by Juanima Hiatt
I never thought in a million years I would “suffer” from PTSD. I never understood the mental ramifications of trauma until I lived it. Living it unknowingly, that is. It is important that I explain my mental state and causes to be able to understand the impact the Rewind Technique has had on my life.
For 19 years I had no idea that I was suffering from PTSD. My depression started with one experience when I was eleven that shaped my entire life. As I got older, my depression got worse as I experienced several more traumatic events. By the time I was 26, I wanted to die. I wanted to die more than once, and I even had a bottle of pills in my hand ready to go. But by the grace of God, something kept me from swallowing those pills, and that was the first time I truly understood just how bad my mental health was.
Along with the depression, I developed severe anxiety. I lived my days and my nights in a constant state of anxiousness and fear. My depression and anxiety turned into my lifestyle. I was living as though my deteriorating mental health state defined me. I was powerless. I had family and friends who loved me and showed me support, I had some who didn’t understand and therefore couldn’t…but whether I had anyone there or not, I was alone with my darkness and I could not see any light.
Forward to 2019, at age thirty. I have a small family: a husband, a beautiful baby, and two dogs. I have a steady job that I enjoy and I have friends who love me. I have a seemingly happy life on the outside. I’ve learned to mask my depression and anxiety with a smile and lies about how I was. For my child, I needed to pretend that I was okay. But I was not okay, and even more, I had to be okay for her. My husband no longer knew how to help me. He saw my darkness — he was along with me.
He signed me up for a group for women who have suffered trauma that was led by Juanima. I had no idea what the group was until I got there, and then I finally understood why my husband signed me up for this class. After 10 years together, he still couldn’t help me and needed to reach outside of our circle to find help.
After the first group session, I immediately connected with Juanima. She shared her story with such incredible braveness and gusto. She wanted to share her experiences to show others that you can overcome your traumas. After messaging for several hours about my history of trauma and what I live daily, Juanima told me that she suspected I suffer from PTSD. Me?! No way. I haven’t been to war, I haven’t had something so awful… my naivete’ got the better of me when I realized that I’ve lived multiple traumas and therefore can absolutely suffer from PTSD .
She explained to me that my depression and my anxiety are actually symptoms of PTSD. Within two weeks of meeting her, I had an appointment with my psychiatrist. She determined that I, in fact, have Complex PTSD. Juanima was right.
For the first time in 19 years, I saw light in my darkness. I was misdiagnosed for more than half of my life. I have been suffering a silent illness for so long that I let it dictate my life. I would scare easily and have anxiety attacks. I secretly cried in my car on my way home from work or in the shower every night. I hardly slept, and my mind raced with every dark thought you could think of at all hours of the day or night.
Logic told me that the shadows that followed me were not real, but my body thought otherwise. And I couldn’t even tell my own husband what I saw or felt because “no one understood.” Juanima did. And she believed she could help me. She scheduled a session for her Rewind Technique, and I was extremely skeptical. I went into it thinking that it would be a sham and of course not work, but at this point I was ready to try anything.
After an hour of going through this process, I opened my eyes. Juanima asked me how I felt. For the first time in over a decade, I felt a peace I hadn’t known – it was a calm really. I figured I was just tired. I went home and that night, I had no nightmares, I slept nearly through the night, and I saw no shadows.
As I am writing this testimonial, it has been two months since Juanima did the Rewind Technique with me. We focused on one trauma and since then, I can speak about that specific trauma without crying or without anxiety.
I will be focusing on my other traumas as well, and I anticipate that this will be a work in progress. But to say that this first step has saved my life has been an understatement. With the help of therapy and the Rewind Technique, I anticipate being able to navigate through PTSD and no longer let it dictate my life.
This tool is a necessity for anyone who may be suffering from trauma, especially PTSD. Juanima saw me, she saved me, and she keeps me here.