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October 25, 2022 76 mins

Meyli Chapin shares her story and discusses PTSD with host Kimi Culp.

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Speaker 1 (00:01):
High family Secrets listeners, it's Danny here to share something
I think is really special. After two decades of working
in production and being behind the camera, Kimmy Culp felt
it was time to share what she had learned. As
a producer. She would travel around the country talking to
complete strangers and they would tell her their hard truths,
and what she came to realize is that she was

(00:23):
asking people to do something that she was not willing
to do herself. Jimmy was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at nineteen.
On the inside, Kimmy says her brain was on fire.
She decided it was best to keep it a secret.
Over the past twenty four years, she has told only
a handful of people until now. While bipolar disorder is

(00:44):
something Kimmy had to learn how to live with, it's
also the thing that inspired her to create All the Wiser.
All the Wiser is a place where you'll hear stories
of people just like you, confronted with extreme adversity and
the wisdom they gained on the other side. Maylie Chapin
was trapped in a hotel room for seventeen hours in
Nairobi while al Shabab terrorists attacked the property. She was

(01:08):
alone and certain she was going to die, but through
the incredible efforts of brave men who fought to recover
Maine and extract her to safety, she survived. However, after
the attack, PTSD left her mind shattered. She felt like
a fraction of the strong, confident, capable woman she used
to be. She thought she was uniquely traumatized and couldn't

(01:28):
understand why she was unable to leave her apartment. But
Mayllie did find a light at the end of the tunnel.
She shares her experience of healing from PTSD, as well
as thoughts and strategies to help anyone suffering from trauma
to find hope and relief. All the wiser It donates
two thousand dollars every episode to a non profit making
a difference in the world. This episode benefits the Heroic

(01:51):
Parts Project I Hope you enjoy it. Into thousand nineteen,
Maine Chapin traveled on a work trip to Nairobi. She
was young and working for Google on the marketing team.
She was there on a trip to understand digital well being.

(02:14):
Americans were having a conflicted relationship with their phones, starting
to feel addictive and unhealthy. People in Nairobi had a
healthier relationship, and Malee was there to try and understand why.
Malee was only supposed to be in Kenya for two days,
and on the second day she crawled into our hotel

(02:37):
bed for a midday power nap. She was woken up
by a huge explosion. A suicide bomber had detonated his
vest in the hotel courtyard. You know, if you can
imagine the horror that you would be looking down on,
there were pieces of the suicide bomber, There was smoke,

(02:58):
there was blood. It was it was horrific. I'm not
sure of a word that is powerful enough. Maine looked
out the window and saw men with a K forty seven's.
They were firing rounds and walking into the hotel lobby.
It was a terrorist attack and they were there to kill.

(03:20):
She could hear the gunshots as they moved in closer,
both above and below her. And for seventeen hours, Maine
was trapped in her hotel room, certain she was going
to die, a feeling that would continue even after her
rescue and a return home to the safety of her family.

(03:41):
There would be things that would remind me very vividly
of the attack like the sound of a fire alarm
or the sound of a firework, and I would like
hit the floor in the fetal position, shaking and crying.
Today on the show, how do we process trauma and

(04:02):
how do we heal from it? What are some of
the solutions and tools for people living with PTSD on
a daily basis? I'm can make called and this is
All the Wiser, a show about hope and possibility on
the other side of pain. I remember very distinctly, actually

(04:29):
this moment on my couch. I was living in California
working at Google, and I remember sitting on my couch
in California and thinking, I think I was wrong. You know,
I think this is what life is. It's about getting
to the point where you have a steady income and
you're going to get to marry the love of your
life and you can pay your bills. And you know,
I don't know why I feel like something's missing. I

(04:51):
need to accept that that this is sort of the
pinnacle of my life and and this is the state
that it will continue to exist in, and I need
to stop looking for this missing piece, because you know what,
what more could somebody ask for? Towards the end, of
two thousand eighteen, Maine was at a point in her
life that most no well that longing question of purpose,

(05:16):
but she had interesting work and an opportunity for an
exciting work project in Nairobi. She booked her trip using
Google's travel portal and sort of waited it out to
see if anyone would contact her about security, but she
didn't hear anything. The only thing she had was Google's

(05:37):
international security number saved in her speed dial from her
last work trip to China, but this time for Kenya,
there was no safety briefing, which left her with a
lot of questions. So all I talked to some of
my colleagues at Google and said, you know, to be honest,
I'm a little bit nervous. I'm I'm twenty six, I'm

(05:58):
traveling by myself as as the only Google employee. I
don't really know the protocol. Um am I supposed to
have a driver? Am I supposed to have like a
like a bodyguard or these dangerous areas? I really don't know.
And so they recommended that I reach out to the
security team and ask those questions. So I reached out
to Google's security team and I said, hey, you know,
these are my my details, and the External Research Agency

(06:23):
has uh some connections in Nairobi, and they recommended that
I stay at the Kimpinski Hotel, which is what I booked. Um,
anything that I need to know, need to do, need
to have, etcetera. They did book me a driver and
that driver had like a particular password so that I
could confirm that he was my driver once I landed
and he would be waiting for me at the airport.

(06:45):
And then they told me that they recommended that I
changed my hotel actually in addition to sending me a
short sort of security briefing document. In that short briefing document, um,

(07:05):
it basically boils down to, you know, for any Google
employee traveling to Airobi, like it wasn't specific to me,
the greatest threat to you is like traffic accident or
you know, a mugging. Um, So don't go down dark
galleys by yourself, don't be out at night by yourself,
things like that. And then there was one line that

(07:26):
said that there is a latent but credible threat of terrorism,
but overall the country was marked low risk and so
I didn't even think twice about it. And in that
short briefing document, They said that the Kimpinski didn't have
adequate setback from the road, and so they recommended that
I moved to a different hotel that was sort of

(07:47):
safety verified on their list, and that is how I
canceled that reservation and switched to the Deucit D two,
Which is funny because it's one of those moments you
look back on that it was so innocuous at the
time but changed the whole trajectory of my life. And

(08:07):
I should say this, this hotel is a five star hotel.
Presidents have stayed there, you know, dignitaries. This is a
really nice hotel, right that you're so, I would imagine
there was a certain sense of safety that you're staying
somewhere that dignitaries and you know, presidents have stayed in
the past. Both hotels, you know, the Conpenci and the

(08:28):
deu City two were known for being very very high end,
great accommodation hotels, as you said, where where people had stayed.
And I think that I did feel safe, but also
there's this inherent, sort of privileged concept of safety in
my head at that time. Right, I'm American, I'm traveling

(08:49):
with Google for a work trip, going to a five
star hotel. Right, they told me the worst thing that's
going to happen is I'll get in like a traffic
accident or someone will steal my laptop. Right. There was
some hubris to it, right, Like the the idea that
I could be in danger really just didn't penetrate my
psyche at all at that time. And of course now

(09:10):
I know that because the hotels were so nice, that's
what makes them a target, right there, full of quote
unquote high value Western targets if you look at it
from the perspective of these extremist groups. So it's a
it's a crazy sort of alteration in my perspective, was
I was saying it right and referencing the people who
stay there and the fact that it's a five star.

(09:33):
I was thinking out loud about the presumption of that
that somehow that means you're safe or the property is
safe by virtue of those things. And fundamentally, and I guess,
thinking out loud, we should know that's not the case.
And your experience certainly validates that that is is not true.

(09:55):
And perhaps, as you said, um, you were much more
of a target. But but but I am very American. I
am curious about your conversation with the driver. Yeah, you know,
I think that you probably have painted a very good
picture of who I was. Hopefully for listeners, right, you
can understand you've got this very inquisitive young woman who

(10:20):
really deeply wants to understand people's lives. That's that's still
my favorite activity. And so I was chatting with my
driver constantly, like how many kids do you have? What
is their schooling? Like, what's technology like in your life?
What kind of device do you have? Do you travel? Right?
Like I wanted to know everything about his life, and
he was a really good sport about it, and we've

(10:42):
gotten in this conversation. The morning of the terrorist attack,
he was driving me to and from lunch, and he
was saying that it's difficult to live in a region
with a constant threat of terrorist activity. And I remember
being so struck by that, like shocked, and I'm sure
that one line flitted across my mind latent but credible

(11:05):
threat of terrorism. And you know, I really wanted to
understand what he was talking about. And I was like,
I'm so sorry, I'm so embarrassed. I really don't know
the history here. Can you help me understand and you know,
he referenced Westgate Mall, which I knew somewhere in my
psyche was this horrific terrorist attack, but I didn't really
put together that that had been in Kenya and the

(11:28):
university that had been attacked as well. And he was saying,
you know, the threat is ever present because the Somalian
extremists are retaliating for Kenya's sort of activity in Somalia
trying to suppress the extremism, and so they target these
again quote unquote high value places in Kenya to inhibit

(11:50):
travel because that is really makes up so much of
the Kenyan economy, right, tourism, and if Westerners don't want
to come here because they're afraid of terrorism, then that
depletes the Kenyan economy as well as making the citizens
obviously extremely fearful. So I just remember thinking, like, I
don't know how you get out of bed and go
to work every day. It seems so terrifying, Like it

(12:13):
seems like it would the fear would paralyze you if
you felt like any moment, any day, any restaurant, any mall,
any any hotel, any you know, driving destination that you're
taking a client too, could be the next target. It
just seems so terrifying and to live in a constant
state of hyper vigilance, right and and have how heartbreaking

(12:38):
that is that subconsciously or consciously people are forced to
live that that way day in and day out. Is
heartbreaking to think about. Yeah, So to the extent that

(13:04):
you're comfortable going back and revisiting, it was seventeen hours,
is that right? That's right? Yeah, for me, it was
seventeen hours starting at the beginning when you first hear
an explosion, and yeah, I have a lot of questions, sure,

(13:25):
but if you can start when you first heard the explosion. Yeah,
I was supposed to be at an interview with the
family in Nairobi when the attack unfolded, and unfortunately I
hadn't really properly understood the extent of like dead stop
traffic in Nairobi in the middle of the day, and

(13:48):
so I thought we were like thirty minutes from the
next interview after lunch, and in fact, we were two
solid hours from the interview because of the traffic. And
so I realized that we were going to be an
hour and a half late to what was slated to
be a two hour interview. And you know, at that
point it just feels rude. I'm not going to walk
in with thirty minutes left and start asking my questions.

(14:11):
So I was like, okay, I'll let the research agency
handle that one without me, I guess, and I will
head back to the hotel and and try to get
a nap. Was really really jet lagged on on that
side of the planet, and we were all supposed to
get together for dinner that evening, and I figured I'd
get sort of the rundown then, so I asked my
driver to please take me back to the hotel instead,

(14:32):
and we did, and he dropped me at the front door.
And when you're walking into this hotel first, it might
be helpful for people to understand that it's a whole complex.
So there's sort of one way in that leads you
to not just the Deu City two, but also a
bank and a jewelry store and a bunch of office buildings,
So there's a whole complex back there. So you drive

(14:54):
sort of threw it and then up to what's sort
of like an awning where get dropped off, and then
there are metal detectors, so every time you come into
the hotel, you have to go through metal detectors, and
you know, hotel staff is out there working the metal detectors,
and I was, you know, chatting with them, and then
came through the lobby, waved to the folks at the

(15:14):
front desk, and went up to my room on the
third floor. And my room was very very close to
the elevators and the big stairwell that ran sort of
next to the elevators as well. And I went into
my room. And I was only scheduled to be in
Kenya for a total of two and a half days,
so this was my second day and I was going

(15:35):
to leave the next morning. I was supposed to fly
from there to South Africa. And I figured, well, I'm here,
I'll get all packed up, I'll put my things by
the door, and I'll take a nap, go to dinner,
and then get up in the morning and head out.
So I I crawled into the bed in the hotel
to take a nap, or try to take a nap,

(15:56):
and it really, you know, I don't know if I
sort of shore in this timeline in my head, but
it really felt like it was just about the moment
that my head hit the pillow, that this explosion shook
my world. It shook the building, it shook my bed,

(16:17):
it shook like me, like rattled my body. And it
is something that even to this day, even having written
a book about it, is very difficult for me to
put into words what it's like to have an explosion
that size go off that close to you in a
situation where you know that that should not be happening, right,

(16:40):
And I I knew instantly that basically that I was
in danger. There was no conscious thought. I just ran
to the window because I knew intuitively that the sound
had come from that direction. My window looked down on
the courtyard, and so I wrenched the curtains open, and
I looked down at this scene of horror, devastation. There's

(17:07):
not a word tragedy, and I do really remember that
the only thing that my brain could compare it to
was a movie. I remember thinking, like, I don't know how,
but I'm looking at a movie set because it had
been a suicide bomber was what had happened. A suicide
bomber had detonated a suicide vest just there in the courtyard.

(17:30):
And you know, if you can imagine the horror that
you would be looking down on there were pieces of
the suicide bomber. There was smoke, there was blood, it
was it was horrific. I'm not sure of a word
that is powerful enough. And I imagine your your brain

(17:52):
has never seen that, it categorized it exactly so you're
trying to have an association or make meaning and it
and it doesn't exist. It's exactly right. And that was
the feeling. I mean, like literally physically, I thought that
there was no way that my eyes were seeing what

(18:13):
what was in front of me. What happens next? I
imagine fight or flight, but what do you do next?
What happens next? The thing that triggered me to move
from the window was that I saw the gunman coming in.
So I saw two terrorists armed with a K forty
seven's walking through the courtyard and firing intermittently and um

(18:39):
into your hotel, into the building room, into the courtyard.
Basically yeah. And I knew no conscious thought, but it
was like, you definitely don't want these men to look
up and see you standing here, right, So I whipped
the curtains closed again. And that was the first moment

(19:00):
that like a thought really processed, which was these are
terrorists and I think I could only truly have that
thought because of the conversation I had had with my
driver literally that morning. These are terrorists, this is exactly
what he was talking about. They're here to kill us,
and so they will. That was literally the end of

(19:21):
the thought to me, Right, what am I going to do?
And so I thought, I've got to say goodbye of God,
to tell my parents and my fiance that I we'll
never see them again. So I ran for my phone's
I had two phones at that time, a work phone
and a personal phone, and as I mentioned, um, because

(19:44):
of that trip to China, I had the international emergency
Google hotline saved on my work phone, So from that
phone I started to connect to that number, and from
my personal phone, I texted my parents just saying there's
a terrorist attack on the hotel. I love you, and

(20:06):
I texted my fiance and I I remember this brief
moment's probably a couple of seconds in reality, but it
felt like time slowed down, and I remember looking at
the screen and thinking like those words are so hollow.
In this moment that is so does not convey the

(20:27):
magnitude of how much I wish I was safely in
the arms of my fiance, you know, in the home
of my parents safe having a conversation with them. You know,
all the millions of moments that I took for granted
my whole life. It was just it's just that I
only had two seconds to say something, and so that's

(20:49):
what I said. And so for my fiance, I just added,
I added like a modifier, you know, like I love
you so much or I love you more than anything.
And I sent it, and I thought, well, that is
my last act on this earth, Like, that's the last
thing I'll do is is say say my goodbyes to

(21:09):
my loved ones. And that was when the Google security
folks picked up and I started talking to them and
would be on and off on the phone with them
almost the entirety of the next seventeen hours. And you
on the phone Google Security reach or connect with a
woman named Melissa, and the role she played was so multifaceted,

(21:36):
right mentally, emotionally, tactically. So tell me you know about
that conversation. Well, first of all, you know what's happening
to you physically and emotionally, and then about connecting with
Melissa and how she starts to play a role in
this whole experience a pivotal role. Yeah, yeah, pivotal is yeah,

(21:57):
absolutely correct. Physically, what's happening in my body at that
time is actually I'm now. People will say it's not
just fight or flight, it's fight or flight or freeze, right,
And I was very much frozen to the spot. I
was so panicked. There was no conscious thought left for me.
It was like I said my goodbyes, and now I'm out.

(22:20):
I'm out of ideas, I'm out of thought. And so
I was like physically rooted to this spot. I was
just standing there where I had picked up my phones
in the hotel room. You know, I wasn't I wasn't ducking,
but I could hear the gunshots. I could hear grenades outside,
and I knew that they'd be getting closer, right, that
the terrorists would be getting closer. And that's when I
just like the panic overtook me completely. It was like

(22:42):
I was able to get that one thing done, I
had to say my goodbyes, and then I was totally
victim to the panic. And I think that's because I
didn't know what to do, right, Like I had no
training for that kind of situation. I had no experience
with that kind of situation, and so I just remember

(23:02):
standing there and I remember thinking very explicitly that I'm
actually going to die before the terrorists get to my
room of a heart attack. Like my heart was pounding
so hard it was physically painful, and I was shaking.
My hands were shaking so badly it was difficult to
dial the phone. That was the thought. I remember being like, Wow,
I'm going to die, and in a way it felt

(23:24):
merciful to me. I was like, my heart is going
to give out, but at least then I won't be
violently murdered by strangers. So that's what I remember sort
of feeling in my body and emotionally, I don't know
if it's truly sort of a first order emotion, but
I just felt terror. And I know that's perhaps apt

(23:46):
because I was in this terrorist situation to feel terror,
but it was a type of terror that I have
never felt before or since. Like, I can't explain what
it's like to be standing there waiting for total strangers
to come end your life violently by yourself on the
other side of the world in a hotel, Like it's

(24:07):
it's just I just wouldn't I wouldn't wish it on anyone.
I was. I was frozen with fear. Well, you're basically
a sitting duck, right, Eventually they're above you, there below you,
and they're there to kill They're there literally to kill you. Yeah,
And and you know, I remember moments later, I remember

(24:28):
having the thought that it was a good plan. Like
I was thinking about, oh, there's that one drive into
the complex, and you know, we're all locked in our
hotel rooms, like on multiple stories of this building. Where
are we going to go? Right? And and I didn't
know how many of them there were, so it felt
to me like there were fifty terrorists right like, for
all I knew, they had surrounded the building, they had

(24:49):
cut off the exits, they were coming systematically to go
through every door on every floor. I had no idea.
So yeah, it was very, very do deeply viscerally terrifying.
And Melissa is on the phone with you. What is

(25:10):
she advising guiding you to do? Because as we said,
she's truly your your lifeline, and as you said, you're frozen,
so she's really giving you the directives exactly. And I
think the thing that is hard for me to put
into words about Melissa, is you said it well, that

(25:31):
sort of the relationship that we developed was very multifaceted,
and that was so important. She seemed to understand intuitively
that I was frozen on the spot, or at the
very least, that the first thing she needed to do
was give me like tangible action items. Right, So her
first goal was to make it look like no one

(25:52):
was inside the hotel room, so that if the terrorists
were coming by looking for, you know, signs of people
being inside, then ideally they're going to skip that room.
So she had me turn all my lights off, she
had me barricade the door with any furniture that I
could move to again hopefully prevent entry by the terrorists.
And then she had me look for a hiding spot,

(26:15):
and she was like, what is the best possible hiding
spot that you can think of inside of that room?
And I remember feeling like like it was almost kind
of her to give me a task that I could
actually do, to give me away to hopefully contribute to

(26:37):
my own survival, right because I had gone from this
state of like completely frozen, there's nothing I can do
to like, Okay, there is something I can do. I
can find a really really good hiding spot, and I
have just enough cognitive capacity to do that with all
of the fear that I'm feeling, and so I it's
hard for people to picture sometimes, but basically, there was

(27:00):
like a vanity under the mirror in the bathroom, and
it had shelves and the bottom shelf had towels, and
so I pulled the towels out and I crushed myself
my body sort of into this bottom shelf in what
might look like a sort of contorted, twisted version of

(27:21):
the fetal position, and I like, I really didn't fit,
I very much, barely fit, and I bruised, bruised a
lot of different parts of my body doing this, and
then I pulled the towels back in after me, so
that it just looked like a shelf with towels on it.
And what I remember thinking about that hiding spot was
that it didn't look like a person could fit there,

(27:42):
and so that's why I really liked it. And then
I was also sort of relying on this movie trivia
of like where do people usually hide? Oh, under the bed,
in the closet, right, I don't want to be in
any of these stereotypical hiding places because those are too obvious,
So that that was what I went with. And then
some thing dawn's on you once you're in there. Yeah,

(28:03):
this is a moment I still think about all the time.
I crushed myself into this shelf and I pulled the
towels back in, and I have almost a small moment
of like victory, of like, there's no way, right, no
one could find me here. You'd have to be searching, methodically,
searching every single room, and and ideally you know they're
not doing that, so they'll never know I'm here. And

(28:25):
that thought ruined everything because it was immediately followed by
if they come through my door, I barricaded it, and
so they absolutely know that someone is in this room,
and they will search it methodically until they find me.
And I was this like immediate overwhelming sense of hopelessness

(28:48):
of just like it was almost silly that I thought
that I could do something to contribute to my survival.
Of course there's nothing I can do. Of Course they'll
find me. Of course they'll know I'm here. Of course
they'll kill me. And at one point, you talk to
your family, is that right? Yeah? I only texted with

(29:08):
my family the whole time. Which people sometimes think is strange.
But over audio, I spoke almost exclusively to Google and
my family I was in touch with over text emotionally,
what role, what support are they playing with you? For you? Emotionally,

(29:30):
particularly for my relatives, I was I don't know that
I'd say I was supporting them, but I was very
much not letting on how frightened I was. I was
giving them updates. Here's what I hear, here's what I see,
Here's where I am. But you know, I wasn't saying
I'm terrified, I'm shaking, They're going to kill me, because
I felt like that was I felt like that would

(29:54):
have been selfish. There was nothing that they could do.
What was the point of telling them how afraid I
really was, you know, because all that was gonna do
was spread that fear. It was going to make them
feel what I was feeling. And I didn't want that
for anybody. So it was really, you know, when you
talk about an emotional support, that was really Melissa. Melissa

(30:14):
was a big part of that. She was the one
who understood the fog of the panic and how difficult
that was to think through and to live through, and
so she was the one doing almost what I know
now to be like these very typical therapy based grounding exercises.
She'd have me, you know, name things that I could

(30:36):
see around me, or can you find something green that's
in the room? Can you take a deep breath? And
that was that was really critical. Do you think help
is coming? Um depends on the moment that you asked me.
I remember saying to her over and over and over,

(30:58):
isn't some uncoming to help us? And that that's still
hard for me to say, like that still brings tear
sm eyes, and and when you think about this mentality
that I had at the time, that was so you know,
I thought of myself as being very immortal, not consciously,
but that's just how I lived my life. Was like
I live a very safe life. I'm safe, of course,
I'm safe. That was the second part of it, right,

(31:21):
like I'm in vast mortal danger. Someone's coming, right, Like
someone's going to do something about this, because you know,
I think that if this experience had happened to me
in the US, that would have been my response. I
would have expected someone to respond. And so it was
sort of a sense of incredulity, like isn't anyone going

(31:44):
to do something about this, And I don't know, you know,
in sort of an abstract sense, I don't know who
I thought would come, the police or the special forces,
I don't know, but I remember her. She was able
to tell me in the beginning that, like, the response
force hadn't arrived yet, and I'm umber that being really shocking,
Like how is this just going on and on while
they're literally murdering innocent people and no one is here

(32:07):
to do anything about it. And at one point you
fall asleep, And then at one point it gets quiet
and you hear birds chirping. Yeah. I will never forget
that moment um. I wish that I could explain. I
wish that people could sit in that moment with me

(32:29):
for just a second, because to be in the midst
of this kind of horror and for it to go quiet,
not for very long, right, it was never ever quiet
for very long. But at that point the fire alarm
was off, the grenades and the gun fire stopped just

(32:50):
for like twenty minutes for whatever reason. And there was
a tree in the courtyard not far from my rim,
and the birds I supposed settled into the tree and
started chirpping. By this point the attack it had started
around three pm the previous day, so had already lasted
all the way through the night. And it was like
sunrise basically, and the birds in that tree started chirping,

(33:13):
and I could hear them very clearly from inside my
hotel bathroom is where I was, And it was something
just bizarre. Even in that moment. It was like this
reminder that there was a whole world out there that
was going on as usual. At one point, you considered

(33:35):
taking your life. Yeah, can you tell me about that? Yeah? Um,
I touched briefly on this idea that that if I
had died of a heart attack, it would have almost
seemed merciful, right, So it was a similar thought. This

(33:57):
was several hours in and I had gone through many
iterations of this emotional turmoil. Help is on the way.
Help is at your door. Go prepare to answer your door.
They're going to extract you. Oh wait, no they're not.
Oh they might not come at all. Oh they might
be several more hours. We don't know when this will end.
We don't know if you'll live, right of like hope
and then help being snatched away, and and it was

(34:18):
physically mentally and emotionally exhausting in a way that is,
you know, I don't know that I've felt exhausted in
that way ever since. And so at one point, I'm
incredibly jumpy, I'm nervous, and I'm out from under the shelf.
I'm sitting on the bathroom floor with my backpack on,
like ready literally ready for this help. That's you know,

(34:39):
may or may not be at my door to extract me.
And uh, here, you know, another gunshot or another grenade.
And I turned very rapidly and I didn't think about
the sort of extra with that my backpack was taking up.
And so there was a glass water bottle sitting on
the floor next to me, and my backpack made contact
with it and it fell over and it maattered across

(35:00):
the shower floor in the bathroom. The first thought was,
I have just given away in my position. Right. Everything
has been about try to make it seem like no
one is in this room. I just made what sounds
to me like, you know, an incredibly loud noise because
I'm so on edge, so it feels super super loud
to me. And I think I've just given away my position.
And I remember, I remember the thought not being I'm

(35:22):
going to die. I remember the thought being I just
forfeit my life because I made that noise, because I
was careless. And again, it's one of these things that,
like this commonplace event and I knocked something over and broke,
it becomes the center of your universe, right Like that
was the center of my universe. I couldn't believe that

(35:43):
I had done something clumsy enough that it might draw
the terrorists attention to my location. And so I'm i
It's like a clock starts in my head. I'm like, well,
what they'll be here and under a minute. I have
to imagine, right, And so I'm looking at these shards
of glass on the shower floor and I think, you
know what, I'm just done with this. I'm just done,

(36:06):
Like I'm done waiting for them to kill me. I'm
done being this victim. I'm done being told that I'm
getting saved. Like I'm just done. And I look at
these shards of glass and I think this is a weapon.
This is something I didn't have until right now, in
this moment. And I can't stop a K forty seven

(36:28):
with a shard of glass. But what I can do
is I can end my life I can take that
away from them. And I felt very defiant in that moment.
I thought like, I'm dead either way, and so at
least this way I chose. At least this way they
don't celebrate murdering me. At Least this way, there's no

(36:51):
risk that I get kidnapped and raped and tortured and
beheaded on video. Right, I was like, I'm just done.
And so I thought, as soon as I hear them
at my door, I'm gonna slip my wrists and I'm
going to bleed out. I'm gonna die. I'm gonna take
that back, because it wasn't about maybe I can survive

(37:13):
if I don't. It literally was I am debt. This
is the end of my life, and so the very
last choice I have on this earth is how how
I'm going to die? And I thought I'd rather do
it myself. When I imagine, it's almost a moment of
taking control because everything, yeah, yeah, yeah, it's like control

(37:36):
in a very out of control situation. You know, real
control would have been the ability to leave or you know,
to survive, but it was like this sort of symbol
of control in a worst case scenario. Well, you know,
I want to talk about the rescue, but before I
just want to say that understatement of the year, but

(37:57):
I am so so sorry that you had this experience
and all of it. It's it's heartbreaking to think about
you in that bathroom. Appreciate that I think that I
think the thing is and I hope that that anyone
with any familiarity with my story knows this. I am

(38:20):
finally at the place in my life where I can
say that I wouldn't take back what I've gained from
that experience. If I could make the terrorist attack not happen.
Of course I would, because so many people senselessly and
tragically and violently lost their lives that day. But I

(38:41):
survived it. And what I've gleaned about myself and my
relationship and my priorities, and what I've found in my
ability to give this one thing back to the world
that I think is my thing, that was the piece
of my life that was missing before, it doesn't feel
like it's missing anymore. Like I wouldn't give that back.
As hard as the entire thing has been and as

(39:02):
grueling and as heartbreaking as you said, So I hope
people know that. I hope they don't think I spend
my life wishing being sorry that it happened to me.
I'm sorry that it happened, but I'm not sorry for
what I've been able to take away from it. When
we come back, Mainly receives a phone call that would

(39:24):
change everything. Stay with us. For every episode of All
the Wiser You Here, we donate two thousand dollars to
a charity. Today's episode benefits Heroic Hearts Project. Heroic Hearts
Project is leading the way in the fight against PTSD.

(39:49):
They're helping veterans suffering from military trauma get the help
they need with safe, supervised access to psychedelic treatments, professional coaching,
an ongoing peer support. You can learn more about Heroic
Hearts Project on their website Heroic Hearts Project dot org.

(40:10):
I hope you'll check them out. It's been seventeen hours
since Google employee Mainly Chapin has been hiding under a
shelf in her hotel bathroom well under attack by terrorists
who were taking over the building. But something was about

(40:31):
to happen that would finally turn the tide. I got
a phone call, not on either one of my cell phones,
but on the physical like in room phone in the hotel,
and there's often as was the case in my hotel room,
there was like a phone by the bedside, and then
there was another phone in the bathroom. So that phone rang,

(40:53):
which also terrified me. I wasn't sure, like who in
the world would be calling from the side of the hotel,
but I, you know, it was like I was on
such highlert that I was definitely didn't seem like it
could be a good thing, so I did not want
to answer it, and then had been given the advice
to pick it up by you know, a trusted source

(41:14):
told me to pick it up if it rang again,
and it did, and so I picked it up, and
there was a very very calm American male voice on
the phone, and he knew my name, and he was
telling me that I was doing a great job and
to hang in there and that help would be on
the way as soon as possible. And it was startling.

(41:38):
You know, I genuinely was worried that I had started
to hallucinate because I didn't think that any of those
things could really be happening. But it turned out there
was a rescue force on the property and they were
contacting the Americans inside of the hotel and helping us
stay informed and stay calm, and it was he said,
your floor is secure, and I remember being like, wow, sorry,

(42:02):
that still brings to your to my eyes, Like I
just remember being like, I didn't even think that was
a possibility anymore. I didn't think there was any world
in which I was gonna be safe ever again in
my life. And so it's just this phrase that was
so beautiful. Um. I made him repeat it a couple
of times, and you know, he was like, it's still
imperative that you stay where you are and that you

(42:24):
continue to be hold up inside of your room, but yes,
your floor is secure, and I'll never I'll never ever
forget that phrase for as long as I live. Meanwhile,
there was this whole additional thing happening that I really
didn't understand until well after the event. But Christian Craighead
is a now retired British s A S Special Operations soldier.

(42:49):
I'm sure people will make fun of me for saying this,
but I've been told that perhaps it helps Americans to understand.
It's sort of the British version of a Navy seal,
and Christian Craig had it was on the property, and
I didn't know that, nor would I have known who
he was at the time or anything like that. But um,
he had been as the as the story goes, he
had been nearby and was made aware that this attack

(43:13):
was happening, and he, without hesitating, drove himself to the
property and started to pull people out, started to clear buildings,
and started to lead all of the sort of operations
against the terrorists. And so he was there for a

(43:34):
total of twenty two hours. And he truly is the reason,
you know, when I think about myself lying on that
shelf and saying, isn't anyone coming, isn't anyone coming? He
was the answer to that question. Like he came and
he didn't have to. You know, he saved hundreds, Like
literally when you think about all those businesses, the hotel,

(43:56):
he saved all of those people, hundreds and hundreds of
people that day, and he gave us all our our
lives back. And so it was so bizarre because I
didn't meet him that day. Um he was busy. Uh,
But you know, I learned about him later and the
fact that I truly believe, I completely believe that I
would not be alive without him, And what he did

(44:17):
that day. So after seventeen hours for me, the same

(44:45):
voice that had been on the phone was outside of
my hotel room door, accompanying a soft knock, as if
you know, nothing in the world was happening. He was saying, Maine,
we're here to get you out. Are you ready to leave?
Can you come to the door. And so I went
to the door and I'm sobbing so hard that I
can barely talk right, and I'm like beside myself, and

(45:06):
I'm I start to try to unbarricade the door, and
then I don't know if I'm allowed. Am I allowed
to unbarricade the door? Is that? Like? Do you mean
answer the door? Are we cool? Because they said you
gotta stay where you are. It's like all these things
right are going through my head and I'm in addition
to that, I've been told they'll have this special password
they're supposed to say, and they're not saying this password.
But like, I really really want to leave, and I

(45:27):
recognize this guy's voice and I just want to go.
So I start to answer the door anyway, and it's
my last moments on the phone with Google security line.
And at this point it was no longer, Melissa, because
they take shifts. But the person I was on the
phone with at that time was saying, absolutely not, do
not open your door until they've said the password or
like otherwise identified themselves. And so I say something like,

(45:49):
can you just can you just tell me who you're
with through the door, like, you know, identify yourselves as
like American military or you know, whoever you are, and
instead and I'm literally I've hung up with Google and
I'm reaching for the door knob to open the door,
and this voice, sort of husky voice that I don't
recognize that is American, growls back through the door or
something like, UM, don't worry about it. And it was

(46:12):
so absurd. It was just so ridiculous that my hands
sort of snapped back. It didn't open the door. I
was like, what, yeah, exactly, and the other guy and
you know, it's probably true. I didn't need to worry
about it. They were going to save me. It was fine.
So there were two men outside my door, and that
the guy that I had been on the phone with
said I'm really sorry about that. Mainly we're with the

(46:33):
embassy and maybe it's crazy to people, but I remember
thinking like, sure, good enough for me. I really would
like to leave, and I wrenched the door open and
there they were ready to extract me from the prest
and it goes. You also described the leaving was like
a scene out of a movie. So can you explain
that scene? Yeah, it's it's hard, I think, for people

(46:57):
to visualize what a hotel building would look like after
this sort of long lasting, very violent, explosive situation. It
was like this. It looked like arm again. It looked
like the end of the world. It was abandoned, it
was covered in broken glass. Everything that I expected to

(47:20):
see intact was no longer intact. People always ask me
if I saw bodies in the lobby. I didn't. But
I also had been told by Melissa many hours before
to stare at my shoes. She was like, when you're
being extracted, you've seen, heard, felt enough, just look at
your shoes and try not to look around you because
it's a really horrific scene. And so I really tried

(47:43):
to do that on my way out, but it was. Yeah,
it was the aftermath in the movie that I had
seen begin seventeen hours before. And I want to jump ahead.
I know you're at that point taken to the US
embassy and eventually you may get home, you survive. But
you know, you've said that terrorists or pretty good at

(48:07):
their jobs. Clearly, the terror of that moment and the
ripple effects the families who lost loved ones, and the
trauma that's so many endured, but the trauma to some
extent is just beginning for you. And that is the
heart of your work and your service today. So how

(48:30):
is it showing up in your day to day life?
You know? The thing that I always think about with
that part of the experience is that I didn't see
it coming. That's I think what was so difficult about
it for me, what was so shocking for me. I
remember thinking, like, I did it. I made it somehow,

(48:53):
um beyond any likelihood. I survived, and I get to
go back to my family, and I get to go
back to my life, and I get to go back
to my job. And then when I got home, I
was okay for a couple of days. I was sort
of in shock for a couple of days. It still
didn't feel real. And then the very first symptom that

(49:14):
I had that I would then have for a very
long time was I was trying to go to sleep
in my what's sort of a guest room, but the
room I was staying in at my parents house. I
was trying to go to sleep one night and I
started to panic, like my heart started slamming back to
that like it hurt. My heart was pounding so hard

(49:34):
it hurt, and my hands started shaking, and I started
crying and sweating. And I was lying there and I
was listening for an explosion. I was not thinking, you know,
about where I was, or you know, whether or not
I was safe. There was no conscious that I was
waiting for a massive earth shattering sound that would sound

(49:56):
just like the one that I had heard in Kenya.
And I I had to get up. I had to
get up out of bed, and I was crying, and
my then fiance, my now husband, was asking me what
was happening. And I didn't know, Like I didn't know
what was happening to me. I didn't know why that
was happening, and and I was very shocked by it.
And so I started to have a lot of difficulty

(50:17):
going to bed, and when I could go to sleep,
I would have very vivid nightmares of terrorism. And so
I was suffering from insomnia, I was suffering from nightmares,
and then I started having panic attacks. So there would
be things that would remind me very vividly of the attack,
like the sound of a fire alarm or the sound
of a firework, and I would like hit the floor

(50:40):
in the fetal position, shaking and crying, and I felt
very outside of myself. I felt like I didn't know
who I was. I didn't know why this was happening.
I couldn't focus, I couldn't work, I couldn't sleep. I
didn't feel like I was in control of my emotions.
And then all of these effects together started to manifest

(51:02):
as this like deep, deep rage, which is something that
I really never have otherwise dealt with in my life.
I'm like a pretty upbeat person, and I was so angry.
I was so angry at the whole world, and I
would just scream at my loved ones. It was like
anything they said, I would say, how dare you? And

(51:24):
you can't possibly understand? And you know, and then and
then I would feel like like I didn't even deserve
to have my family back, right. All I wanted was
to get my family back. Now Here I am and
I'm screaming in their faces because they're trying to help me. Um,
and so then I would go into these long, like

(51:45):
spiral sessions of just like guilt and shame, and I
would just sob and sob and sob, and I just
remember thinking, like it became this thought all the time
in my head, of like I didn't deserve to survive this.
I should have died there every one would be better off. Yeah,
I mean it sounds like all of it guilt, shame,

(52:06):
and then going back to the driver, the constant hyper
vigilance and fear, which must be just exhausting. Yeah, exhausting
is right, And I try to when I try to
explain it to people who haven't experience that, I say, first,
imagine that you're sleeping like two hours a night, best
case scenario, and then imagine that you're deeply convinced that

(52:29):
everything and everyone might suddenly become very dangerous. Right, you know,
the only safe place is sort of this one corner
of your apartment. So you can't go to the gym,
and you can't go to the grocery store, and you
can't go to work, and you can't focus for more
than a few minutes without having an extremely vivid flashback,
and by the end of the flashback, you're shaking and
sweating and crying, and then in the rare moments of

(52:50):
lucidity that you do have, you're thinking, I don't want
to be this person, Like is this who I am now?
I I don't want to When I when I was
fighting for my life, when I was begging the universe
to let me survive, it was to be the person
that I was before the attack, not this sort of

(53:14):
messy I felt very like dilapidated, very down on myself,
very depressed, Like it wasn't to be this this like
shell of my former self. So what's the point? That
was like really really the struggle at the time. And
you also talked about this notion of the world being unsafe,

(53:35):
which becomes your new reality, and how that leads to
cutting yourself off from this unsafe world. You know, you
said exercise was but the is the gym safe? Well?
Can I go to dinner? If I go to dinner,
I need to find the nearest exit. So your world
starts to shrink, which I imagine exacerbates the depress Shian isolation.

(54:01):
The and so that input of joy, of connection of
community is getting smaller and smaller as a result of
the trauma. That's exactly right. Yeah, And you think about
just just start from one belief right that we've discussed
repeatedly so far. I believe that when I travel for

(54:22):
work and stay in a five star hotel, I'm safe. Right.
That was a belief I had never questioned, and that
had been so wildly untrue that that's what your brain
starts doing. It starts going, well, I used to think
the gym was safe. Well. I used to think that
restaurants were safe. Well, I used to think the grocery
store was safe. Right. And you begin to unpin all

(54:43):
of these beliefs and say, like, I don't know anymore. Clearly,
I don't have the ability to know what's safe and
what's not, So I better just not take any chances.
That's what it starts to feel like. And and you're
exactly right. That means you're not seeing friends, you're not
doing the things you love, you're not getting for me,
like exercises. The thing still very much to this day

(55:03):
that sort of keeps me saying I always say it
like makes me a better person. And I wasn't getting
that right, And I wasn't getting to work, and it's
so like, in addition to losing stimulus and losing connection
and losing all of these pieces of your world, you
also very much lose your identity and that was so
so difficult. So the path to healing, surprisingly, or I

(55:26):
would say I found it to be really interesting and cool,
involves the FBI, who knew yeah yeah, um in what
is another sort of absurd moment? In what is a
life that is much much stranger than fiction. Well, I
guess two things are important to know. The first is

(55:48):
that there's a small department inside of the FBI whose
duty is to assist American survivors of international terrorist attacks,
so like me, and and the second thing to know
is that they had been made aware of my existence,

(56:09):
of my survival long before I was aware of them.
And so you know, when I was still in the hotel,
they were already getting updates on me. They knew which
flights I would be on back to the US, they
were tracking everything to make sure that I got home safely.
And so they actually come. My victims specialist came to
my parents home in Ohio and rang the doorbell that evening,
and my fiance and my brother, I think, went and

(56:32):
answered it, and she handed him a like a Okay,
that also makes me an emotional still, she handed him
like a a care package, and it was it really
speaks to the fact that she knew the mental fallout
was coming before I did. Right, This was a care
package of like tissues and water and a stuffed animal

(56:54):
and a comforting note. And I remember how important those
items became to me a couple of days later. But
more importantly was this idea that like someone understood. Someone
must have understood what I'd be going through to have
dropped this off. And so her business card was in it,
and I called her I think at the behest honestly
of my family or you know, I don't remember whose

(57:15):
idea it was. And she would come and sit with
me in my parents home in Ohio for hours, just
as long as I wanted to sit there as I
would cry and say, I don't know what's happening, and
I'm having these panic attacks, and she would just sit
with me and she would talk to me, and she
told me all of these things that didn't feel true
at the time but turned out to be like so accurate.
And I still talked to her, and she's amazing and

(57:37):
was like this just like symbol of hope, and I
don't know. It was like she believed that I could
live through it, and so I believed it because she
believed it. And so she was the first person to
say to me, I think that you are developing PTSD
and we really need to think about getting you a
trauma therapist. And I remember arguing with I remember saying,

(58:01):
that's ridiculous. I'm not a veteran. I didn't fight any terrorists.
I can't have PTSD, because that was sort of the
limited understanding that I had of PTSD at the time.
One of course I did have PTSD, and the fact
that I couldn't believe that I had PTSD was exacerbating
my symptoms. So it was the FBI. Was that group
in the FBI that found me My trauma therapist in

(58:23):
California told her to expect my call, then confirmed with
me that I had made my first appointment, then confirmed
with me that I had attended my first appointment, liked
it and intended to go back, and then checked in
with me periodically throughout treatment to make sure that I
was improving, that I was continuing to attend and that
I could manage the financial burden is someone who has

(58:45):
deeply lived it, both the trauma and the post trauma.
How do we process trauma and how do we heal
from it? What is the path to healing perhaps for
those who are getting in it and and haven't taken
that first step. Yeah, I think that, And I don't

(59:08):
mean to sidestep your question at all. I just want
to be super clear that there are so many different
paths to healing, and I actually think that's really important
to say, because it is not one size fits all, right,
Like what worked for me may well not work for
someone else. So what's so I think hopeful about that
is that there are so many methods of treatment out

(59:30):
there that, like, to me, that's so amazing and so
important because there is one that can work right. There
are methods of treatment for PTSD that are coming out
right now that have six success rate for treatment resistant
PTSD right for people who feel that they've already tried everything.
So I truly believe that for every person there is
an answer. It's just really different for everyone. What I

(59:53):
would say is probably always true is that step one
is integrating your trauma into your personality into who you
are right, How does this affect who I am, what
I believe, what I want to do with my life,
what I'm able to do physically right now on a

(01:00:14):
daily basis, the mental symptoms and the mental fallout, and
then understanding that whatever that means for you, however, that
trauma is coming to life for you right now, it's
not permanent. Whatever method of treatment does work for you,
it's going to help you alleviate some of those symptoms.

(01:00:35):
It's going to help you integrate that into who you
are and move forward with your life. If you feel
so incredibly stuck the way that I did, that's a
symptom of trauma, right, and that can be alleviated. I
don't feel stuck in my life today, but I did
at that time. The last thing that I want to
say is like, for me, the most important part of trauma.

(01:00:59):
Therey and I did a very sort of classic talk
therapy based trauma therapy protocol called prolonged exposure, and it
involved talking about what happened to me over and over again,
which is one of the only reasons I can do
things like this. I can talk about it very comfortably
now because I had all that experience processing it, and
so that made sense to me. One of the things
that was so important to my recovery that I didn't

(01:01:20):
realize i'd have to do is grieve the person I
had lost, Right, I had to grieve the person that
I was before the terrorist attacked because I could never
again be that person. I could never be the girl
who thought of herself as immortal, or who walked into
Nirobi without a care in the world. Right, it just

(01:01:42):
wasn't going to happen. That girl can't be the same
one who has lived this experience. And so grieving the
person that I used to be was this critical, critical
part of my recovery and one that I talk a
lot about when I talk with other survivors. Well, you know,
you've touched on it several times. The identity piece, the
loss of your the only identity you knew until then,

(01:02:04):
and the new understanding of yourself and your identity. And
so I want to talk about your choice to name
your brilliant book about this messy middle terrorist attack girl,
because that's really leaning into the identity. So you do
make a conscious choice to name your book and to

(01:02:28):
step into that piece of yourself. So if you can
touch on that and just the why of that in
the process. Yeah, I love and I so appreciate that question.
I want to sort of preface this by saying, and
I try to always mention this when I'm talking about
healing from trauma, the only thing I've ever gone through

(01:02:50):
in my life that was as difficult as the terrorist
attack was healing afterward and doing all of that talk
therapy and doing all of that work. But I do
always say, at least for me, the only thing worse
than the only thing harder than trauma treatment was living
with PTSD, And so that was what made it worth
it to go back and do that work over and

(01:03:10):
over because at the end of the day, I had
a new identity that I love and that I'm proud of,
and I was done with trauma therapy and I didn't
have PTSD anymore. So it's like all upside. But it
was a ton of ton of work, and so part
of that work for me, I was trying to understand

(01:03:31):
how I wanted to integrate this experience into my life
right because I was again I was taking control, I
was being guided by my therapist. I was learning that
I could choose how exactly this experience was going to
play a role in my life going forward, and I did.
I felt exactly the thing you're talking about. Every room

(01:03:52):
that I walked into, I was terrorist attack girl. You know,
if I went to Google, I was the girl who
had been in the terrorist attack, and if I went
to extended family, I was the girl had been in
the terrorist attack. And if I attended a wedding, I
was the girl who had been in the terrorist attack.
And like, it felt like it was defining me. And
I remember saying to someone, you know what, if this

(01:04:12):
experience is going to live at the center of my identity,
then I'm going to choose what it means. If I'm
going to walk in that room and be terrorist attack girl,
I'm going to be really proud of it, and it's
going to have a whole meaning to me that I
care about that fits with my new identity. And so
for me, I wanted it to mean that's that girl

(01:04:35):
who's trying to bring hope and empathy to other people,
to other survivors and to their families. Because the vast
majority of us will go through something very difficult, at
least one very very difficult thing in our lives and
that tends to make us feel alone and depressed and
in pain. And I really believe that by getting out

(01:04:58):
there and by putting out my book Terrorist a Tack Girl,
and by doing these um podcasts and interviews, that I
can help people feel less alone, people who are in it,
people who do feel stuck, and that I can give
them empathy to know that I was there, I know
what it feels like and hope that they can heal.
And that's what being Terrorist Attack Girl means to me,

(01:05:20):
because I get to define it. I love all of
that so much. I don't want to gloss over how
hard the work was and how much you showed up
again and again and again on this journey of healing
and rediscovery. I'm so glad that the payoff was there

(01:05:41):
for you. Thank you. I'm really deeply thankful that I
had an incredible support system and that I had access
to that type of treatment, because most people don't, and
most people certainly don't. Thank you for saying that that's
so true, and for you to recognize that and be
aware of it and and have gratitude for it. Did

(01:06:03):
you ever meet Melissa or Christian? Yeah? I actually met
them both. Um not together. But I met up with
Melissa on Google campus and we had a lunch together
when I was back, and I it's almost this funny
thing because I think, like, for me, she was my hero,
and for her I was some version of, you know,

(01:06:26):
a hero to her. I had been the one who
actually lived through it, and she for me, she had
been this like all knowing, insanely calm, exactly what I
needed in the moments that I needed it, like disembodied voice.
But it was just it was so special just to
sit there with her and like and to see her

(01:06:47):
in the flesh and and like put this face to
this um voice that that is this critical central part
of my survival. So that was really special and it's cool,
you know, She's like, it was just cool. She's young,
and she's a woman, and she does this job where
this is not her typical day, sort of one of

(01:07:09):
the most extraordinary days of her career and the most
extraordinary day of my life, and one of the only
people who will ever understand exactly what it was like
for me moment to moment because she heard me dealing
with it. So that was a really really special thing.
And then, um, I never thought in a million years
I would get to meet Christian Craig. It I became

(01:07:31):
this like super fan obviously sort of digitally. The whole
Internet was like talking about him and trying to figure
out who he was. And they knew that he had
carried this bag like kit that had the black Beard
flag on it, and so I got all this black
Beard flag paraphernalia, and you know, I became this, yeah,
this like super fan. Yes, exactly, became a groupie um.

(01:07:54):
And I never I never even thought I would know
like his identity, much less get to meet him, but
he did happen to higher and so he ultimately now
has made himself like a public figure. You can look up,
you know, he's done Instagram and he's just this like wonderful, crazy,
you know, British Captain America type person. And so we

(01:08:15):
did get connected ultimately, and we sat down in a
hotel in Washington, d C. And and I don't I
don't know what you're supposed to say to a total
stranger who didn't just save you, but like was literally
willing to die to save you across the world. I

(01:08:38):
don't know what you're supposed to say when you meet
that person. And I feel like I'm always the person
who like says the right thing. I always have the
right thing to say. But I just I just crabbed him,
like I just hugged him, and I just never wanted
to let go because because there were no words. Right,
there's no version of thank you for giving me my

(01:09:00):
life back. There's no version of like, I don't know you,
but you're the reason I got to marry my husband,
and you're the reason that my brother I didn't have
to attend my funeral, right, and so sorry, this is
like no I'm crying to I'm I'm sorry, but they're

(01:09:21):
like happy to yours, you know. But it's just it's
so extraordinary, and I think it's so important to why
I was able to heal, because while my view of
evil radically was changed that day, my view of good

(01:09:42):
and the goodness of humanity was also radically impacted that
day in that I got to see a total stranger
walk in there and saved my life and he didn't
have to and he didn't know me, and he didn't
get anything from it. And so it was like, as
as much evil as there is in the world, and

(01:10:03):
as much evil as humanity can perpetrate. It was so magical.
It was so meaningful to know that we can put
out just as much, if not more good, Like that
is everything to me. So he like didn't only save
my life, he saved my my world view. So yeah,
I don't know how to put that into word. I

(01:10:24):
love everything about that. The yeah, obviously that he saved
you in your hair, but also that you're able to
see that optimistic, hopeful, loving worldview because in large part
because of him. Yeah. What do you hope people take

(01:10:46):
away from your story? Um? When I was when I
was really struggling, like when I was really in the
thick of it, when I didn't feel like I deserved
to be alive, I felt so alone in that, And

(01:11:08):
so I hope that anyone who comes across this story
is left with the idea that we are never ever alone,
and in particular, in the moments when we are in
the most pain, we are not alone. I hear a
story every day of someone saying like, this is my story.

(01:11:30):
Our experiences are completely different, our lives are completely different,
we look different, we live in different places. But when
I read your words, I know them. I felt that
and I felt alone, And that's the thing like, we're
never alone. Pain is the one thing that every human
being knows, and so when we're in the most pain,
we're probably least alone. And I think there's something So

(01:11:52):
while that's so sad, right, it's sad to think that
we all hurt, I think that there's so much hope
to be taken from that, because if I can get
through it, even having told you how dark and ugly
and painful and just horrific it was, I truly believe
that anyone else can get through it. Thank you for

(01:12:14):
your courage in sharing your story, your bravery and vulnerability,
and talking about the hard parts and the messy parts,
and just leaning into this new identity which I very
much see as service to others who are in their
own pain or suffering. So for all of it, thank you,

(01:12:37):
And you know, thank you for your trust in me
today of course, Thanks for having me in, Thanks for
listening and making it feel like a space where I
could talk about those things and even cry. Okay, we're
going to do a quick lightning round, but before that,
where can people find your book and your app Trauma Brace. Yeah,

(01:12:59):
my book Terrorists Deteck Girl is available pretty much across
digital platforms, but it's easiest to find on Amazon. The
audio book is on Audible, which I narrated myself. If
somehow you still want to listen to another seven or
eight hours of my voice, then you can grab the
audio book and then yeah, you know, we have this
self help app for people who are struggling to process

(01:13:23):
trauma to use the evidence based protocols that I used
in my treatment for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost.
So it's not about turning a profit. It's about making proper,
evidence based treatment tools available at a very affordable price.
And the app is called Trauma Brace and it's available
on the Apple App Store. And we will link to

(01:13:44):
both of those in the show notes, and if you
follow us on Instagram, will have links there as well.
So we're gonna end with something light a lightning rounds excellent.
Favorite time of year ever season, easily the autumn. I
love autumn. I love when the colors change. I just

(01:14:05):
think it's so beautiful. First thing you do in the morning.
What is the very first thing I do in the morning?
Let my dogs outside in your new puppy Yes, best
book you've ever readden that's so hard. I love to read.
One of the best books I've ever read is Salt

(01:14:27):
in My Soul, which is I talked about in my
book as well, but it just gave me hope at
a time that I really needed some. And it's a
beautiful and sad and compelling story of a young woman
who lost her life. Binge worthy show, Oh man, I've
been on these like um recreation shows right, so was

(01:14:49):
it inventing Anna on Netflix? And the Girl in the
picture is just yeah, these like crazy stories that are
yes real, but there's ranger than fiction. Favorite way to
spend a Friday night, Oh my gosh, I'm so lame.
My favorite favorite way to spend a Friday night is
curled up on my couch watching Like a Terrible rom

(01:15:11):
Com and eating take out with my husband. Sounds good
to me. Best piece of advice you've ever been given,
oh man, ever been given? One of my favorite pieces
of advice is open every door you can for yourself,
so that you get to choose which one you walk through.

(01:15:32):
So fitting for your story. Thank you again, and I
can't wait to share this with our listeners. Oh, thank
you so much. Happy to be here, all right, take
care you too. All the Wiser is produced by Erica
Girard of pod Kit Productions. Our composer and sound designer
is John LaSala, and our associate producer is Tara Daegel.

(01:15:58):
We would love to know what you thought of this
episode and Maine story. You can share your thoughts on
our brand new All the Wiser Facebook group and connect
with other listeners in our community who I Adore. You
can find the link in our show notes or on
our Instagram page at All the Wiser Podcast. Thank you

(01:16:21):
for listening, and until next time, take care of yourself
and each other.

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