Trauma can look like many things

When you are dredging through life after trauma with children, you desperately try to act as normal as possible to make it as normal as possible for them. Sometimes I feel like we sacrificed our health to save them. We put them first. We put us last. Reading through this, I think it was ridiculous how much we had to advocate at the school to get them to see a child in a post-traumatic circumstance. But this is thanks to the mother going to the school and lying about what she put her daughter through.

We were a month out from getting attacked. Dealing primarily with getting my stepdaughter back in school. We had a huge 18 person district level meeting because the school was not cooperating. We were still in the early stages of understanding what this has done to us, all of us.

My stepdaughter was suffering so badly. I was suffering. We were all suffering. Getting strangled is one thing having to deal with all this after is just insane.

May 14, 2015, Thursday
At the meeting with all the people. There were so many people, a little overwhelming being the victim. Mrs. Jones, Harlan Klein, and lots of school people from the district.

IEP meeting, given federal law documents. Introductions. Now the teacher feedback.

Mr. Sell, she should be in class, classroom discussion, does not wait her turn. Feature article, but she was still in class when the project began (ms Thompson) will not get the full benefit of the classroom. If this has presented difficulties.

Mrs. Hunt. Attending gym class, occasionally absences not long term missing out on the physical exercise, life in general, incorporates many lifetime skills her class is a safe zone. Nothing mentioned about 10K steps being counted as activity. We were trying to get her credit.

Math return to school as soon as possible: Missing, another teacher.

Mrs. Jones. Deep concerns. Contributed to the dialog. Education development while in home study. Family is good. Concerns expressed again. Surprised about step-daugther’s critical thinking ability. Distracted random. Shows the potential for higher acadmic achievement.

Mrs. Best, due to the amount of work in class, difficult to remain. Not her doctor. Kudos to Mr. Best.

Dr. Shannon is doing a much better job of explaining her anxiety. They need to understand better why stepdaughter does not feel comfortable at school. I tried to give an idea about it. Questions about what treatment plan, we were told about EDMR.

I need a privacy screen; as I am typing notes, one of them is looking over my shoulder. OMG, this is so stressful.

Overall feelings about the meeting are that Nash is a liar and a bully.

Have to do the Aflac for short term disability paperwork. This should be fun. Let’s see how long it takes me—starting at 4:13 pm. It took hours.

It’s a very lonely process being in pain by yourself. When you are a kid someone takes care of you; when you are an adult, you have to take care of yourself clearly but when you are hurt yoursefl then what?

“If someone was stabbed and survived, we’d say that was a very close call. If someone says she was strangled and survived, we don’t say, you were lucky,” said Gael Strack, CEO of the National Family Justice Center in San Diego, Calif.

“When I was a DA 10 years ago if we had a boyfriend strangle a girlfriend, he would have been charged with domestic violence. Today I may charge him with aggravated assault or attempt to cause death or serious bodily injury,” Burns said. “I just think it is education and a new heightened concern for that criminal act. It’s like DUI 40 years ago.”

May 15, 2015 Friday
We reached out to her friends to get them together to go to “Muirlands Rock”.

May 16, 2015, Saturday
My stepdaughter had a sleepover with her friend. Meeting with Lydia my energy coach, today. I have taken on issues that are my husband’s. Victimized. Low parts. Energy is cut off at the center. Need to get low to get higher. Creativity is to really expand—breakage in my pranayama breathing tube from strangulation. It causes so much more than physical.

Talking with my dearest friend Lance. Unconscious incompetency at the school. Having a hard time finding people who get it, I need to fire Anderson my doctor; it’s a love and hate relationship. Hysteria misunderstood. Getting slack from people we should not be getting slack from. Trauma running on a loop. No end date.

Contrary to our healing, we have to make another declaration. We want protection from this woman that attacked us. You should not have to deal with her for anything. Previously she refused to talk to us. How do you go from that to attacking someone?

I was never roughly treated by anyone in my life. You were and are perfect and whole as created. These are the things I am getting told from people that love me and want to help me heal.

You’re full of infinite love and bliss and consciousness. Michael says to me how important I am to him and the company’s future; he wants you to take care of you. We love you more every day, and please know with every cell in your body that we are here for you.

Oil pulling and everything is coming out orange. My body is doing such strange things.

I have created the life I want.

May 17, 2015, Sunday

On Sunday Muirlands Rock she went with her friends we are trying to be normal and have typical activities.

May 18, Monday
What a stressful day this was not sure what happened, but we all woke up in the worst mood. My stepdaughter was having a really tough day. Most stressful day we have had yet.

I saw Dr. Cantu. Right side seems sluggish getting strangled hurts you like a stroke can. Today is my Grandpa Leo’s birthday. I miss him.

May 19, 2015, Tuesday

We are at court my heart is racing out of my chest, my hands are shaking and I am just so happy to have my computer because writing gives my hands something to do. I just looked down the hall and saw Jose. I have never…no memory of this lol, I guess that is a good thing! But my guess is I was about to say I have never met such messed up people.

So my headache came at 2:32 today and lasted until 4:10, but I took a headache pill.

My eyes felt swollen; it was in the side of my head above my ears. I laid on a heating pad and an ice pack on my head.

May 20, 2015, Wednesday
Saw Doctor Yoder with my stepdaughter and had lunch. We need to sign the new IEP from the meeting. Compliant to the school.

May 21 Thursday
Went to the San Diego Film Festival. We saw Debbie Beacham and that made my stomach lurch.

May 22 Friday
I have no idea what day it is. Meaning I sat down to journal, and I am a couple of entries ( or years if you are in the right state of mind) behind, and I sat here and thought about it. My step daughter just found out that she has to see her mom on Saturday and was so mad that she wanted to cancel the entire sleepover. It, of course, turns into an argument because that is what PTSD looks like in real life. Arguments about stupid stuff.

Headache started at 3pm. She went to Olivia’s for a sleepover. We signed contracts for the IEP. When things get emotional, my headaches start.

On May 22, 2015, at 7:52 AM, Therapist > wrote:

Hi guys,

Sorry I know you have been waiting on me — I didn’t mean to delay this process any further I just haven’t had time to sit down and put some thought into what I wanted to send you. Believe it or not this is not the only case I have on my overflowing plate right now (as I’m sure you can both understand). But I do sincerely apologize for not getting to this sooner — it’s been on the top of my list — my list has just gone untouched for a week.

So, I know you wanted to know what her trauma symptoms might look like or how they might manifest in the school environment. Since I have not seen her in school, I can only give you a list based on what I observe when I am with her and based on other people’s reports (as well as how trauma looks for many other kids in the school environment).

Here are some of the behaviors/indicators that she may be experiencing traumatic stress or is activated by a trigger:
Knee bouncing
Fidgeting in chair
Not paying attention, staring off into space
Blurting out
Not listening to instructions
Refusal to participate
Inability to focus
Wanting to speak and express her point emphatically, speaking over others
Behaving in a stubborn manner
Lack of eye contact
Dilated pupils
Speaking softly and almost inaudibly
Not wanting to answer direct questions, deer in the headlights expression
Anxiety, panic, needing to escape
Appearing overwhelmed by regular tasks/requests
Anything resembling Fight/Flight/Freeze/Fold

As you can see, many or most of these symptoms are also symptoms that would attribute to other issues with kids, especially kids who are defiant, oppositional, and non-compliant. And PTSD in kids often manifests and is misdiagnosed as ADHD or ODD.

She feels easily threatened and misunderstood — she is hyper-vigilant, ultra-sensitive and on high alert. She needs to feel completely supported by the teachers — even well-intentioned comments can be misconstrued by her as criticism or attacks. She needs to be fully supported and allowed to work at her own pace. There should be no comments about all the time she has missed, no mention of disappointment — only it’s so wonderful to see you and we are so glad you are here, so proud of you, anything you need you let me know, that sort of thing.

I could go on and on but I think you guys already had a trauma-informed training so I don’t need to repeat that kind of info here. If you want more info let me know.


Shannon , Ph.D.
Licensed Clinical Psychologist

#domesticviolence #strangulation #stepmom #stepdaughter #lajolla #sandiego #california #family #violence #domesticviolence #IEP #muirlands #school #training #educate #awareness #shareyourstory

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s