MILWAUKEE, June 27, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a psychiatric disorder in which a person has difficulty recovering after experiencing a terrifying event. PTSD Awareness day is observed on June 27, 2020. As this day approaches, the Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) remembers Nafessa's story, a domestic violence survivor that sought help from a trauma psychologist in order to move forward and thrive.
Nafessa was a single mother at the time and experienced an immense amount of trauma. After turning down a proposal from a boyfriend, Nafessa realized she was being stalked. One day, Nafessa pulled into her garage to this man pointing a gun at her. He shot her six times, in front of her kids and her family. "I could remember clearly, when the paramedic pronounced me dead," said Nafessa. "I had my eyes closed, and I was just praying."
Soon after, Nafessa was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder. She was referred to Dr. Terri Deroon-Cassini, a trauma and acute care psychologist and an associate professor at MCW, who see patients who might need emotional guidance following trauma. Dr. Deroon-Cassini initially met Nafessa when she came to the Froedtert Hospital in Milwaukee, Wis. and the level one trauma team had operated on her. She serves as an essential member of the trauma care team, "We are one of about five level one trauma centers in the country that has a trauma psychology team embedded within the trauma surgery program," said Dr. Deroon-Cassini.
Nafessa soon began her journey toward recovery. She was having trouble remembering things from the incident, and Dr. Deroon Cassini suggested that Nafessa use her passion for writing to write out her feelings and thoughts about the incident. She also had a fear of being in garages. Dr. Deroon Cassini suggested that Nafessa should just sit in her car, in a garage, until she would become comfortable with her surroundings, which is a form of psychological intervention called prolonged exposure therapy.
It took Nafessa a short eight months to resume her life again. She continues to progress in her career and take on new roles. Even though there are certain things that could potentially trigger Nafessa's PTSD, she continues to have the ongoing support that she needs, "You can't get through it alone. Having a full staff that can help you get through that trauma, help your family-it's priceless."
SOURCE Medical College of Wisconsin