Remembering that I'm at Risk

Over the past couple of weeks I've learned some valuable lessons. Some things scare me too badly for me to deal with them - such as gun violence in schools, and the way schools deal with them. People like me, who have been personally affected by gun violence, sometimes have too much PTSD around the topic to adequately advocate on behalf of others.

Hearing about kids hiding in classrooms while there may/not be a shooter outside really yanked my chain, because once I hid for a long time during an active shooter situation when I was a little kid. Forty years later I witnessed a shooting death of a man who had been menacing a group of children at a bowling alley.

Last year someone called me about a young, pregnant, badly beaten, homeless young woman who was addicted to heroin. My friend Julie is an advocate for homeless people, and she called me to see if I knew of any helping organizations. I did not. The next few days proved to be frustrating for all of us, and Julie took charge of moving the young woman from couch to couch and getting her started with the methadone clinic. Eventually she got into a long term treatment program for moms, and thankfully mama and baby are doing well now.

Being around the young woman reminded me of being a child around my sister who's youngest child was born to opiate addiction. I don't have many clear memories of her at that age, yet I do remember being mostly sad and afraid when she was around.

"Witnessed or imagined" are the words associated with PTSD. Physical disease can cause trauma and vice versa. That said, these things can be healed - in part or in full - with healthy self care. As such, I must remember to make a point of practicing what I preach.

Instead of launching into action, which is my nature, I need to sit with things for a few days. That's my new mantra --- 7 days to consider and discuss with others before taking action.

Erica KitzmanComment