3 Year Anniversary Post (Extended People.com Version)

Link to condensed Version on People.com

My heart is pounding, I’m kicking and screaming as loud and as hard as I can. Something that lasted a matter of seconds, but it seemed as if it were a matter of minutes. It was completely crazy how my life changed within those seconds.

I pulled my Prius into my parking structure through the broken gate. My dog, Cash, started viciously barking and growling at this man that was fiddling with a tire iron in his trunk. I told Cash to knock it off because for some reason I didn’t think anything of it. I got out of my car in a hurry to get ready for the Jason Aldean concert I was headed to that night, grabbed Cash out of the back seat and walked towards the gate to get to my apartment. The man grabbed me from my waist as I got to the backside of my car and said, “Do you remember me?”. I really did remember him and knew he was there to try and kill me.

Adrenaline was coursing through my veins. I immediately tried to flee from this man, but I couldn’t escape him. My forearm clung tight to my purse, as I tried to protect my chest. He became flustered at me trying to escape him, so he began to punch my chest, or so I thought. My screams got louder and louder, as I was begging for someone to help me. I thought forsure this man was going to kill me. He tried to cover my mouth, but I bit as hard as I could and he let go. Cash was also in this fight with me. Cash tackled his ankles as I continued to fight. A disconnect happened and I tripped backwards hitting my shoulders to the pavement. I began to pedal kick as he was on his knees. This point I realize he wasn’t trying to punch me. There was actually a knife in the Del Taco bag he was holding. As I pedal kicked, I aimed for his forearm to try to kick the knife out of his hand. My right foot made the connect to his fore arm and the knife landed in the ice pick position.

The knife was in the perfect position. It seemed like a sign that God and my angels were there with me. Without giving it a second thought, I picked up the knife and started wailing away on him. He gasped as I made the first blow and started to fall on top of me. As I became aware of where I was stabbing, I lifted his head to make the the final two blows. I got him in his forehead and in the eye ball as if he were a “Zombie”. I watched so much of the Walking Dead, it was just my instinct. I scooted out from underneath his body and was in hysterics. Picking up the knife, I tossed it as far as I could away from him and started to look around to evaluate the situation.

There was a stab wound in my arm that was pretty deep, so I applied pressure to try to slow down the bleeding. Cash started to eat the Del Taco that was in the bag the knife was in. A lady that was walking her dog asked me if I needed any help. I asked her if she would grab Cash because I was worried that there might be poison in the food.  More help started to come and I knew that I was at least safe for now.

On August 20th 2019, it will mark the three year anniversary of the day of my attack. This man that attacked me was John Meehan and he was my step-father. My mom met John on this site Called, Ourtime.com. She ended up falling for him and quickly married him. He wasn’t a good man, but my mother couldn’t see that. My family ended up hiring a private investigator in order to look into him and the the information we found out terrified us. We found out he had been arrested several times, many women had restraining orders on him, he was a hard core drug user, and so much more. Bringing this information to my mother was going to be tricky. My family and I had to figure out the right way to do it because this guy was a master at the game of manipulation.

My siblings presented the information to my mother and she decided to leave him. However, she went back to John after a couple of months after him convincing her along with lawyers that most of these things the private investigator found out were about different John Meehans. It was extremely hard for her to go back, but I expected it because like I said this guy had perfected the craft of manipulation.

My mother finally figured out that he was evil and left him for the final time. After she left him, he spiraled out of control and did malicious things to try to sabotage her company and make her life miserable. He lit her car on fire, stalked me and my family, sent threats to my mom and my sister, and did so many more terrible things to my mom and our family. All of this lead to my attack and the moment that forever changed my life.

This year it will be the three year anniversary. It has been the perfect amount of time to determine what this day really means to me. It’s celebration of my life, a day to show other woman they can fight back, a day to educate others on the red flags seen with master manipulators, as well as a day to show others they can have a life after being diagnosed with PTSD.

My life has drastically change since that event. After being diagnosed with PTSD, I had to learn what had happened to me. I tried to go back into a normal life, but I wasn’t able to. I worked with dogs and because Cash had barked in my attack, I would have panic attacks when the dogs would bark, which prevented me from effectively completing my work. During that time, it was difficult and I felt like I was going crazy. I started to go to therapy, it helped a tad, but I still wasn’t getting much better. One day I went to therapy and told my therapist that I didn’t want to be here. I didn’t want to kill myself, but I felt that I would have been better off if John had killed me.

Shortly after that therapy session, I moved to Austin, Texas to be with one of my sisters, so that she could be a constant support and get me the help I needed during that time. I found a great therapist, began EMDR and got the help that I needed all along. At this point, I realize I can heal from this, live a normal life, and more importantly that I do want to be here. Doing EMDR gave me the hope I needed in order to start be content in my life.

I didn’t end up staying in Austin because there was so much going on in California. The LA Times started to talk to us about sharing our story and from there my trauma blew up! We shared our story in hopes of other women being able to relate and realize they might know a “Dirty John”. It was important to spread awareness because these types of situations are more common than one would think. After LA Times shared our story, other media began to take an interest. Our story has been highlighted on TV segments, interviews, a Netflix Tv series, and a documentary. With all of these media opportunities, so many people have come forward saying that our story helped them to see red flags in relationships, better manage their PTSD, and develop self-defense techniques.

The positive response from the public has encouraged me to make it a life goal to help others encountering relationship red flags, spread awareness for PTSD, and share my knowledge on self-defense. I’ve never had such clarity on what I’m supposed to do in my life. I’ve always wanted to help people and now I know I can by sharing my experience. I’m doing everything I can to spread the word now with interviews, speaking to college students, and starting my very own podcast, Time Out With Terra. On my podcast I will talk about dating red flags and interview others to share their relationship stories. When we share our stories, there’s always something someone can take from it, which is what I hope to accomplish with this new project.

After these past three years, I learned how fragile life is and that its very important to take care of yourself. As someone still managing the symptoms of PTSD, I learned that therapy and self care are so important. You really need to listen to your body in order to heal and make yourself happy. For a very long time, I thought too much about others and didn’t quite know how to put up necessary boundaries. These new life lessons have allowed me to be the most content in my life than I have ever been. This attack was so traumatic, but it allowed for some much needed personal growth.

Even though I am still struggling with PTSD, I have healed so much from this experience. People need to know that bad things can happen and you should never let those things hold you back or get you down. The most important thing I have learned is to keep going and stay positive! I am so happy I am alive to share this message, reflect on all the amazing opportunities that have come about from such a traumatic event, and celebrate another year of living life to the fullest.

Lani the Label Seville dress link
Cake from Samantha Cake N Bakes in Woodland Hills, California
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