Meet Elena Breese — The Boston Marathon Terror Attack Survivor Helping Other Trauma Victims Bloom
Elena Breese was at the finish line of the 2013 Boston Marathon waiting for her husband Jeff, who was running that year, when both bombs exploded.
She was in the bleachers directly across the street from the first bomb and witnessed the devastating scene. She wasn’t able to reunite with her husband until a few hours later.
Breese, a mother of two beautiful children and a supporter of her dear husband Jeff, shares her story of dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after the tragic bombing in Boston.
She began a blog after the devastating event in order to help others deal with trauma and PTSD. On her blog, Breese writes about her journey, struggles, and support for others through her dedication and commitment to spreading awareness about PTSD.
The terrorist attack on April 15th, 2013 killed three spectators and wounded more than 260 other people, including 17 who lost limbs.
Talking about the horrific events that she witnessed never gets easy for Breese; it feels as though she is reopening a wound that she has worked hard to heal. But, talking about such trauma is a way to eventually heal and deal with PTSD.
“Though I didn’t lose a limb or my life, I lost my ability to be in public places and feel safe,” said Elena.
It is possible for signs and symptoms of PTSD to show up in a person as many as three years after they experience a traumatic occurrence. This can cause anxiety because there is no way to predict if it will affect you or not.
This is what Breese experienced. She began having panic attacks, nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. After dealing with such painful symptoms, Breese voluntarily hospitalized herself.
“I found myself leaving the grocery store, cart completely full, and my kids in tow, in a complete panic. I was having nightmares. My mind just couldn’t erase that day.”
After Breese was able to recognize that she needed help, she was able to continue treating her PTSD and strengthening her support system. The three modes of treatment that helped Breese the most were EMDR therapy, acupuncture, and natural supplements.
According to Breese, these treatments helped drastically reduce her symptoms. After experiencing such an emotional low, Breese was motivated to take care of herself and soon others as well.
Aside from managing her own website, Breese has contributed to various blogs, podcasts, and speaks publicly about her healing process. Her message to others is that though not all injuries are physical, with work you can heal.
“It ignited a fire within me to fight for myself and advocate for my own health.”
Over the past three years, Breese and her husband have connected with other terrorist attack survivors all over the world and have supported others through her blog, “Still Blooming Me,” which is full of PTSD resources. Breese wants to help others heal this so-called “invisible injury.”
A feature on the blog site called “Still Blooming Me Wellness” helps people find therapists and counselors for any sort of struggles they are facing.
Breese realized the importance of building connections with people who don’t know where to start on their journey of recovery. Breese also posts uplifting pictures on her Instagram account: @stillbloomingme.
Breese’s husband, Jeff, ran the Boston Marathon again a few years after the 2013 attack. Returning to the source of her PTSD was terrifying for Breese, but it was an important step for her to take.
It helped her begin to move on from the terror that she still lived with ever since that horrifying day a few years prior. Breese and her husband hope to continue inspiring their children with their strength and pursuit of living life to the fullest.
Though what Breese went through is something she will never forget, she continues to keep positive energy that uplifts her followers and blog readers. She is helping survivors see through their pain so they can bloom and live a beautiful and fulfilling life.
Host & Producer & Editor: Cielo
Lead Producer: Sahar Mithani
Writer: Sydney Murphy
Editor: Olivia Sun
Developer: Samuel Holtzman