109: Amy Watson | Abuse Survivor and Living with PTSD
Amy Watson | Abuse Survivor and Living with PTSD
Amy Watson is a Florida girl who loves a simple life, Jesus, family, friends, football and the beach (usually in that order).
While being introduced for a speaking opportunity a few years ago, the pastor asked “who are you?”. The words that followed shocked even me: “I am the precious daughter of the most high God”.
Amy has spent most of her life defining herself by all that she has survived; all that she has accomplished or all the degrees on her wall. The truth is, her answer to that pastor’s question that day is the definition that is most important, and one that she hopes truly defines her life when she is gone.
Amy grew up in a children’s home, graduated from Clearwater Christian College with a degree in Biology (1994); was married for 12 years to a man who tried to kill her and somewhere along the way managed to earn her Masters Degree in Business Administration. She has enjoyed success as an entrepreneur as well as an educator.
She is the host of Wednesdays With Watson Podcast where she educates and encourages others living with PTSD.
Amy Watson joins me to discuss growing up in a state of turmoil that involved trauma and neglect, meeting Jesus in a children’s home, 12 years of domestic abuse, living with complex PTSD and how Jesus is the star of her story.
Questions Amy and I Discuss:
- (4:09) The definition of turmoil is a state of great disturbance, confusion, or uncertainty and it is fitting of portions of your childhood. Take us back and share with our listeners a little about your childhood experiences.
- (9:14) When you did enter the children’s home,? Who came along to say no more, this ?
- (6:47) Tell us a little bit about the children’s home, you say it was some of the best years of your life.
- (21:25) How did you end up attending a Christian college?
- (23:16) You eventually met and married a man who abused you to the point of almost taking your life. Tell us about your relationship.
- (31:49) Was there a little bit of relief of this guy can’t hurt me anymore?
- (33:32) It would be nice to say after the divorce you lived happily ever after, but the reality is you were diagnosed with PTSD and have battled substance abuse. Tell us a little bit about those first, four to five years after you walked away from your abusive marriage.
- (40:37) Share a little about complex PTSD.
- (49:17) What are the 3 C’s you focus on during Wednesdays With Watson? (community, church, counseling)
Quotes to Remember:
“I am a survivor of a lot of trauma.”
“We were padlocked in a room that I have dubbed the prison room. And sometimes we were allowed to eat and sometimes we weren’t. Sometimes we saw my mom and my stepdad and sometimes we didn’t.”
“I love my mom, I didn’t understand why she locked us in a room. I didn’t understand why we didn’t get food. I didn’t understand why the physical abuse happened and why she let all this stuff happen. And so from the time I was seven to 14 when I went to a children’s home, the definition of my life was absolute turmoil.”
“We show up at the house and I don’t even get out of the car, because I could see the note on the door. She had left a sticky note, ‘Gone to get married. Mom’.”
“I was there [children’s home] for about 30 minutes….She said, ‘Has anybody told you today that they love you?’ And I just looked at her and said, ‘No, ma’am.’ She said, ‘Well, I’m Mom McGowan, and I love you.’.”
“The reason why those were the best years of my life is I’ve never been loved more purely, and without any expectation….Pure undefiled love, keeps no wrongs First Corinthians love.”
“I had suitcases all over the city of St. Augustine. I told him the next time you hit me or tell me to leave our house, I’m going to do it. When he did it that night, one of the things that a smart domestic violence survivor does is leave on their terms…The average domestic violence survivor will go back seven times. That was not going to be my story.”
“He caused problems for me for eight of those 12 years to the point where the state of Florida had a lifetime restraining order against him….He has he since passed away. He died in a hotel room of a drug overdose by himself….I laid in bed and said, ‘God, you parted the Red Sea. Why can’t you fix this?’ And He didn’t fix it and so when I found out that he died in a hotel room… I had another dark night of my soul….I was devastated that he died by himself.”
“I was on lockdown on social media, always looking over my shoulder because his threats. His threats were violent…Then of course, there was this guilt, like being relieved that somebody is gone…So every emotion that you can imagine.”
“The PTSD came with such flashbacks and such floodings, and for those listeners who don’t know what that is, it’s reliving the event and having the inability to realize that it’s 2021 and not 1978.”
“The hard work that I’ve done in counseling allows me to talk about this and it still hurts…but it takes the uber pain away from it and it gives it purpose. Life is still hard, but God is still faithful, and His grace, so sufficient.”
“Trauma is clinically defined as any event that pushes your brain… outside of…its window of tolerance….Somebody could have my story and not have PTSD, because their window of tolerance, all of that trauma fit inside their ability, their brains wiring…not their will, not their wit, not their desire to outwork it, but the way God made their brain. God said, ‘You’ve got this lane of stuff that your brain can handle and after that, we’re gonna have a problem. ‘ And that’s what we call a window of tolerance.”
“Trauma is any event that pushes you outside a window of tolerance.”
- Wednesdays With Watson
- Hope Children’s Home
- Love Me by JJ Heller
- Whiskey Lullaby by Brad Paisley
- Baylife Counseling
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