The Survivors Speak Interview series is dedicated to amplifying the voices of survivors by providing a platform to share our stories and connect us through experiences and healing. Read stories of Childhood Trauma as survivors share their pain, their hope, and their healing. Share your story in writing.
Stephanie’s Story (Boulder, CO USA)
Please tell us what inspires you to share your story.
I am inspired to tell my story so I can help others who have similarly experienced trauma in their life. Now that I am a medical student who has been able to take control of my mental and physical health illness, I feel more empowered to help others.
Introduce yourself: tell us about your passions, interests, family life, favorite quotes, etc.
My name is Stephanie and I am a third year medical student that is passionate about advocating for disenfranchised and disempowered individuals and communities.
I have done advocacy work my entire life including running community health fairs in college, being a caregiver for elderly populations, and a bilingual case manager for children with disabilities.
During COVID-19 I co-founded the grassroots organization Chicago Homelessness and Health Response Group for Equity, @CHHRGE in Instagram to provide the needed support to the homeless community during the pandemic.
Please share your story in as much or as little detail as you are comfortable
My past involves a complex childhood trauma history, including 5 ACEs (physical and emotional abuse, neglect, family member with mental illness, family member trying to commit suicide) and racial discrimination. This trauma prevented me from getting the health resources and education needed to be properly treated and cared for.
Since I experienced abdominal and pelvic pain since puberty, I have visited multiple physicians who were unable to properly diagnose me. My experience was a mix of medical gaslighting, misdiagnosis, and not taking me seriously for being a young Latina with no family support.
It wasn’t until I became a second year medical student that I acquired the knowledge and medical privilege of standing up for my needs and was able to get properly diagnosed through specialized medical care. My unique position as a medical student was a privilege that allowed me to advocate for myself in a way I had never had the confidence to do before.
Last Fall I was finally able to be properly diagnosed with Endometriosis with tubal occlusion through surgery. I was also diagnosed and treated for my anxiety. Additionally, I am currently going through IVF egg removal to freeze embryo to be used after I my husband and I complete our residency training in 7-8 years.
What are some of the challenging ways your trauma has manifested in your life?
As I will explain in my future book, trauma and ACEs significantly impacted my mental health, physical health, and relationships with my peers and husband.
When did healing begin? Was there a catalyst moment and how did you reach this point?
Healing was really focused once I felt like I was in a safe environment away from my family (1000mi away) and after I had turned off all communications with them officially. I also had to have my own medical insurance and stability to afford mental and physical health professionals. This healing process began a couple years ago and it was a step by step process. First, I got a long term therapist, then I received anxiety medications, then I began group and partner therapy work, then I took a leave of absence from school to spend more time and focus on healing.
One of the things I did for my healing is went back to a physical movement routine by teaching Zumba, dance, kickboxing, yoga, and other movement classes. Then, I am getting a somatic movement trauma therapy certification where I am adding in trauma focused movements during my classes.
What has your healing journey looked like day-to-day: techniques, modalities, practices, tools you use?
While driving to work or school I listen to healing podcasts of other people who are similarly going through a healing journey (Tightlips, Bodies, The Marriage is Hard/Relational Healing)
I write/journal my thoughts and put them in my draft for my book or prepare posts for Instagram
What are two are three things you have learned as you heal that you believe are important for survivors to know as they heal?
Have an emotion’s wheel on your phone and in your house to constantly use with your friends, partner, and housemates.
Know your defense mechanisms, what triggers them, and how you specifically react.
Find something you love to do/listen to/or look at that will calm you down and work to incorporate that thing every day and use it when you get triggered
Additional Information and Links to Stephanie’s Journey & Work
Read her article about ACEs impact on mental health & her article on ACES impact on physical health
In addition to synthesizing and sharing my journey through social media on Instagram @medpsycmoss I am in the process of writing a book about how childhood trauma and ACEs have a direct impact on mental health, physical health, and relationships.
Through using my own personal experiences and research through books, research articles, and med school I hope to create an impact memoire and resource for clinicians and patients alike.
Follow Stephanie’s Journeyhttps://www.patreon.com/stephmossjourney
Watch Stephanie Share her Story LIVE on Instagram
Would you like to share your story LIVE with Shanon on Surviving Childhood Trauma? Submit to participate below.
Resources at Surviving Childhood Trauma
- 1:1 Peer Support & Guidance Sessions
- Survivor’s Circle Online Peer Support Group
- Focused Writing E-Journals
- Email List