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Gun violence survivor talks about PTSD after Las Vegas shooting

Posted at 10:33 PM, Oct 06, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-07 01:33:48-04

On the heels of the Las Vegas tragedy it's hard to forget all the other victims from mass shootings across the nation. 

Pam Simon, a victim from the January 8th shooting in Tucson opens up about how images from mass shootings can retraumatize victims and bring up unwanted feelings and flashbacks years after their incident.

It's been nearly 7 years since Pam Simon saw her life flash before her eyes. 

A gunman opened fire at the "Congress on your corner" event for former Congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. 

In a matter of seconds - 6 people were killed and 13 others wounded. 

Pam says, the bullet passed her wrist, went into her chest, missed her heart and landed in her hip. 

While the sheer terror of that horrible day is behind Simon and her family - certain things bring those memories back. Especially the countless mass shootings we've seen since 2011.

Pam says, she "spent a good year and a half working through issues of PTSD and you'll have PTSD for the rest of your life but how you can manage it."

Mass shootings can bring back emotions, reactions, sadness and anger. 

"It's just very hard to turn off that terrible knowledge of knowing what that person is going through." 

The experience made Simon understand what others are going through when they feel as if no one else gets it. 

"Being in a shooting, whether it's a single incident or a mass shooting you have some identity with the horror that happens in that time." 

Simon says, it's a ripple effect - family, friends, colleagues and complete strangers are all affected. 

Often times, many people forget about the survivors and what they will face for their entire life. 

"For me when I hear the number wounded....I think the general public sometimes thinks because they weren't killed it's okay. But those wounded may never walk again. Or may never talk again," says Simon. 

Simon says, for those who have went through something traumatic, "There are people here for you. Don't feel alone and to know that time does heal but it never heals completely. Don't not give up." 

If you're a gun violence survivor, here's what you should do when watching other mass shootings take place:

  • Be self-aware
  • Be careful with retraumatization by limiting images 
  • Give yourself permission to shut off all media
  • Meditate
  • Go for a walk
  • Seek help

If you know someone needing emotional support after the Las Vegas mass shooting, urge them to contact SAMHSA Distress Helpline (1-800-985-5990) or text "TalkWithUs" to 66746.

If you need someone to talk to and share your story, head over to Every Town Survivor Network. You can also head over to Moms Demand Actionto get connected. 

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