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‘Real and debilitating’: Lewiston shooting survivor coping with PTSD, struggling to work

<i></i><br/>Lewiston
Lawrence, Nakia

Lewiston

By Terry Stackhouse

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    LEWISTON, Maine (WCVB) — A survivor of the Lewiston, Maine mass shootings is sharing his harrowing experience and journey toward healing.

“It’s very real and debilitating,” said Dylan Harvey, a husband and father from Lewiston.

Harvey works as a massage therapist but was picking up extra work performing maintenance on equipment at Just-In-Time Recreation on the night of the shootings.

Harvey said a therapist diagnosed him with PTSD, and due to symptoms in the weeks since, he has been unable to work.

“I still have some issues where my hands will shake just kind of for no reason, and I’ve had it happen in the middle of a massage,” Harvey said.

Harvey said when he first heard shots fired, he thought it could have been a machine malfunctioning.

“There were just a lot more shots, and I realized that they were much louder than like a handgun, and a woman came by, you know, saying that her husband was dead,” he said.

Harvey said he was able to guide children into an office, and they then made it out safely.

“The little girl asked me if she was going to die, and that was hard. I told her no. I said, ‘I’m not going to let that happen,’ but I also had no idea,” Harvey said.

He said PTSD symptoms have emerged when he has tried to return to normal activities, such as shopping and dining out.

“Somebody was trying to take a picture, and a flash went off and the flash went off right as somebody shut the door, and I immediately started to have a panic attack,” he said.

Harvey received a donation covering one month’s mortgage from the LA Metro Chamber of Commerce.

“We’ve told our daughter and family members that it’s certainly going to be a light Christmas,” he said.

Harvey wants greater mental health support and restrictions on high-capacity weapons.

He also wants others to know asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

“It’s a strength, knowing that you’re struggling and that you need something more to overcome it,” he said.

Harvey said he also had the opportunity to meet President Joe Biden when he visited Lewiston in November.

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