One of the main reasons Les and I started Raw Botanics was my battle with PTSD and his battle with cancer. Trauma is a horrible thing but we both learned the importance of self-care and that hemp heals! This is my PTSD story.
At the age of 17 during my freshman year of college, I was the victim of a random act of violence—stabbed in the chest and left for dead.
I was lucky to survive but it changed my life forever. Many years after this horrific experience I still suffer from PTSD. When COVID started, the stress from being faced with a global pandemic increased my symptoms—nightmares, disrupted sleep, and anxiety. It led me to take a deeper look at my condition and continue working toward finding natural remedies for relief.
For years I didn't speak about this part of my life. But after many therapy sessions, a very wise person suggested I tell my story. So I started to talk about it, and as I did, I miraculously began to heal. First with friends, then with colleagues, and now 29 years later, this article will officially mark the start of me talking about this horrific life-changing incident to the public.
So why now? Well, I have come to realize that it's not about curing my PTSD, maybe that is not possible. It's about understanding what triggers it and what I can do to live a healthy, full, and rewarding life. I also realized that I'm not alone and if I can be open about my struggles, maybe I can help others as well.
The most common questions I get when I tell people I was stabbed are: How the hell did this happen? And, did you see the light? If I was going to get into this kind of detail it would need to be a book, not a blog post but I will give you a little highlight. Both of these questions are very difficult to answer but how it happened and the details on what happened I have become pretty good at talking about. The second question gets a little more difficult.
So, how did this happen? Looking back I know there was a moment where I could have run the other direction and not almost lose my life. The person who stabbed me first attacked me early in the evening. They confronted me and I could have walked away, but instead I chose to stand my ground and face a grueling fight for my life that left us both in very bad shape. The fight ended and I figured I would never see this person again. Many hours later around 2 am, I was awakened by banging on my door. I opened the door and was quickly hit in the head with a piece of wood and then stabbed in the chest with a very large knife. I was immediately incapacitated and unable to fight back. With the help of some friends and neighbors, I was able to get to the ICU at a nearby hospital, enabling me to survive.
Did I see the light? Well, this is the part of my experience that is still very difficult to discuss. And usually something I don't talk about. I lost vitals twice, saw my very young life flash before me like a movie on fast forward. Yes I did see a light and had a feeling of comfort, warmth and acceptance like my body was working with my brain telling me it's ok to let go. One of the most puzzling things I experienced is that I was comforted and guided by someone that I later found out was never physically there. By my side in the street and in the ambulance was someone I had never seen before and never since. When I asked who he was, I was told the only people in the ambulance were the paramedics, neither of whom looked anything like this person.
Another very puzzling result of this trauma was that I became extremely empathetic. I have always been empathetic, but after the stabbing I could actually feel and see the pain, sadness, love, happiness others were feeling, most often it was the negative feelings. I would see these feelings represented in lights that surrounded people and in a few situations I was given a much more detailed vision of someone's life. These abilities made going out into a crowd very difficult and I spent much of my time alone working on businesses and creative endeavors, sleeping only a few hours a night and self-medicating when the night terrors overwhelmed me. Over the years the strength of these abilities faded and it’s no longer something I deal with on a daily basis.
In the years after this event, PTSD would be something that haunted me. At first it was unbearable, but after many years and a lot of work it became something I could manage. I survived being attacked by someone on a mission to kill me. It left me with permanent scars physically and mentally, but in many ways has made me stronger, smarter and more empathetic. My PTSD is the main driver behind creating The Raw Botanics Co. which began as a sleep aid and anti-anxiety supplement. I'm excited to be involved in the hemp and cannabis industry and proud to have developed something that can help people like me.
If you suffer from PTSD, reach out to someone. Talk to your family, friends, doctors. Help is out there and the most important thing is that you talk about it. I spent so many years hiding from my condition. I was convinced the only thing that could help me was time. After 29 years I’m still dealing with it, but it gets easier everyday.
To learn more about PTSD visit the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH)