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Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Story of Life after PTSD

I want to share a message I received from a former client who grew up experiencing severe abuse and trauma. I work with her years ago.

She just recently shared with me her story of bravery, courage, growth, and recovery. She has accomplished many life achievements since going through my program. She has conquered her PTSD and Dissociation.

She indeed affirms who anyone can heal from abuse and trauma and that there is life after PTSD.

Dear Coach Bill,

You probably don't remember me, but you have made a lasting impression on my life. I wanted to express my much-overdue gratitude to you and for your program and methods for treating PTSD and dissociation has done for me and for others. I was in your inpatient program in the fall of 2006 and continued in outpatient for a while after that. If it had not been for the tools and skills, I learned from you, or the glimmer of hope I began to find in working with you my life would have gone down a very different and dangerous route.

As a result of working with you, I have reunited with and forgiven my abusive brother, and now have a fantastic niece and nephew in my life. I have reconnected with my parents after over a decade of being an "orphan" and am working on defining a new healthy relationship with them.

 I have gone back to school and completed my Bachelor's degree in Biopsychology. I worked in a wildlife rehabilitation hospital. I left an unhealthy marriage, allowing both of us to grow in our own directions.

I had finally moved from where I lived when you knew me and have embarked on my new life in the heart of the Appalachian Mountains. I have never felt or been happier. I genuinely feel at HOME in my tiny mountain community beyond the reach of the internet, cell phones, and even running water for the past nine months.

I now feel genuinely blessed and connected like I never thought possible for me ever, especially when I was in the grips of my PTSD symptoms. And I owe a massive debt of gratitude to you personally for helping me embark on a new and positive path of everything is possible for me. Not only for being the first positive male figure in my life but also for teaching me coping mechanisms for times of crisis but more so for opening doors in my heart that had been closed off for so long. You led me back to God and myself. I always appreciated the extra assignments you gave me, but there was one that forever changed my life. You asked me, and another girl teaches a lesson on spirituality to others when I literally could not say the "G" word and was hopelessly entangled the web of human sins I experienced through "religion." Back then I had no need or the idea of spiritual purpose. I felt that God had abandoned me during my abuse. You helped me begin to untangle my diluted inner beliefs of spirituality, religion, and God.  From that time a seed grew very slowly in my atheist heart and changed my inner and outer life. Fast forward to eight years later, I have found a safe and supportive church family which has helped me grow in so many ways and helped me reconnect to God, myself, and a greater sense of purpose in it all. Now I am grateful for my past, my upbringing, and yes even my abuse, as well as those who were there for me in my darkest times. I have not only grown beyond the pain but because of it. I have become involved in a wonderful ministry, where I have taken my experiences and can offer hope and insight to others in pain.

I finally understand that everything I went through in my childhood and adulthood was NOT for nothing. But I never would have opened my heart to the possibility if you had not cracked the door and I will be forever profoundly grateful. I can only imagine how hard it was for you to work on a daily basis surrounded by so much pain, hurt and misery as we all in your program "danced with our symptoms." I can say for sure that I have stopped dancing with my symptoms and have found a real sense of peace in and with myself.

 I have wanted to write to you for a long time to thank you for helping me out of that dark place I was in. I am working the 12 steps and 8 principles of recovery in an in-depth step study in my CR group. I am working on forgiveness and amends, it seemed a perfect time to share my gratitude for you as well. So THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for all that you have shared, given and taught me. I honestly know that the work you do changes lives indeed. You helped give me back me and my life.

Thank you for my life,
Heather B.