November 6, 2014

by: Gari Lister

photo (13)

Tuesday morning I checked Facebook and saw a post that made me start to cry before I even finished reading it.  A “critical” missing person in my neighborhood — a teenage girl.  The police notice originally mentioned a history of childhood abuse, and noted that a suicide note had been left.  The description — she’s still missing — now says she suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

I don’t know the family, but unlike most people, I can imagine how they feel and how they struggle to describe her challenges.

I know that feeling deep in the pit of your stomach when you realize your child is gone.  And when you also realize that no matter how many times you told her you loved her, it wasn’t enough to persuade her to stay.

I know how it feels to clench your jaws when you hear your daughter say — for the hundredth time — that she hates her face.

I know what it’s like to hear a little girl say — and believe it with her whole heart  — that she is worthless.

I know the frustration of watching your daughter desperately try to make friends — and fail, over and over again.

And I know all too well that lump in the back of your throat when someone asks what’s “wrong” with them or why they can’t get past what happened to them when so many people seem to.

For a minute, I am lost in all those feelings — I’m back five years ago when my oldest ran away, convinced we wouldn’t care, and then I’m standing in a blueberry patch with a ten year old who is calmly explaining to me that she is unlovable,  and then I’m back to last week driving another of my daughters to school.  All little girls with PTSD and more.  All the victims of abuse and neglect when they were small.  And all so amazing — if they would only see it.

And that is why we need the Attachment & Trauma Network.  Because all these little girls — and yes, the boys too — deserve better.  And the only way we will change things — the only way we will help them see how amazing they are and help the world understand them — is if we work together to get them the help they need.

Please pray and think good thoughts for Destiny Ripka, and for all the girls and boys fighting to overcome the demons of early trauma.

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