Hey guys! I just wanted to talk about something that is near and dear to me and has been a long time coming. On April 2, 2019, my long-awaited book, Healing the Invisible Wounds of Trauma: A Columbine Survivor’s Story, is being released! This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Columbine High School Massacre. At that time, I was a senior at the school and my entire world was shattered at that moment. Over the next 5 years, I faded in and out of dissociation, and have little to no memories of my life during that time. Columbine is seen as the beginning. The worst mass school shooting in history at that time. What that meant for us, was that no one had any idea what we were dealing with, how the survivors were suffering, and how to help us.
The result was increased suffering, misdiagnoses, and overmedication. Symptoms and suffering were dismissed and minimized by those who were supposed to help, medical and psychological professionals, because they didn’t understand them or because they didn’t match the “textbook” definition of post-trauma reactions. Posttraumatic Stress Disorder was barely understood at that time, and it would be years before the research on PTSD and Complex PTSD, would begin to expand. Those of us who were in the throes of PTSD had very few people who knew how to help us beyond drugging and masking the symptoms that no one understood or accepted. This meant that to be able to heal from the trauma that I had survived, I had to fight for everything. I had to find out and research my own diagnoses, what effective treatment looked like, and I had to go against the prevailing medical and psychological beliefs at that time regarding the use of extremely strong medications and “treatment” that caused more harm than any good that was done.
Over the last 20 years, I have earned the healing that I have gained through the battle that I never stopped fighting. I decided that I would fight until I broke free, that I would not stop pursuing healing until I achieved it. Surviving trauma has impacted every aspect of my existence since that moment. I have experienced severe and chronic physical pain, continual psychological pain and trigger responses, broken and destructive relationships, and a complete restructuring and acceptance of my new identity as one who survived horrific trauma. Learning to understand my identity, grafting my traumatic experiences into my new life instead of trying to pretend that those broken pieces did not exist, and finally understanding how the pain of my past can be cultivated to make me a stronger, more resilient person, was the hardest battle I have ever had to fight.
Being on the other side of surviving trauma and truly finding healing from those painful scars, created in me a desire to help others who are suffering in the same way that I was. Everything I learned, all the healing I achieved, was grueling, more so than should have been required. My prayer in writing this book is to demonstrate the normalcy of how people respond to surviving trauma. I want everyone who has survived to know that they are not alone, they are not crazy, and that they are not a monster. I want to instill a sense of hope and rekindle the flame to fight for your life. I want everyone who survives horrific traumas to find healing and the life they never thought they could have.
Check out the details and RSVP for my book launch here: https://www.facebook.com/events/303591777006001/