I am a survivor of the mass shooting at Virginia Tech, which happened on April 16, 2007. I worked on campus inside a neighboring building during the shooting.
I have spent the last almost 12 years living with fear, panic, anxiety, depression and PTSD unfolding itself inside my mind and body. The simplest things cause reactions that I have limited control over. Loud and/or repetitive noises — something as simple as hammering, or basic office machinery — I have to ask myself, and sometimes trusted others, if what I am hearing is “just a hammer” or “is someone using the letter folding machine.” I can’t comfortably go to very crowded places, where people enter and exit from a limited number of doors. I flinch if I hear a siren and check out the windows and exits in every single place I go. I’ve gotten used to living like this for over a decade. After the shooting in Las Vegas, I lost my temper and joined Everytown and Moms Demand Action (even though I am NOT a Mom!) to emphasize the importance of understanding and supporting the LONG TERM effects of gun violence trauma on survivors and communities.