Traci Willhite, LPC, LAC, ACS
Providence House Counseling Director
Ed’s story has been shared with his permission.
A condition many of our residents battle is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Experiencing intrusive thoughts, reliving the traumatic event as if it’s happening again, nightmares, hopelessness, and self-destructive behaviors are just a handful of the symptoms.
Whether the trauma originated from an abusive partner or parent, combat in war, or something else, the live-in staff and counselors at Providence Network assist residents in healing from it.
One special person who graduated from Providence House is Edward Riggins. He is a veteran of the U.S. Army. He was lucky to have served our great country during peacetime, and he discovered a relationship with Jesus at the finale of his service. Tragically, just days after his honorable discharge, a small child stepped out in front of his semi-truck and was killed, through no fault of his own.
Ed struggled with the tormenting memory and symptoms of PTSD for many years.
Ed (left) with PN Executive Director, Derek Kuykendall
The confounding piece about PTSD is that it can awaken unresolved past traumas and can cause confusion and an inability to cope with normal stressors.
Ed had a history of parental abandonment, subsequently moving and living in 33 foster homes.
He was a lost child in a very big world.
The first time Ed came to Providence House, he was 34 years old and was abusing alcohol to cope with the flashbacks of the night the little girl was killed. He worked through the outer layers of his trauma and graduated in 1996. The second time he came to Providence House, he was ready to dig in and truly heal. His counselor, Chip Sawyer, used a trauma therapy called Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
Chip walked beside Ed as he processed many traumatic events over his lifetime until Ed experienced the peace he so desired. It was a wonderful graduation celebration in 2009!
Today, Ed is a treasured friend of Providence Network, and we thank him for his service to our country.