Iframe src=’https://www.npr.org/player/embed/1129257212/1129638230’>SHE SURVIVED A MASS SHOOTING AND THEN CREATED A GRAPHIC NOVEL TO HELP OTHERS
‘width=100%’, ‘height=290’, and ‘frameborder=0′ scrolling=’no’ Expand this image, title=’NPR embedded audio player’ Ignoring This Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement
switch to caption by Kindra Neely Numb To This, copyright 2022
Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Kindra Neely waited years before asking for help.
She made it through the mass shooting at Oregon’s Umpqua Community College seven years ago, which left eight students and one professor dead and eight more injured. In the hope of assisting others, she has now written about her experience in her first graphic novel, Numb to This: Memoir of a Mass Shooting.
“This book” was something I was kind of seeking for immediately following the shooting, Neely added. I believe that in my case, it was important for me to know what would happen to me in a few years. Specifically, what was anticipated or what should I watch out for.
She describes not just what occurred that day but also her journey of overcoming the guilt and psychological toll in the book. She expresses the hope that other trauma and gun violence survivors will realize that making progress is a difficult but achievable task.
In her words, “I believe just having the depiction of what occurs next is crucial for individuals because without it, you can kind of get trapped in the “I don’t know what happens next; I don’t know what to do” mindset. And that, ultimately, “can kind of delay your whole existence.”
PUSHING FORWARD IN THE MIDST OF CONSTANT VIOLENCE Expand this picture Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement
switch to caption Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement The publication of Neely’s book coincides with the escalation of gun violence and mass shootings in the US.
She recounts seeing gun violence in the Texas hamlet where she grew up towards the opening of the book. Her responses to shootings at the Pulse Nightclub in Orlando, the concert in Las Vegas, and Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland are then depicted on various pages of the book.
After learning more about the causes of these incidents and how tolerant society may be of them, Neely said, “I did want to include in there that we couldn’t be tolerant with this, since this is happening to individuals that I care about.” I care about these strangers who are experiencing this, and you know, I wouldn’t want this to happen to anyone else.
Neely claimed that the parts of the book where she hears of a new shooting appear disorganized and disorganized because, at the time, she wasn’t handling her emotions effectively and hadn’t yet discovered the means to deal with them.
She claimed that although she now has these tools, the repeated trauma still hurts.
She remarked, “Uvalde in particular truly felt like the wind got knocked out of me.” It isn’t necessarily the case with every single one, though. And I kind of take preventative measures now just so I won’t be overwhelmed by it. But yes, it did feel like a hit to the stomach.
Managing the emotional cost Expand this picture Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement
switch to caption Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Neely stated that she was fortunate to have found people through free resources who had assisted her in overcoming the mental health effects of the shooting, despite not having the financial means to pay for regular treatment.
She recounts incidents in the book where a loud noise or a crowded space would cause her to have a panic attack. But she also demonstrates how the shooting gradually changed her relationships with others, made her angry, and gave her a persistent sense of helplessness.
To resolve that, she had to allow herself to experience her uncomfortable feelings rather than ignoring them.
It’s just a matter of acknowledging those moments when I do feel that way and sort of just saying, “No, it’s OK to feel awful.” You should feel awful about these things, Neely said. And that is beneficial because you are processing the emotion rather than allowing it to fester and worsen.
FEELING “VIOLATED” BY THE PRESENCE OF THE MEDIA Expand this picture Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement
switch to caption Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement The novel by Neely also explores interactions with the media following the shooting.
Unauthorized publication of a picture of her and a friend reconciling after the massacre. Additionally, as a vigil for the victims was taking place, she was overrun by reporters and others seeking information.
She wrote in the book that she felt “violated” when the picture was released. Her perspective, however, altered as a result of her reflections and conversations with the journalists who were there that day.
She came to the realization that many of those reporters not only lacked relevant expertise, but also had the necessary training to speak to survivors in a sympathetic and compassionate manner. She claimed that some training and post-event debriefing would help to protect both the journalists and the subjects they interview.
GETTING RELIEF FROM ART Expand this picture Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement
switch to caption Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Kindra Neely’s 2022 copyright statement Because Neely chose to tell her narrative through a graphic novel, the book’s pages are also brimming with vivid, evocative imagery of her life both before and after the shooting.
She claimed that she first took up drawing as a hobby, but it wasn’t until after college—and the shooting—that she gave it serious thought as a vocation.
Drawing can help you in so many different ways mentally, which is why I love it, she said. “When I’m producing something like comics, especially in the early creation of them, it’s more of a problem to solve because you’re trying to tell a story in the best way possible and how can you make the characters and setting work for you,” the author says.
Additionally, she finds painting to be calming; it helps her to be present in the moment, especially when drawing from nature, and hopefully marks another step toward recovery.