In this science-based, remarkably candid account of what it’s like to heal from Complex PTSD, journalist Stephanie Foo offers a fascinating exploration of a psychological phenomenon we’re only beginning to understand and a relevant and powerful narrative of reckoning and healing.
by Stephanie Foo
Ballantine, pub. date TBD
Stephanie Foo was an accomplished journalist, a producer at This American Life, won an Emmy, and launched a podcasting app, but behind her office door she was having panic attacks. At the age of 30 she was diagnosed with Complex PTSD. Finding few resources to help her heal, Stephanie set out to write her own guide, THE UNMAKING. With the determination and curiosity of an award-winning journalist, Stephanie investigates the science behind Complex PTSD and how it has shaped her own life. She interviews experts and tries a variety of therapies. She also dives into her past of extreme child abuse and neglect and uncovers family secrets.
While someone can develop PTSD from a single traumatic event, Complex PTSD blooms when the trauma happens over and over and over, over the course of years. Risk factors include being hit or verbally abused by a caretaker, having mentally ill, alcoholic or addict parents, or even facing poverty. Those numbers alone add up to around 50 million people. And that’s not including the large populations of those who may have developed Complex PTSD through domestic abuse, continual health issues, or POC and queer people living in threatening and discriminatory environments. They need help. And yet…nobody is talking about it. THE UNMAKING describes how C-PTSD is, essentially, brain damage, and the tragic impact it has on bodies and minds. But unlike the academic books on C-PTSD, Stephanie Foo also shares how it feels to learn that science as a survivor. She writes about her doubts, anguish, terrible setbacks, and ultimately, successes.
Stephanie Foo is a writer and radio producer. She most recently was a producer at the radio show This American Life, which reaches 5 million listeners every week. Before that, she helped create the public radio show Snap Judgment, where she produced nearly 200 stories in 4 years. Foo is an acclaimed advocate for diversity in all forms. She wrote a viral article for Transom about the importance of diverse workplaces, particularly in newsrooms, and speaks frequently on the topic of diversity and inclusion. She’s an Adjunct Assistant Professor at Columbia University and has spoken at Columbia, Vassar, Yale, Berkeley and CUNY.