In a crisis? Call or text 988

Home / Stories

Trauma Survivor to a Trauma Doctor: Jess’ story

Diagnosed with complex PTSD following years of abuse and assault, finishing doctorate in trauma-informed care, better able to provide support to others because of her experience and thrived when employer gave her the opportunity to excel.

Written story

Why is it important for you to share your story?

My story is one of overcoming adversity, especially as relates to the roadblocks put up by stigma

Share your lived experience

I live with complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (cPTSD) following years of abuse and multiple assaults. It took a long time to be accurately diagnosed, because so many of the physical symptoms I experienced were treated as their own disorders. It took many years and multiple providers before anyone bothered to ask about my family and relationship history, tying that together with what my body was doing to grasp the bigger picture. The intensive trauma therapy that I went through following diagnosis saved my life, but my cPTSD is a lifelong disability. Though most of my physical symptoms have resolved and the frequency of dissociative episodes has lessened, there are ongoing effects that make interpersonal relationships difficult. There’s also the stigma I face, like when potential employers have questioned my ability to care for other people experiencing trauma when I have a trauma history myself. But the thing they don’t understand is that my history makes me BETTER at caring for others. When I found a place that gave me the opportunity to show what I could do, I excelled. I have ongoing care with a therapist, a supportive group of friends and colleagues, a fantastic little dog, and a helpful self-care routine. I am now an expert on Trauma-Informed Care, finishing my doctorate in that field, and I’m a highly effective member of the spiritual care department.