Alechia Reese, 32
Where I’m from: Sarasota, Florida.
What specific experience triggered your PTSD?: My second domestic violence experience (yes there was more than one unfortunately).
When did you become aware that you were suffering from PTSD?: When I decided I was going to kill myself. I became so depressed it was as if I’d never recover. The depression felt like a painful sinus headache that encapsulated my entire body. It felt as if there was literally no end.
Have you spoken to a professional about your experience? If so, has it helped you find a way to cope with what happened? If not, do you believe medical attention unnecessary or is there a particular reason that is holding you back?: Absolutely! I went to counseling for quite some time in order to heal and collect my broken shards. I decided I didn’t want to cut myself or anyone else. I firmly believe medical attention is absolutely necessary.
Who/What do/did you turn to in moments when you are triggered or find yourself in a negative head space?: I took the time to the first figure out what my triggers were. From there I started retraining myself to choose a different default. It’s ongoing and requires I’m dedicated to my own emotional and mental wellness. When I was working my way through, I started to set mini wellness, personal, and professional goals and I watched myself succeed. So now anytime I’m triggered I look at how far I’ve come and allow myself to appreciate the growth. It’s consistent work, but well worth it.
What do you do to celebrate yourself in spite of what you’ve been through?: I love on myself through travel and shopping. And I only choose partners and friendships that are positive.
Do you feel there is enough awareness around PTSD?: Absolutely not. Most people feel it only occurs if you’d gone to war and it’s totally not okay.
What do you want people to know about you as a survivor of PTSD?: That I didn’t just survive. I thrived! It’s not easy, but through consistent dedication you too can survive.
What would be the one word that describes you as a survivor of PTSD?: T H R I V E R.