Our Testimony of Survival


by Rebecca Sturm-Clauser

Post traumatic stress disorder suddenly struck our family almost fifteen years ago. My husband, a career firefighter of 26 years, was affected by the horribly frightening disorder in September of 1999, only a few short months after the birth of our baby girl. He made three attempts to end his life, along with a plan to take all of us together. Fortunately, he was unsuccessful in all attempts. We spent hours upon hours in therapy sessions, outpatient treatments, doctor visits and hospital stays. It was about three years in that I knew we needed to do something drastic because neither I nor our girls could withstand much more of a life as chaotic and heartbreaking as we were living. I researched hours into the night during his last hospital stay for a suicide attempt. I found a facility that had a bed, but it was almost three hours away from home. We made the trip and that was the last hospital stay for PTSD to date.

Rebecca Sturm-Clauser
Rebecca Sturm-Clauser

Together, as a family, we embraced the condition my husband carries around, it would no longer be the elephant in the room. We took away its power to control us and we learned ways to live with it. Our daughters could even recognize triggers and were quick to use their skills in helping daddy be “normal” once again. Our faith, hope and love prevailed. We are the lucky ones to survive. We are still a work in progress, but the immediate threat that could exist has been kept at bay for several years now. I am almost finished with our story. Once done, we plan to publish it to help others learn that death is not an option! He would write down the thoughts going though his mind in hopes of making sense of all the extreme emotions he felt. This is an excerpt taken directly from his writings that are unedited and will be incorporated in the book.

“11-13-01 THERE’S ONLY ONE WAY TO STAY A FAMILY THAT IS TO TAKE US ALL THE WAY TO GOD LORD PLEASE HELP ME…” – Gary Clauser

Back Row LtoR: Lamont, Gary, Rebecca,  Front Row: Ashlie, Gabrielle, Arielle, Kevin (Lamont and Kevin are sons-in-law)
Back Row LtoR: Lamont, Gary, Rebecca,
Front Row: Ashlie, Gabrielle, Arielle, Kevin
(Lamont and Kevin are sons-in-law)

In the meantime, we are already helping others find hope through our testimony of survival as a family. We want to help as many families survive as we have. We are available to speak to employees, civic groups, conventions, organizations, medical conferences and panel discussions. I can be reached by email at dccoachrebecca@gmail.com or by phone at 434.661.8068 for booking information.

About the author, in her own words: A passion for helping others all her life, Coach Rebecca Sturm-Clauser stepped out of corporate America in 2008 to pursue her dream of becoming a speaker and coach. Her unique course of study in psychology and business, coupled with her life experiences, enable her to help clients take their businesses and lives to the next level of success. Coach Rebecca has overcome adversity and forged ahead making her life as fulfilling as it could be for both her and her family. She is the mother of three beautiful princesses and a wife to a retired career firefighter battling PTSD. Life’s challenges make for life’s experiences. Coach Rebecca faces each as such. Her compassion has earned her the awards of Woman of the Year, Ambassador of the Year, Business of the Year and Volunteer of the Year. Coach is the Founder and a Contributor to the Nationally recognized “business eXpress”, a monthly resource workshop for business owners, leaders, employees and anyone interested in opening a business. She has delivered hundreds of hours of empowerment to diverse audiences all around the country, talking with authority about her experiences in this high pressure, results driven world. Her “hands on” experiences make an ideal choice for audiences seeking insights into success. Coach Rebecca will make a difference in your life, company or organization.