Over a year ago I introduced those that read my blog to a character named Jasmine. She is a 20 year old survivor of domestic violence and one of the women suffering from PTSD in my novel Sharing Strength. As I have closed in on the end of Sharing Strength I also started a novella that focuses on Jasmine, Survivor.
It began as a short story for Fighting Chance, an anthology dedicated to raising awareness of domestic violence and donating proceeds to a cause related charity. As I looked closer at the quick story I had sent in I realized just how much more it could be expanded into a real story. It is an important message for me to share that we can fight back and be our own heroes if we are willing to stand up and demand the true love and respect we deserve.
Jasmine's story is my story in almost every way. My relationship lasted a shorter amount of time and the ending is somewhat different but the psychological effects that were imprinted upon my psyche are just as real as what leads Jasmine from struggling to make it out alive in Survivor to fighting the diagnosis of post traumatic stress disorder in Sharing Strength. She hears the voice of her abuser everyday telling her she isn't good enough, smart enough, attractive enough for anyone to care about her. She can't shut it out so she has to fight to be stronger than it.
It was half my life ago when my relationship ended and to this day I hear that voice. I have endured years of torture from inside my own mind. With the help of family, friends and therapy I am overcoming the doubt and fear that stifled me for years but it is a struggle each and everyday. It was my initial hope with Sharing Strength to show people not only that PTSD effects people beyond the military but also that there are resources for people like us and if they are willing to use the help that is there they also can learn to deal with this disorder and not become a statistic like I almost did.
Now as I put more and more details into Survivor I am also hoping to show that no matter how hopeless it seems and how much an abuser has done to make someone feel like they don't matter they actually do, they are stronger than they think and that they are capable of rescuing themselves. The voices in our heads never totally go away but there are ways to make them quiet down and things we can do to cope with the anxiety. Jasmine may represent me in many ways but she is stronger than I was at the time and I have found inspiration while writing her. I hope she can reach others out there fighting their own battles giving the the strength I have found as well.