By Vikki Hankins"Vikki Hankins Picking Up the Pieces"

I was born in Beacon, New York but raised in Crescent City, Florida. My family was not a materially rich family but we had a wealth of love within our household; more importantly we had each other. When I reflect on my days as a little girl, there aren’t too many things I would change.

Unfortunately as life went on my family began to experience severe strains and pressures that I don’t think we neither expected nor equipped to handle, one of them being my high school sweetheart. He was a very popular boy and was determined to make me his girlfriend; little did I know he was abusive and battling a serious drug addiction.

Eventually I was able to get out of the relationship but not before my world turned upset down from the news of a passerby. A lady walking passed asked if my mother was okay only to follow by saying, “You know she just shot herself”. This news blew my mind! At almost 19 years old I was in a state of shock and for a brief period could not remember my name.

My life spiraled into another world after that day and by the time I turned 21 years old I was standing in front of a federal judge receiving a 23 year prison sentence for a non violent offense. It is so very important for people to receive support whenever a tragedy strikes, otherwise they can end up in very dark places in their lives.

Post traumatic stress disorder or depression can affect anyone; if left unattended it does more damage than good. For me, I managed to pick up the pieces when I sat down and wrote my life story. Trauma (my book) helped me to understand that I’d experienced a severe shock of pain and that there’s a way to deal with the traumatic incidents properly, even if the incident occurred many years before, as it had in my situation. Definitely involves shedding a lot of tears!

It has taken me over 20 years to pick up the pieces and gain stability after that tragic day when that a woman passing by asked me, “Is your mother okay…you know she just shot herself.” Though it has been very challenging for me, it doesn’t have to be as difficult for others, which is one of the why reasons I started publishing – writing can be therapeutic and relaxing!

I feel there are people out there that long to be heard and want to contribute something to the world. When I tried to get my book published, the major company’s turned me downed repeatedly. My determination to get my book on the market led me to begin my own publishing company! Imagine that! It is most fulfilling to see the excitement of a newly published author! The roads we travel may be hard and challenging, but all of us can succeed!

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