Reading I Am Sunshine
By Barbara Costlow, LPC, MRC
As a Licensed Professional Counselor, with over twenty years of practice, I have worked with hundreds of individuals suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)¹ and trauma-related disorders. Many of those individuals have survived childhood sexual abuse. Some of the more typical symptoms that I see are: flashbacks, intense/reactive fear, nightmares, avoidance of feelings, memory loss, sleep disturbance, and depression. In many cases, an individual can seemingly move on from a traumatic event only to become inundated with very unpleasant and impairing symptoms after being triggered by something that brings the event back up for them.
I recently began working with a new client who showed signs of PTSD and had been sexually abused. Looking for new reference material, I contacted a source, but I was unable to get anything specific to my needs. At that moment I thought of Egan’s book and knew she had touched on something more than just an inspiring, heartfelt tale.Egan’s story, though a fictionalized memoir, intimately and genuinely touches on classic PTSD symptoms one may develop resulting from a traumatic event. Without using all the clinical and scientific terminology, she engagingly explains the symptoms and helps the reader understand the inner workings of someone suffering from PTSD. She brings readers into her world by beautifully expressing the emotions and feelings that are otherwise difficult to explain out of context.
Professionals, loved ones, and survivors alike will benefit from reading Egan’s moving story. Professionals will have a resource they can share with their client’s loved ones. The loved ones will be able to see some of the symptoms and severity of a traumatic event like childhood sexual abuse. Survivors will feel less alone and misunderstood as they gain an awareness of themselves.
As a mental healthcare professional, I appreciated Egan’s candidness and expect everyone who reads this book will feel the same. I Am Sunshine is one book that I suspect will be dog-eared and referenced for years to come.
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