Looking Down The Barrel of a Gun

I’m shaking as I type out these words but I need to do it. I need to let you know that despite the posts about my beautiful family, our activities, and the projects that I’ve been up to, I have spent almost 9 months looking down the barrel of a gun.

Last October my world crumbled. As I was walking to work, a homeless man pulled out a gun and shot at me… several times.  I looked down at myself and saw that I wasn’t bleeding and it was then that I had realized that he had “only” fired a cap gun. Despite coming to this conclusion, my brain and body was convinced it was under attack. That day my life changed.

This incident was beyond traumatizing. However, what makes it most challenging is how so few people really, truly understand what trauma can do to a person. Some people think you should just “snap out of it” or that 9 months later, you should be “over” it. Even worse, despite wishing the best for you, they want you to be “back to normal”.

Currently, I can’t come within a 30 block radius of my place of employment without having a panic attack. If I am watching a show and suddenly there’s a gun, I lose it. For months I couldn’t go anywhere by myself. Friends and colleagues abandoned me… perhaps because they didn’t know how to act when around me or perhaps because they weren’t true friends after all.

My life, as I knew it, was slipping away from me. I was looking down the barrel of a gun, waiting for the trigger to be pulled. However, it wasn’t a man behind the trigger, it was me.

I realized that I could let these compounding traumas destroy me or I could fight for healing.

I’ve been working hard to recover. I’ve been attending a trauma treatment centre on a daily basis. My days consist of individual therapy, group therapy, exercise, and exposure sessions. The exposure sessions are rough. Usually they open up a box of unwanted emotions but this process is necessary for healing. I have psychologists, doctors, exercise therapists, and occupational therapists rallying around me… a team of people pressing me forward to recovery. Regardless, this is the biggest challenge I’ve ever come up against.

I’ve been mourning my “old” life. Ultimately, when a trauma like this occurs, someone will never be the same again. There will always be a lingering anxiety. I will never be “the old me”. However, I am certain that through faith in God, persistence, commitment, and the support of those who care about me, I will achieve a “new normal”. A new me.



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  1. says

    I have been wodering how you were doing ever since reading your account of that horrible, traumatic event. Praying you will someday be completely healed. Praying that God makes beauty out of your pain.

    Kerri (Hannah’s mom)

  2. says

    Oh gosh, that is the most terrifying thing I have heard. I am so sorry that happened to you, I can’t imagine what that must have felt like and how distraught you must have been. Maybe the “new you” will be different, but in time, maybe she’ll be a stronger you. Good on you for taking positive steps for dealing with the trauma, I hope more understanding people surround you. xx

  3. says

    I think being traumatized with by a gun is very real and very scary. Your fear and emotions are valid and being easily startled by guns is fair considering what you went through. I think there is a road to recovery and you’re on it, don’t give up girlie. All you can do is let go and manage, and you can do it no matter how long it takes to get there!

  4. says

    Oh Jennifer. I hate to see people in pain. I want to snap my fingers and make everything better. But I know I can’t. I know it all too well.

    People have told me many times over the past 3.5 years that I should have moved on by now. I will never move on but I will learn to live without my son. I will learn to smile and do the best that I can to enjoy this beautiful gift called life.

    I hope that your journey will take you where you want to be. Let me know if there is anything that I can do.

    Besos, Sarah
    Blogger at Journeys of The Zoo

  5. says

    I do understand about the lingering effects of trauma. I had something happen to me that is the worst nightmare ever. Well, not only do I think so, but friends say so. I will never recover. Write me if you want to know. This is not to minimize your pain at all.

  6. says

    I hope that being honest and open with the online community will help you find healing. There may never be closure, but it sounds like you are doing everything within your power to make things better. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.

  7. says

    Wow Jennifer – l just popped in to see if you had left a ‘moment’ to share this week. Just goes to show you don’t know what other people are dealing with and going through. I hope writing this blog post and reading people’s responses are helpful in your recovery.
    In April this year l lost my mother to cancer. At 36, l have now lost both my mother and father and l have no siblings. Her death is a huge challenge to me, and during her final days l started reading a book. Now l know that a single book can’t fix your problems….but l found this book so helpful, l really do believe without it l wouldn’t be in as good a shape as l am. It’s called Broken Open – how difficult times can help us grow by Elizabeth Lesser. If l could, l would mail you a copy.
    Hugs to you Jennifer, just keep on putting one foot in front of the other.

  8. says

    Jennifer–I am SO sorry to hear this terrible thing happened to you. Sometimes it’s hard for others to realize that avoiding physical harm in a traumatic event doesn’t mean there isn’t emotional and mental repercussions. Our brains are often less forgiving than our bodies. I can’t even imagine what you have been going through after something like that. I pray God continues to heal you as you work through all of this.

  9. says

    I can’t imagine the torment you have been through. Talk about “This Moment” which I came on to see! This was a life changing moment fot you and your family, how strong you are to get through this and how strong your faith obviously is. Wishing you healing and love – you are in my prayers xxx

  10. says

    I can’t imagine going through what you did. The road to recovery from something like this is not smooth, I’m sure. Every day will be different, but it sounds like you’re making progress. I’m so sorry for your pain.

  11. says

    That would be so scary! I know what you are saying about the trauma. Emotional, mental trauma is so difficult to deal with it because it is not visible to others like physical trauma. I have never had someone shoot at me with a cap gun, but I have certainly had my own share of emotional trauma where everyone seemed to disappear. Pretty much started with my first miscarriage, and it really hasn’t stopped. My husband gets it and he tells me people just don’t know how to act around me, but they don’t ask either. Instead they ignore me. The ones that stick around though; you know they are there to stay!

  12. says

    Wow … what a thing to have gone through. I can’t imagine what your anxiety level is like but I wish you the very best in your recovery.

    Thank you for linking to Raising Imperfection.
    Please come back Friday to see if you were featured. :)

    (¸¤ Lanaya | xoxo

  13. says

    God alone can heal us, and is bigger than anything we will endure. So sorry to read about this awful event. You are going to recover, because you are trusting the Lord.

  14. says

    I know this post is from a little while ago, but I just wanted to say that you are a brave woman. In your actions of seeking help, you are a hero. To your children. To others who need to know it is okay to ask for help. To people who feel they need to have it “together” to be a follower of Jesus. I am sorry there were some who were not there for you. I am glad that with Jesus holding your hand you have been able to take steps toward healing. Your journey is not in vain, just felt like I needed to let you know. :)

  15. says

    Twitter handle:
    Oh Jennifer. I admire you greatly for where you are today – I know I’m writing this way later. I just read both posts about it. Mine wasn’t comparable but I did experience something similar. I was robbed at gunpoint in the parking lot at my condo and that night changed my life. The trigger wasn’t pulled thankfully but I realized that night how easily my life could be taken from me. I cried a lot too and avoided any parking lot at night and was jumpy when any man I didn’t know walked close to me ever. I also would spread my credit cards all over my body in case I were robbed again :-p I’m so grateful that I was okay. I know this was traumatic and love the post that you posted today about your healing. I admire you!
    Kelli B recently posted…When You’re In A “Valley”My Profile

    • says

      Twitter handle:
      It’s stunning how these things affect you hey? I was robbed at gunpoint when I was working at a donut shop (I was 18 at the time). Other than the fact I never returned to work, it never phased me. However, my medical team was certain that this was why I had such trauma with this incident because the first one was unresolved.

      I’ll pray that you have continued healing my friend. Thank you for your encouraging words and for celebrating this VICTORY with me. God is so good!
      Jennifer recently posted…Overcoming ObstaclesMy Profile

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