Dasha wrote a moving essay, “At War with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,’’ describing her journey from many traumatic years in foster care to being a college student and mother who is learning to heal from her wounds.
Dansker & Aspromonte Associates established the PTSD scholarship with the first responders and survivors of the 9/11 attack on New York City’s Twin Towers. Our office is a walk away from that site and, like many New Yorkers, we witnessed the toll PTSD took on so many.
But Dasha reminded us that PTSD can affect anyone, especially those who live with long-term stress. Dasha was 20 when she was diagnosed with PTSD. A therapist showed her how her life experience had been one prolonged war.
Taken from her mother at age 3, Dasha was placed in a series of foster homes, some safe, others dangerous. She was abused mentally, physically, and sexually. “Every foster home after that was a traumatic move for me,’’ she wrote.
She learned that she was at war: “I technically was in a war all throughout my life. A war without a mother to guide me through. A war to forget my abusers. A war with myself to push and bottle up my traumatic experiences.’’
The school was a refuge and, by the time Dasha was in high school, she was a successful student who had many friends and was able to carefully hide her trauma. But the repressed trauma became unbearable.
“My anger and inability to concentrate followed me. There was a time when I thought suicide was the only way out,’’ she wrote. Instead, she sought help. And she urges others to do the same.
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Today Dasha is the mother of a toddler daughter, Leilani. And she wants to thank a few people for getting her to where she is today. “Leilani’s father is a huge help,” she said. She is also close to her brothers, especially Jervontae, who went through foster care with her and is also in college. Adults Valarie and Fred offered great mentorship and support through high school. Sadly, Fred died in July. Dasha had intermittent contact with her mother who also passed away recently.
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Dansker & Aspromonte Associates serves the greater New York metropolitan area, as personal injury attorneys, we know that not all injuries can be seen. That’s why we also established our First Responder Scholarship, to help family members of first responders.
For more information on both scholarships, visit the Resources tab of our home page.