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.