One of the worst school shootings in history was the shooting at Columbine High School in 1999.
One of the survivors who was shot in the hand and knee, Austin Eubanks, died over the weekend in his home.
He was 17 years old at the time of the school shooting and lived with the horror for many years with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). He was taking pain medication for his injuries he sustained in the shooting.
Eubanks relived the tragic moment every day when the two students walked into the school with shotguns and rifles, killing 12 students and one teacher.
One of the 12 students killed was one of Eubank’s best friend.
Austin Eubanks admitted he got addicted to the pain medication to help him with the PTSD and try to cope with it.
Unfortunately, Sunday he was found dead at the young age of 37, losing his daily battle to the disease.
He was found in his home in Steamboat, Springs, Colorado.
There were no signs of foul play, and the Routt County Coroner stated he died late Friday or early Saturday. The autopsy was scheduled for today for the toxicology report and would be released upon receiving.
His family put out this statement, “Austin Eubanks lost the battle with the very disease he fought so hard to help others face.
Helping to build a community of support is what meant the most to Austin, and we plan to continue his work.
As you can imagine, we are beyond shocked and saddened and request that our privacy is respected at this time.
Based on information received from the Routt County coroner, the cause of death is unknown at this time, pending autopsy results. We thank the recovery community for its support.”
It is hard to deal with such a tragic moment, but his death is not alone.
Many shooting victims and survivors end their lives around this time of the year.
Two months ago, Parkland High School shooting survivor, Sydney Aiello took her life at only 19 years old. The shooting happened in February 2018, and she lived with the PTSD until her death in March.
The proper name for this illness is known as “survivor’s guilt,” and it is associated with PTSD.
Having lived with addiction since the incident, Eubanks devoted his life to helping others overcome their addictions as he inspired them with his story.
He told audiences, “I didn’t know any better. I was 17 years old, and I had been given medication to feel better. Immediately I learned that if I took substances, I didn’t have to feel, I didn’t have to feel the emotional pain. Within just three months of the Columbine shooting, I was addicted, and I didn’t seek help till six years later.”
Austin told Denver7 News in 2016, “I was 29 years old before I found lasting sobriety and I think it took a level of maturity and willingness on my part to do what it takes and for me, I had to change pretty much everything about my life.”
Recently Denver7 News had another interview with him where he told them, “I think that it’s really important that–not as survivors of trauma but survivors of addiction–speak out and they share their story. Just because you never know when your story is going to change the life of somebody else.”
PTSD and Survivor’s Guilt is something no one really understands unless they live with it.
There is a saying of “never judge anyone because you don’t know what that other person is going through.”
Both illnesses lead to depression. Once a person has depression, they struggle on a daily basis to function. Something as simple as morning routines can be exhausting to a person with depression.
There are more suicides now than ever before due to everyday life stresses.
It seems like every time we turn on the news, there is upcoming wars, violence, killings, and traumatic moments.
The people who live through these moments struggle beyond belief, and they need our support and friendship. Many people who struggle with these illnesses are dying a slow painful death behind closed doors.
In order to help someone who lived through a traumatic moment, they should always be observed so that they do not become a threat to themselves.
It is seldom they are a threat to others, but it can become an issue.
Never rule out anything, and never give up on them.