Thirteen years ago, Natalie Feltch was the victim of an abusive relationship that left her with a concussion, bruises across her body and hand prints around her neck.
Here, she recounts the awful abuse that led to her decision to leave, how she survived and her daily fight to conquer the perils of Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome.
PTSD: What I Learned the Hard Way (from Pain Prayer Purpose)
Living day after day for so many years not knowing what was going to happen next became my reality. Sleeping in the middle of the night, being awoken to a man wanting to fight about random things...Sometimes I would drive to my parents’ and sleep in the middle of the night so I could get up and work the next morning. My abuser stayed home, sleeping until noon - our son with a babysitter.
I’d find empty cases of Crown Royal beer and hidden TV bills from him watching porn. I tried to get my abuser to pull it together, to take his shifts as a volunteer EMT.
I never knew what I would do to make him mad.
When our second child was born, I made him get a job. A friend got my abuser hired to sort parts at a machinery company. He was there 10 days when he told his boss he had to take a few days off.
He came home and beat me in front of my two children, choked me as I lay on the floor and repeatedly punched me in the head as I covered my face. My son was four years old at the time, screaming and kicking for his dad to let me up. I had a concussion and bruises on my face, chest, arms and legs. I had hand prints around my neck. I didn't remember him choking me and law enforcement noticed the hand prints.
When I got up, he started crying for me not to call the police.
He pleaded for Natalie to not call the police.
With no cell phone, I put the kids in the car. My abuser walked out of the house with a stone cold look on his face. I raced to the police station.
He outran the police in Ouray, Utah. They found him in Salt Lake City, Utah the next day. A family friend and City Police officer let his mother make the three hour drive to pick him up so he could be booked into the Vernal, Utah jail for about the third time.
I left my abuser that day. Police sat outside the house while people quickly helped me move my things out.
Two years later, the shooting happened. It happened on Halloween.
After the shooting that occurred on Halloween in 2009, the kids and I started to attend a local Christian Church. Although religion was not something we knew much about, we all knew that someone was watching over us.
About a year and half after we started attending, I went through one of the hardest seasons of my life.
The court orders victims of domestic violence to receive counseling. I remember during one of the incidents a counselor said that sometimes, it takes trauma a long time to hit.
Soon after her abuser was sentenced to prison and they were finished in the courts, Natalie moved her family out on their own. Shortly after, she began suffering from PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder).
I literally had a breakdown. I was able to hide it from co-workers and friends. On the surface, everyone would tell me how strong I was and how well I was doing. Only my parents knew what I was going through. I was told I would experience trauma symptoms but no one could have prepared me for this.
Natalie received treatment and held on to her newfound faith in God. The Lord began to surround her and her children with amazing people and a church family to support and encourage them.
I never felt alone. My kids found amazing friends, and were attending the local Christian School. We had a very solid foundation in Christ. Things were going to be ok.
As more drama unfolded in Natalie’s life, she held steady to her faith in God and fights every day to overcome PTSD and the trauma triggers that spark an episode.
Today, she is using her story to encourage and motivate other women who have experienced the same struggles.
To learn more about Natalie Feltch, visit www.PainPrayerPurpose.com
Follow her on Instagram @PainPrayerPurpose.