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Bruised but Not Broken

Bruised but Not Broken

by Katelyn Friesen

| PTSD: My Story Project #014

Trigger warning

My trauma didn’t make me stronger. No. My trauma made me traumatized. It made me weak and gave me sleepless nights, seizures, syncope, chronic illness, and memory loss. It gave me feelings I never wanted…but GOD! GOD GAVE ME THE STRENGTH TO GET STRONGER—to drag myself out of a dark place and deal with the consequences that weren’t my fault, but rather part of His great providence. We might be bruised but not broken.

This is why I take part in the PTSD: My Story Project – to tell people that trauma is the very thing God uses to draw us to Himself. To raise awareness that there’s hope found in The Gospel. To validate our stories of hardship without minimizing the pain. And to encourage the deepest parts of your hurt with the truth found in God’s Word.

I hope my story makes you feel a little less alone and reminds you of how loved and treasured you are in Christ Jesus. That you are never too far from His love and care. He meets you where you’re at and not only in recovery. I hope you see this in my own PTSD story. May you see how, through my valleys, He guides and protects me. He does the same for you. May you see His hand over your trauma journey. Here’s my story about how we might be bruised, but never broken.

A blonde girl with glasses and black top on the right side and an inspirational quote about being bruised but not broken on the left side with the title PTSD: My Story Project on Journeyofsmiley Blog

Read also ‘How to Turn Fear Into Gratitude by Sarah Ruesch

My story of being bruised but not broken

I was always a misfit child. Struggled with behaviors at home. Misdiagnosis after misdiagnosis of what the problem was in my life landed me an anxiety diagnosis by the age of 10 years old. In middle school, I became a target of bullying and wrestled with self-injurious thoughts and behaviors. Fast forward to high school, I was not okay. Psych med after psych med, psych ward after psych ward, 30-day treatment program after 30-day treatment program, I had no desire to live. Struggling with my mental health took a toll on my social life and rejection and bullying were a huge part of my adolescent years.

By the time I turned 18, I had qualified for ECT treatments (formerly known as shock treatments) and underwent 50+ sessions until age 21. By this time, no change in my mental health had taken place, and with me, still as dangerous to myself as ever, my family and I sought treatment at a year-long Christian home guaranteed to heal me of my addictions. We were lied to. Over and over. I was verbally abused day in and day out. As well as spiritually abused as God’s Word was twisted and held above my head. Made to believe I was safe in these people’s care. There I was, miles and states away from my safe place of home, still thinking the way I was self-injury-wise, but now in an abusive environment.

A young lady with glasses and blonde hair is smiling from behind tree branches and green leaves

Read also ‘There Is Nothing Wrong With You by Karen Sargent

Our body remembers

Looking back, Jesus protected me from a lot but it wasn’t until I came to the end of myself there in that abuse, that I realized my need for a Savior. I had no other option. If I couldn’t have a safety net around me on earth at that moment, I thought, why not try what everyone has been trying to instil in me? I needed Hope, and there I found it, alone, in the promises of the Bible.

I surrendered my life to Christ that day. It didn’t stop the abuse, in fact, it continued all around me for 6 more months, but God remained so faithful and closed that rehab down and reunited me with my loving family. I would lie to you if I said it’s been easy since. In fact, my life I would say has got harder.

58% of people with PTSD develop an autoimmune disease of some kind. I hit that jackpot with developing Functional Neurological Disorder (FND) and possible dysautonomia, gastroparesis, fibromyalgia, and many others. I suffer daily with symptoms that make me unable to work or do simple daily tasks. It’s hard not to blame my abusers. It’s hard not to turn my fists heavenward and blame God for allowing me to go through bullying, severe clinical medication-resistant depression, ECT treatments, 10 months of physical, emotional, and spiritual abuse that I can never unsee, as well as the daily trauma of now being a disabled dependent 27 year old for my daily needs like bathing and brushing hair.

a young lady with blonde hair down and glasses standing in front of the sea

Read also ‘You Are Never Alone by Jannette Fuller

Surrendering to God

The Names of God are such a comfort to me. One of my favorites is Jehovah Shomri, God is my protector. Just meditating on that gets me thinking about how he protects me and everybody that has and is walking me through so much. He never fails. When the timing is right, He will make it happen. He ended the bullying. He ended my traumatic rehab experience. I might be bruised, but I am not broken. And one day, He will end my trauma-induced suffering, whether that be earthside, or in Heaven with Him because of my faith in Jesus Christ. He kneels down to the brokenhearted and heals the crushed in spirit. And He binds up the wounds of the afflicted and weeps with those who weep.

One of my favorite promises in the Bible of how He protects us you can read in Isaiah and again in Matthew. “A bruised reed He will not break…in His faithfulness He will bring forth justice.” Reeds may be bruised and bent from the weight of their burdens, but it’s that very weight and bruising that makes them beautiful. God will not break them. What a promise that through the beauty of the unknown and hardship of bruising, he brings forth justice, if not here, then in eternity. He will do it for me, because of His brutal trauma He endured on my behalf on the cross one dreaded day.

Bruised but not broken

And if the worst of traumas can bring forth redemption to humans kind, because of Jesus coming back and rising again, making a place for me and you to live free of suffering of all kinds (even PTSD!), with Him forever, then my trauma story, I will surrender to Him as my life span living with PTSD is nothing compared to an eternity spent without it, basking in the beauty of my Savior.

So I will live to tell my PTSD story from the mountaintops and valleys low. I will shout how what the enemy tried to break me with, left me with only beautiful bruises, and it’s those very bruises that He used and continues to use to draw me to Himself. Joni Eareckson Tada says, “God uses what He hates to accomplish what He loves.” And I couldn’t sum up my PTSD story in any better way. Bruised but not broken. Faithful to bring out justice. Jehovah Shomri! What a protector He is!

Katelyn Friesen

Katelyn Friesen lives outside of Chicago Illinois. She enjoys reading, writing, art, spending time with Jesus, friends, and family. You can find her blog on WordPress entitled Finding Peace in God’s Providence. You can connect with Katalyn on IG here.

Read more real-life stories from trauma survivors here: ‘PTSD: My Story Project‘.

Brown background with the PTSD: My Story Project guidelines on the Journeyofsmiley blog

PTSD: My Story Project

Do you have experience with PTSD, or do you take care of / live with someone who has? Would you like to share your story in a guest blog post? 


I’m not an expert or a health professional, so the aim of this project isn’t to offer professional advice. Neither is it to pity those who experience PTSD. That’s not what I want. My aim is to raise awareness of PTSD. By sharing your story, you can inspire and empower others. You can highlight the methods that helped you. This way, you can encourage others to reach out for help.

And it may help you as well. Perhaps it’s something you feel like you’re not able to talk about within your closest circle and would like to connect with others in a similar situation. It’s nothing more than bearing an untold story inside you. The fact is that our society still lacks an understanding of mental health.  Therefore, I’ve decided to share my story and invite others to join me in this project and write a blog post about their experience. By working together, we can help destigmatise mental health problems and promote well-being.

To be featured

If you would like to join in and share your story on my blog but don’t have the experience of writing a blog post, this isn’t a problem. You can still contact me, and I’d be happy to assist you with the writing. And you can use a pseudonym if you wish to stay anonymous. You can share as much of your story as you want in a way you feel comfortable with.

The only thing I ask is that you mention ‘PTSD: My story project’ in your post and briefly state why you have chosen to take part in it.  You will be allowed to approve the post before publishing it, should it be edited.

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4 thoughts on “Bruised but Not Broken”

  1. Oh, my goodness. I am so sorry for all that you have gone through. I love that you surrendered your life to Christ. That will make all the difference. I love the names of God too. So comforting. You might try a functional doctor. Many times, parasites, mold, Lyme, SIBO, etc. grow in environments of people who are emotionally compromised. It has been a huge life changer for my daughter.

    1. Such a God thing that you should mention functional medicine! I have an appointment at the end of the month with a functional dr to look into lymes disease. I already have mold in my lungs and have been diagnosed with SIBO! It’s been a journey but nothing God can’t handle for me! Thanks for your comment!

  2. I am so sorry for what you have been through. Thank you for sharing your journey and words of inspiration, courage and faith… being on this spiritual path has been the most fulfilling. Thanks again for this and I wish you all the best!

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