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She was only one month shy of her ninth birthday when Rebecca Nichols Alonzo witnessed the shooting of her parents at the hands of an angry man, The Daily Reflector reports.

Now 32 years old, she is sharing her experience in her new book, The Devil in Pew Number Seven. The novel chronicles her time coping with the loss of her mother and injury of her father, as well as how she was able to forgive the people who caused her family so much pain.

My parents taught me that we don't have any control over the things that happen in our lives," she told the news source. "What we can control are our responses, our attitudes."

Her mother was killed and her father became paralyzed when a man who attended their church came to their home and opened fire.

The survivor travels around speaking to churches and religious groups about forgiveness. She eventually forgave the man who killed her mother, but it took time.

Survivors of a traumatic ordeal may suffer from anxiety, depression, shock and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has details regarding treatment and support for those diagnosed with PTSD. Psychotherapy,combined with medication, has been found to be an effective course of treatment.

Individuals who suffer from PTSD may experience frightening thoughts and memories of the ordeal they witnessed. They may also experience difficulty sleeping, feel emotionally detached from society or have angry outbursts.

The NIMH provides information on locating support groups and services for those battling PTSD and they also list treatments that may help a person cope with the disorder.
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