An outpouring of grief and humility pulls the reader in when reading Natalie Harris’ blog.
The Simcoe County paramedic wrote a personal blog tracking her own trip through hell as she struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after responding to a satanic-cult call in May 2012.
After a few years of excessive drinking, depression, night terrors and a serious suicide attempt, Harris finally found her way to salvation through rehabilitation and becoming an advocate for PTSD support and mental health awareness.
“As a paramedic, I was born to help people. Now that I’m not out on the road (in an ambulance), I still feel like I can be a good, useful member of society,” Harris said on Sunday.
Pulling together what she has learned and shared through her blog (https://paramedicnatsmentalhealthjourney.wordpress.com/), Harris has now reached a book deal with local publisher Wintertickle Press.
“I’m really excited about this book because I think it’s going to help people. It’s really raw. But I also see the ability for this book to be used as a tool to allow empathy for people – who don’t have PTSD but know someone who does – will be tremendous,” said Wintertickle Press publisher, Heather Down.
The book covers the grisly blog posts Harris wrote while healing from the traumatic events following the gruesome discovery of a satanic suicide pact in the Travelodge Hotel in May 2012.
Harris was one of the first responders to enter the blood-soaked room where Mark Dobson had killed his girlfriend, 32-year-old Mary Hepburn of Barrie, and their friend Helen Dorrington, 52, who was visiting from Cold Lake, Alta.
Dorrington and Hepburn were found with their heads nearly decapitated in the hotel room. Dobson was discovered naked and covered in blood, unable to kill himself using the Joy of Satan website where the friends had planned their satanic suicide pact.
In 2015, Dobson was sentenced to life in prison.
Training paramedics and reaching out to help other first responders with PTSD is how she now offers an assist.
After having just returned from the seventh annual Dancing with the Stars 911 fundraiser to place defibrillators in public placed in memory of the late OPP Constable Dave Mounsey’s, Natalie will also speak at Georgian College on Nov. 14/15, as well as at the Midland Parole and Probation conference Nov. 24.
The book, Save-My-Life School, will be released in January in Ontario Chapters stores, as well as being available online through Amazon, Down said.