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The Invisible Storm

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In this powerful memoir, Juanima divulges a plunge into a darkness few are able or willing to speak about: the terrifying, anxiety-driven world of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her family unaware, Juanima endures abuse and multiple rapes as a child, and at nineteen years of age decides to lock the memories away into “the vault” – the darkest recesses of her mind – In this powerful memoir, Juanima divulges a plunge into a darkness few are able or willing to speak about: the terrifying, anxiety-driven world of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her family unaware, Juanima endures abuse and multiple rapes as a child, and at nineteen years of age decides to lock the memories away into “the vault” – the darkest recesses of her mind – forever. But she discovers that no vault is strong enough to hold the secrets of her past when fourteen years later, the traumatic birth of her second daughter triggers their release. It’s not remembering the events that horrifies her the most – it’s reliving them. Keeping silent, and dealing with it alone brings confusion, distrust, and pressure from her family, and Juanima’s inner storm ultimately drives her to a crossroads of life or death. It’s the voice of a stranger that inspires her decision to fight for her life, and for the futures of her daughters. In vivid, bold honesty, Juanima Hiatt illuminates the unspeakable torment of PTSD, how it affects family and friends, and what it takes to recover from it. She bravely shares her story in hopes that others will be inspired to break their silence, fight against their fears, and discover the freedom beyond their pain. *Warning: Contains adult content, and depicts graphic trauma. “The Invisible Storm should be mandatory reading for all doctors, therapists, police officers, child welfare, sex abuse victims, veterans, and family members of someone experiencing PTSD. Juanima shatters the belief that one never recovers from PTSD, and intrinsically portrays how it’s done. It’s a must-read.” ~ Sandy Neale, LCSW “Juanima’s journey evokes so many emotions in the reader that it is a draw whether to put the book down and digest it bit by bit, or read it from cover to cover. It is eye-opening and inspiring.” ~ Kali Miller, PhD


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In this powerful memoir, Juanima divulges a plunge into a darkness few are able or willing to speak about: the terrifying, anxiety-driven world of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her family unaware, Juanima endures abuse and multiple rapes as a child, and at nineteen years of age decides to lock the memories away into “the vault” – the darkest recesses of her mind – In this powerful memoir, Juanima divulges a plunge into a darkness few are able or willing to speak about: the terrifying, anxiety-driven world of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Her family unaware, Juanima endures abuse and multiple rapes as a child, and at nineteen years of age decides to lock the memories away into “the vault” – the darkest recesses of her mind – forever. But she discovers that no vault is strong enough to hold the secrets of her past when fourteen years later, the traumatic birth of her second daughter triggers their release. It’s not remembering the events that horrifies her the most – it’s reliving them. Keeping silent, and dealing with it alone brings confusion, distrust, and pressure from her family, and Juanima’s inner storm ultimately drives her to a crossroads of life or death. It’s the voice of a stranger that inspires her decision to fight for her life, and for the futures of her daughters. In vivid, bold honesty, Juanima Hiatt illuminates the unspeakable torment of PTSD, how it affects family and friends, and what it takes to recover from it. She bravely shares her story in hopes that others will be inspired to break their silence, fight against their fears, and discover the freedom beyond their pain. *Warning: Contains adult content, and depicts graphic trauma. “The Invisible Storm should be mandatory reading for all doctors, therapists, police officers, child welfare, sex abuse victims, veterans, and family members of someone experiencing PTSD. Juanima shatters the belief that one never recovers from PTSD, and intrinsically portrays how it’s done. It’s a must-read.” ~ Sandy Neale, LCSW “Juanima’s journey evokes so many emotions in the reader that it is a draw whether to put the book down and digest it bit by bit, or read it from cover to cover. It is eye-opening and inspiring.” ~ Kali Miller, PhD

30 review for The Invisible Storm

  1. 4 out of 5

    Juanima Hiatt

    I wrote The Invisible Storm because as I suffered the debilitating pain of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), my heart broke at the thought of others suffering in the same way. As I researched the disorder, I discovered that many suffer, but keep silent. They live in fear, terrified of facing the trauma that brought on their crippling symptoms. I understand, because I lived that way, too. But as I maintained the denial, my symptoms worsened. I didn't experience any kind of freedom until I fa I wrote The Invisible Storm because as I suffered the debilitating pain of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), my heart broke at the thought of others suffering in the same way. As I researched the disorder, I discovered that many suffer, but keep silent. They live in fear, terrified of facing the trauma that brought on their crippling symptoms. I understand, because I lived that way, too. But as I maintained the denial, my symptoms worsened. I didn't experience any kind of freedom until I faced my terror. I wrote every bit of my journey honestly and openly, first to give hope to those who suffer, so that they know they're not alone, and that healing can happen; and second, to those who love the one who suffers - friends and family - so they understand in depth what PTSD is like, and how they can help. I wrote the details of my trauma so that others can understand the kind of pain it's possible to overcome. None of this was easy, but I believe it was important to do, to help others find the freedom beyond their pain. xoxo

  2. 4 out of 5

    Kend

    Post-traumatic Stress Disorder has always been, and probably will continue to be to a certain extent, a great mystery to me. I had an easy and affirming childhood; I had some struggles, of course, specifically as a result of bullying throughout my middle school years, but my home was always a safe place. I may not always have been cognizant of the steps my parents took to preserve me from harm, but I always had some love to hold on to. Many of my friends were not so blessed. In four years Post-traumatic Stress Disorder has always been, and probably will continue to be to a certain extent, a great mystery to me. I had an easy and affirming childhood; I had some struggles, of course, specifically as a result of bullying throughout my middle school years, but my home was always a safe place. I may not always have been cognizant of the steps my parents took to preserve me from harm, but I always had some love to hold on to. Many of my friends were not so blessed. In four years of college, by my reckoning, six of my close friends opened up about having been victims of childhood sexual abuse. For two of these friends, the abuse was ongoing. Three more of my friends were raped in college. These statistics hold true to the national average. According to the RAINN website (http://www.rainn.org/), one in six (one in six!) American women have been victims of rape or attempted rape. As with my friends, 93% of juvenile victims know their attackers personally. Statistics aside, PTSD became something I encountered on a daily basis. I couldn't understand why a friend who had so much love and support could continue to degenerate--sometimes, with increasing rapidity--despite 'doing everything right.' I grew increasingly frustrated with my own ability to penetrate the defensive shields my friends would throw up, and to communicate my own love for them, not realizing that they weren't ready--that they might not be ready for years, or even decades, to lower those shields. Juanima Hiatt's The Invisible Storm was illuminating. As she recounted her own story--first, her decade-long battle with the worst of PTSD, then the beginnings of her recovery, and finally the long-suppressed abuses that triggered the PTSD in the first place--I began to realize just how many misconceptions I had been operating under. I could very clearly see parallels between Juanima's own experiences and behaviors and those of my friends, and I began to understand that there are forces at play in the onset of PTSD that I couldn't begin to combat. Juanima's story is impactful because of its content, yes, but also because she knows what story she's telling. She doesn't divorce herself from her story, no matter how tempting that urge might have been, and she never lifts the reader's focus from that story. Unlike many other authors, she doesn't pigeonhole her story within the larger framework of PTSD, or reduce her own experience to one of many statistics. If you're looking for a guidebook to PTSD or a how-to manual of how to deal with it, this is not that book--but it may prove, as it did for me, to be an enlightening and uplifting read. The strength of Juanima's writing is in its intensely personal perspective. Her life with PTSD was unrelenting, continually devastating, and probably lifelong. There are a few areas where the mechanics of the text do not live up to the content, but I wouldn't allow those details to prevent you from picking up a copy. Juanima addresses multiple audiences with this book: fellow sufferers, and the friends and families of fellow sufferers, the general public, and to a certain extent, herself. By giving voice to her story, Juanima battled through the dissociative and disempowering aspects of PTSD and reached a major milestone on the road to recovery. That bravery and persistence is something I think all readers can learn from.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Sharon Lippincott

    I sometimes make it a point to read a book outside my comfort zone to stretch and grow. Juanima Hiatt's exquisitely crafted memoir, The Invisible Storm, is one of those books. The topic of sexual abuse is definitely outside my comfort zone, and the book did stretch my heart and understanding at least a couple of sizes. The first chapter had me quivering with rage at the barbaric mistreatment Hiatt experienced during the delivery of her second child. The delivery trauma plunged her into an acute c I sometimes make it a point to read a book outside my comfort zone to stretch and grow. Juanima Hiatt's exquisitely crafted memoir, The Invisible Storm, is one of those books. The topic of sexual abuse is definitely outside my comfort zone, and the book did stretch my heart and understanding at least a couple of sizes. The first chapter had me quivering with rage at the barbaric mistreatment Hiatt experienced during the delivery of her second child. The delivery trauma plunged her into an acute case of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) based on multiple incidents of sexual abuse she experienced in her youth. The fact that she persisted in her attempts to find help through years of misdiagnosis, apathy and insensitive rejection speaks to her amazing powers of persistence and desire to heal. The book is a horrifying commentary on a widespread lack of empathy and compassion—perhaps due to burnout, perhaps due to ignorance—in all facets of the healthcare system. But that's not the primary focus. In her story, Hiatt shares intimate details in an insider's view of the experience of PTSD with depth of insight possible only from one who has walked through that Valley of the Shadow of Death. In the book she explains that she was unable to articulate to her family, even to her therapists, how she was feeling during most of years she was suffering because she had repressed her feelings so deeply she was unaware of them and unable to name the occasional one that poked through her layers of denial. One surprising admission was her disclosure that as strongly as she believed in God's love and the value of Jesus' sacrifice, she believed that sacrifice was made for other people—she herself was unworthy. The first incident of "relatively harmless" molestation when she was only seven years old began a sense of being dirty and unworthy that over a few years grew to encompass her entire identity. Although I admit that I skimmed quickly through one especially graphic chapter, I found her story encouraging and hopeful. That is due to her method of disclosure as much as the message. After instantly getting my attention with her horrifying childbirth account, she backs off and tiptoes into further revelations, following the course of her healing journey. For the first few years she was unable for years to recall or recount her early experiences. Thus early chapters of the story hint at specifics, only gradually building to the brutally climactic details that she finally recalled and faced. The fact that she has been able to reclaim her life, feel joy again, and safeguard her daughters from trauma during her worst suffering, stands as testimony to the resilience of the human spirit. I so admire the courage it took for her to write this intensely intimate story in the hope that it might help even one single person to persist and heal, or one single friend or family member know how to better understand, help and support someone they care about who is going through the agonies of PTSD. The primary value of the book for those of us who have not experienced this devastating disorder is to help us understand that instinctive efforts we might normally make as we try to understand, encourage, or cope with our own frustration may be counter-productive. I also suspect that most readers will recognize at least a shred of self in her story and perhaps find a bit of personal resolution and closure. I'm grateful to Hiatt for opening her heart in such a vivid and helpful way. This review was originally published at www.StoryCircleBookReviews.org

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sonia Marsh

    A Transformational Story of Healing From Childhood Trauma, Hurt and Pain. Through her journey, Juanima Hiatt, depicts her life, starting with the painful and traumatic birth of her second daughter which triggers a series of emotions battling inside her mind. At first we believe that Juanima suffers from postpartum depression but soon realize that this is far more serious with her recurring nightmares and anxiety and realize there is a hidden past she is not disclosing. We hear about the sexual ab A Transformational Story of Healing From Childhood Trauma, Hurt and Pain. Through her journey, Juanima Hiatt, depicts her life, starting with the painful and traumatic birth of her second daughter which triggers a series of emotions battling inside her mind. At first we believe that Juanima suffers from postpartum depression but soon realize that this is far more serious with her recurring nightmares and anxiety and realize there is a hidden past she is not disclosing. We hear about the sexual abuse of her stepfather, Ron, and that Hiatt, as a child, is forced to make a decision whether or not she allows him to move back after serving his six-month parole. She accepts, knowing that her mother is unhappy without Ron, and is forced to wear her mask of being “okay;” something Juanima learns all too well throughout her childhood and teenage years. Juanima learned during her childhood not to trust therapists, and explains how she started to, “lie and finagle in order to get the results I wanted.” As her depression worsens and she opens up to her friend Traci about her past, she then discovers that her daughter’s birth triggered the start of PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) something that she, and her husband Mike, had never heard of. There are gripping moments in her memoir where you feel her intense pain, however the love for her two daughters stops her from wanting to “end the battle permanently.” She feels worthless and almost swallows the green pills in her hand. Hiatt feels such guilt about the financial and emotional burden she has placed on her loving husband Mike, and is sure that he could easily find someone else. There are times when Juanima says that Mike was frustrated with her lack of change and progress. There are also times as a reader, when I wanted to hear more about what could have caused her to suffer so much, and thankfully she explains what actually happened to her as a child and a teenager, later on in her memoir. Her descriptions enabled me to understand with more clarity, the reasons for her recurring pain, and what PTSD really does to a person. Towards the end, Juanima comes to the realizations that, “One of the crucial steps in healing is forgiveness,” Forgiving your abusers, not for their sake, but for your own, seems to be the only way to heal, and become free. I did not understand PTSD until I read Juanima’s memoir, and I think her vivid descriptions will make everyone more aware of the consequences, not only to the victim, but also to the loved ones. It’s a book that can help you heal.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Wendy

    Juanima Hiatt's journey of abuse, her development of PTSD, and her fight to heal and overcome her fears is incredible. The Invisible Storm is not just for people suffering from PTSD, it is for anyone and everyone. She will take you through her ups, downs, and back up again. For people who do suffer from PTSD you will relate and see how Nima fought her way through and still is. Maybe it could even help find away that could help you in healing and moving forward. If you don't suffer from PTSD this Juanima Hiatt's journey of abuse, her development of PTSD, and her fight to heal and overcome her fears is incredible. The Invisible Storm is not just for people suffering from PTSD, it is for anyone and everyone. She will take you through her ups, downs, and back up again. For people who do suffer from PTSD you will relate and see how Nima fought her way through and still is. Maybe it could even help find away that could help you in healing and moving forward. If you don't suffer from PTSD this book is very informative. It will enlighten you, give you understanding, and possibly help you help someone you know that is suffering. I highly recommend reading this book!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Sherrey

    With raw emotion, painful honesty, and a deep desire to help others, Juanima Hiatt has written her story of struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in The Invisible Storm. Likely we have all heard the acronym PTSD, and most often it has been with the stories of returning members of the military service branches who have been deployed to Iraq, Pakistan orAfghanistan in recent years. Juanima's story is not so different from those returning from war with PTSD, except that Juanima has neve With raw emotion, painful honesty, and a deep desire to help others, Juanima Hiatt has written her story of struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) in The Invisible Storm. Likely we have all heard the acronym PTSD, and most often it has been with the stories of returning members of the military service branches who have been deployed to Iraq, Pakistan orAfghanistan in recent years. Juanima's story is not so different from those returning from war with PTSD, except that Juanima has never served in the military. Her symptoms may be the same, her battle for recovery similar, and her frustration with the health care available to her often equal. But Juanima is the mother of two young daughters and is married to the love of her life at the time of her diagnosis. Why would she have PTSD? Consider the word "traumatic" in the full description of the disorder. Juanima was the victim of excessive trauma as a child and adolescent and even into young adult life. Successful at finally reaching that place where she could push down everything that hurt her into a dark vacuous hole, Juanima managed to make her way through life, becoming a happily married woman and mother, until one fateful day. On reading the first chapter of The Invisible Storm, I was shaken to my core. Here Juanima details the birth of her second daughter, an experience unlike any other I had ever heard described. The level of her pain is immense, the empathy of her care providers is lacking, with one admitting to making a mistake in administering the epidural block she requested. What happens next is unthinkable, almost an out-of-body experience for Juanima. This quote best describes Juanima's feelings during this horrific time: "It was a mirror image of the past. Helplessness… hopelessness… pain… shame… unheard cries of desperation, and it awakened a dark, horrifying life of long ago that I could no longer deny." The birth of this second child and its intrinsic trauma triggers the onset of PTSD and Juanima's long hidden and protected history of abuse and scars begins to boil up to taunt her. That she survives this ordeal is testament to her faith, her incredible strength and her determination to regain her life as she once lived it. Juanima's courage and bravery in sharing this most difficult story is, in her own words, a part of her healing process. Hers has not been an easy road to travel, but supported by her loving husband and faithful friends Juanima has made great progress toward living a life she can be proud to share with her daughters and others. Juanima's story is graphic in places and heartbreaking in too many places. Yet it is a book to be read by anyone who lives with or knows someone struggling with PTSD. Juanima takes you inside . . . inside the victim's mind, inside the healthcare system, inside therapy sessions. Her story can help you help someone else.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Extremely sad, yet very hopeful, account of her life and experience with abuse and PTSD. This was a tough read because of the amount and intensity of abuse she suffered at the hands of several people. She suffered countless abuses over and over, yet was still able to overcome and work towards healing. A must read for anyone suffering from PTSD, or an abuse survivor, or anyone who wants to understand what it's like to endure such torment. Here are my favorite quotes from the book: "I had forgotten Extremely sad, yet very hopeful, account of her life and experience with abuse and PTSD. This was a tough read because of the amount and intensity of abuse she suffered at the hands of several people. She suffered countless abuses over and over, yet was still able to overcome and work towards healing. A must read for anyone suffering from PTSD, or an abuse survivor, or anyone who wants to understand what it's like to endure such torment. Here are my favorite quotes from the book: "I had forgotten the vault. I believed, because no one had ever told me differently, that if you lock something away, it stays there. I thought that shutting that door and walking away from all those dark years was good enough. It's a statement I've heard a hundred times: "I've put it behind me." But when you put it behind you, when you lock it away, it doesn't die. It grows like a cancerous tumor. And over time you realize there were bits and pieces of it you'd missed - such as the core beliefs I still carried that I was unworthy, unlovable, and unimportant. But I coped with those beliefs. I felt I could deal with that. I couldn't deal with the trauma, but I thought I was safe from that. I was wrong. You can't lock away trauma. It follows you. It might stay out of your way and give you space for a while, but eventually, and generally when you least expect it, it springs upon you like a wild animal. If you run, it will overpower you and take you down. It was years before the vault door came crumbling down, and then I nearly drowned from the contents. But I'm still here - still fighting - and I'll never stop until I'm free." "You must decide to heal, and commit to stay the course. I remember standing at a crossroads and having to make a decision to either remain a prisoner of the storm, or turn to face it head-on. This decision was agonizing because it's easier to stay in denial, but it won't bring freedom." "You must decide to stop living in fear of your past. Fear is like a door to a room full of your worst nightmares, but you have what it takes to open that door and push your way through to the other side. You must realize that there is another side. It won't be easy, but you'll get stronger as you fight, and if you don't give up, you'll find peace and rest. Focus on reaching the other side, and you'll break free from your prison." "Nothing is impossible. Healing is very possible. Just reach out. Take a deep breath, and step forward. You are strong and courageous. Don't be afraid of the pain, because on the other side of it is a freedom you have never known. You can make it if you hold on tight, have faith, and never give up."

  8. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Pooler

    With honesty and bravery, Juanima Hiatt brought me into her world of abuse, depression and PTSD in her memoir, "The Invisible Storm" in a way that made me feel I was "in her skin". The first chapter about the traumatic birth of her second child,the trigger for her PTSD is vivid and riveting and immediately hooked me into her story. She wove in past and present events into a narrative that flowed and kept me connected to her struggles with reconciling her past and present. Her voice is authentic With honesty and bravery, Juanima Hiatt brought me into her world of abuse, depression and PTSD in her memoir, "The Invisible Storm" in a way that made me feel I was "in her skin". The first chapter about the traumatic birth of her second child,the trigger for her PTSD is vivid and riveting and immediately hooked me into her story. She wove in past and present events into a narrative that flowed and kept me connected to her struggles with reconciling her past and present. Her voice is authentic and believable and her struggles are palpable. The abusive circumstances she endured are extenuating, leaving me holding my breath at times and making me wonder how anyone could survive such repeated sexual and emotional abuses. I am right there with her as she reflects upon her past and begins to fight for her future. Her writing style is concise, descriptive and engaging. Because she has divulged many dark moments and deep secrets as well as her determination to overcome them, I found myself rooting for her to keep fighting and felt personally invested in her recovery. She does not disappoint. Because she put a face on PTSD, I rejoiced in her determination and persistence to fight for herself and her family and in her eventual healing. The most important message in this memoir is in her sharing of her pathway to healing and forgiveness that she has found. To see the vibrant and healthy woman Juanima is today is to see hope and healing. This memoir will touch many-patients, family members, caregivers of PTSD sufferers and anyone who has suffered emotional and physical abuse and needs hope to recover. A powerful and inspirational story of recovery.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lorie

    This is the only book I have read which so clearly describes so much of the trauma I grew up in, living with PTSD, as a child who was sexually abused. I absolutely felt connected to the author, unlike anyone else with whom I have talked/read. I was also fortunate in having a life-saving therapist who taught me about PTSD and helped me work through the issues, which, at 53 is still an on-going struggle, but less intense than years past. Juanima, thank you for your honesty and rawness. You will ne This is the only book I have read which so clearly describes so much of the trauma I grew up in, living with PTSD, as a child who was sexually abused. I absolutely felt connected to the author, unlike anyone else with whom I have talked/read. I was also fortunate in having a life-saving therapist who taught me about PTSD and helped me work through the issues, which, at 53 is still an on-going struggle, but less intense than years past. Juanima, thank you for your honesty and rawness. You will never know how strongly connected I feel to you. I am not alone in this struggle. Warning to readers- there are explicit details of her sexual abuse, some of which I could not read, so just be aware, and skip these sections if needed. It is ok to do.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Rae Baker

    This memoir was incredible...I am still churning over the pages as it brought back some of my own PTSD issues. An amazing story of survival and triumph over what it takes to move on when life becomes too difficult to imagine. My heart and soul go out to Nima for what she has endured and how beautiful her story is for others who need to understand that anything can be processed...we can all heal. I will be sharing this with my children and pouring through each section as I continue to pen my own This memoir was incredible...I am still churning over the pages as it brought back some of my own PTSD issues. An amazing story of survival and triumph over what it takes to move on when life becomes too difficult to imagine. My heart and soul go out to Nima for what she has endured and how beautiful her story is for others who need to understand that anything can be processed...we can all heal. I will be sharing this with my children and pouring through each section as I continue to pen my own memoir. Bless you Nima...I feel that we have much to share with the world. What you have written will continue to resonate with me in a positive way...(-:

  11. 4 out of 5

    Monica Crouch

    Your words....yes. So many things you describe are what my loved one with PTSD has tried to describe. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Heidi

  13. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda Usselman

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

  15. 4 out of 5

    Brittany

  16. 4 out of 5

    Savannah

  17. 4 out of 5

    Beth

  18. 4 out of 5

    Regina Waruguru Mwai

  19. 5 out of 5

    Denise

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer DeCaul

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joanna

  22. 4 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

  23. 5 out of 5

    Marie Granucci

  24. 4 out of 5

    Kallie

  25. 5 out of 5

    Mary

  26. 4 out of 5

    Diane

  27. 5 out of 5

    Kyli

  28. 4 out of 5

    Cathy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Vivek

  30. 4 out of 5

    Sasha

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