"I am a survivor of multiple incidents of abuse. As a small child both home and school were dangerous places for me. Edmonton's river valley became a place of sanctuary, peacefulness and safety for me. I walked the trails as a kid and young adult. Then (insult to injury) I was shot in the back of the head while walking in the river valley one autumn afternoon-a random incident of stranger violence. Back in the "olden days" there was no knowledge of PTSD [post-tramatic stress disorder] and its longterm effects-dissociation from one's own self, severe anxiety, insomnia and social isolation are just a few and so I lived for a long time in a kind of void. About a year after being shot I realized I had not been outside other than walking to my car. I began slowly--by jogging around and around the schoolyard in front of my house. I had never run before--I wasn't an athlete by any means. But, I just had to move. Then, I got a dog and, with a bit of company, I began to run the river valley trails I missed and loved. I just couldn't have them taken away from me. Over the years I ran longer and longer distances gradually reclaiming the entire valley as a place of peace for myself. And, when my son became old enough, he became my willing jogging companion. Moving was a lifesaver, and I mean this most sincerely--those of us who live with PTSD know it's darker side, the compulsion towards isolation, self-harming and suicide. I would run, when I felt those urges. I now realize that this was an instinctual coping strategy that kept me connected to my physical body--present and helped me feel safe in the world, something that is challenging for me. I have also, in my adult years, taken up yoga, and sought the help of a personal trainer (as well a a good therapist). Feeling strong in my body helps me to be present--to not dissociate when my out of whack stress response is triggered. It helps me to feel safe, and it helps me to deal positively with a challenging condition--to make some darn good lemonade.