Monday, July 24, 2006
FEATURED AUTHOR: Leslie Haskin
SORMAG: Tell us about yourself and your life before September 11. Where had you been and where were you going with your life?
LESLIE HASKIN: I started my career as a receptionist, set my sights on executive management and deliberately climbed the corporate ladder. On my way, I enjoyed the perks and gifts and all the power that came with each step. On September 11th, I was mid-way up with tunnel vision. My faith was in what my own hands could build and my hopes were on a vice presidency.
SORMAG: Why did you choose to write your story?
HASKIN: I really don’t it was a mindful decision or concerted effort to write a book. It was a response to my therapist and a result of what I believe was God’s leading in my heart.
SORMAG: What would you like readers to take from your story?
HASKIN: So much of my heart is in this book. I hope that readers find the message of God’s love and hope through whatever towers might be falling in their own lives. I know it’s hard to believe when things are not going well. It’s even harder to see past mountainous obstacles. The good news is that we don’t have to….we only need to stop trying. Hope is personal, but widespread!
SORMAG: Describe the events of September 11 up to the time right before you knew something terrible had happened. Was it just another normal day?
HASKIN: That particular day began normally…uneventfully. The day before was significant in that there was a lot more activity in our office than what was usual because of a problem with one of our major policyholders. In fact, that problem was the only reason I was in the office on September 11th.
SORMAG: On what floor, of which building, were you located and how and when did you know there was something dreadfully wrong?
HASKIN: My office was on the 36th floor of Tower One. I was standing in front of the window talking to my assistant. I understand that we were directly below the plane’s point of impact. We knew immediately that something was wrong because the sound of the initial impact was huge. The building swayed and rocked back and forth and never righted itself. The debris and bodies immediately begin falling outside of the windows and we had a clear view of that horrible sight. All of these things seemed to happen simultaneously. There was never any doubt or confusion that something was more than dreadfully wrong.
SORMAG: After you knew something had happened, what events transpired until you reached ground level?
HASKIN: Time stood still for me. So many things transpired and it’s too much to answer in this type of forum. What I can say is that, from the moment of impact, Tower One became a deadly war zone and everything that happens in war, happened inside the building.
SORMAG: What happened between the time you reached ground level and the time you made it home again?
HASKIN: So many atypical and horrific things took place that day. From the time that I left the building to the time that I came to myself the next day, I operated in a fog. There was no end to the constant replays of what I experienced or to the nightmares. My mind found the events too enormous to wrap my arms around and so I struggled just to keep breathing.
SORMAG: Like many of those who were in the World Trade Center towers on September 11, your life as you knew it ceased to exist after the tragedy. What was your life like for the first few months after the dust settled on that horrible tragedy?
HASKIN: I don’t remember much detail from those days immediately following. Ultimately, my family and I were financially, mentally and emotionally devastated. I lost my ability to provide for and support my children. I lost my home, my car and even my mind.
SORMAG: Much of Between Heaven and Ground Zero came directly from the journals you kept during your struggle to recover from severe Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. What can you tell us about the illness and your treatment?
HASKIN: Wow. From the scientific perspective, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a term for the psychological consequences of exposure to or confrontation with extremely stressful experiences, which involve threatened death. It affects one’s mental, emotional and even physical well-being. Each patient is different and needs different forms of treatment. I had migraines, trouble sleeping and other symptoms. My treatment involved intense therapy, prescription medications like sleeping pills, antidepressants, stabilizers and painkillers. My prognosis was not good.
SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
HASKIN: Easy one…. Charles Stanley “ A touch of His Freedom.”
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you?
HASKIN: Readers can get in touch with me through the B&B media group in Dallas Texas. I’d love to hear their stories! http://www.tbbmedia.com/
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