you that...an abundant life. I didn’t know it at the time, but my diagnosis was part of how Jesus began to heal me. It’s not a life sentence. Its information about myself that God uses to restore all my broken parts.


If you keep coming back to my blog what you will find are stories about how God has restored and redeemed my life. I’ll be sharing my experiences, ways I cope with triggers, things I do to attach to my children and ways I see Gods love for me.


I hope you have a safe place to sleep tonight and a full belly. Praying for your mental health.

-Evangeline





Mailbox filled with snow and a letter with a stamp on it
A Letter To You




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