Survivors of trauma find paths to healing

Sheriff: Jayme Closs found alive, suspect in custody (Photo from Barron County Sheriff's Department)

Every trauma and situation is different. Every path for survivors is different too.

That path is just beginning for Jayme Closs of Wisconsin who was found 88 days after she was reported missing.

A 21-year-old man, who she didn't know, now stands accused of kidnapping Closs and killing her parents.

Wisconsin officials say there is no indication the family knew the suspect, Jake Thomas Patterson.

The Dougy Center in Southeast Portland is not working on the case but works with children and teens who face trauma regularly.

It says, going forward, Closs will need support, and that support will have to come in a number of different ways.

For any 13-year-old, one trauma can be difficult enough to work through. But Closs now faces at least two serious traumas: Being kidnapped and the murder of her parents.

According to Donna Schuurman, the senior director of advocacy at the Dougy Center, some of that work includes simple routines.

“Routine without being rigid, trying to re-establish normalcy in what is a traumatizing set of circumstances,” he said.

Schuurman also says Closs will need a support system in the form of friends and family as well as therapy to help her process.

Hear from a survivor of trauma on what that journey to healing looks like:

While it takes work, the positive is there. There is such a thing as living a normal life after something like this. It's just a new and different normal.

Survivors like Andrea Benson say the road ahead is long.

“I think many people feel very alone after that. Like, no one could understand what they are going through,” she said.

Benson is a sex-trafficking survivor. While her story is different than Closs’s, severe trauma is something she is familiar with.

“I felt like no one else understood me,” she said.

It’s something she thinks Closs may also feel.

“Feeling like you’ll never be able to get better. You’ll never heal because the pain is so great and so deep,” Benson said.

But she says in time there is such a thing as finding your new normal. There is hope.

“You’re never going to be the person you were, but you are going to come out stronger,” she said.

And for that healing she says there should be no time frame.

“Some people heal a lot faster than others. We are all going to have our ups and downs,” Benson said. “It takes a lot of mentoring, a lot of counseling, therapy groups.”

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