Sympathetic Survivor

Surviving to Inspiring

The expression of Hannah's survival has manifested into the effort she dedicates towards raising awareness for animals. Hannah's genuine compassion and commitment has enabled her ability to open eyes and save lives. 

Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired and success achieved. 
-Helen Keller

Out of suffering have emerged the strongest souls; the most massive characters are seared with scars. 
-Khalil Gibran

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Hannah has been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The disorder is characterized by three main types of symptoms

  • Re-experiencing the trauma through intrusive distressing recollections of the event, flashbacks, and nightmares

  • Emotional numbness and avoidance of places, people, and activities that are reminders of the trauma

  • Increased arousal such as difficulty sleeping and concentrating, feeling jumpy, and being easily irritated and angered

Hannah's diagnosis criteria involved

  • Continuous threat of serious injury or violation

  • Continuous and direct experience of traumatic events

  • Learning of the traumatic accidental event that eliminated my family dog-member 

Hannah's experience of PTSD persists

  • Spontaneous and cued recurrent, involuntary, and intrusive distressing memories of the traumatic events

  • Recurrent distressing dreams in which the content or feeling of the dream is related to the trauma 

  • Persistent and exaggerated negative beliefs or expectations about oneself, others, or the world

  • Feelings of detachment or estrangement from others

  • Hyper-vigilance and obsessive behaviours

Hannah's ability to gain strength over her experience of trauma and PTSD is the manifestation of Sympathy at Slaughter. After suffering trauma and abuse- Hannah resonates with the animals life-time experience and final day bound for slaughter. Witnessing the horrors of their reality brought Hannah outside of herself and her situation. Suddenly, she was not only fighting for her own freedom- but the liberation of each animal suffering at the harm of a human hand. 

The individual expression of Hannah's PTSD has blessed her with a heightened sense of morality and ethicality surrounding animals and animal suffering. Compulsions can follow trauma; Hannah's obsessive and hyper-vigilant behaviour has resulted in her continued presence at the slaughterhouse.

Hannah's presence at the slaughterhouse revolves around her sympathetic (empathic) connection to the animals and the recognition and acknowledgement of what they are going through while documenting their terror and trauma in order to save prospective animals from suffering the same fate.

Hannah's Trauma

The definition of trauma is 

  • A deeply distressing or disturbing experience

Hannah's experience of trauma included

  • Continuous threat and experience of serious injury and violation 

  • Continuous and direct experience of traumatic events

  • Learning of the traumatic accidental event that claimed the life of her family dog-member

The loss of Hannah's family dog was sudden- as was the realization she gained shortly after. Hannah loved this animal with her whole heart. Having grown up together for 13 years- Hannah considered her family dog as a brother- a best friend. 

Upon learning about her best friends accidental death- Hannah was unable to ignore the last moments of terror and fear her dog experienced. Unbearably, Hannah wasn't there to offer any intervention, sympathy or relief. Hannah never even said goodbye. 

The mental and emotional depts Hannah explored during the process of her coping and comprehension- while suffering an intimately abusive relationship- enabled her to make a profound connection. Hannah explored this recognition of the emotional intelligence and intellectual capability of animals; coming to realize that the love she shared with one animal could be expressed to all animals everywhere.

Buddhist Inspiration

Hannah is extremely influenced and inspired by the Buddhist teaching. Hannah majored in Buddhist Studies for 4 years at the University of Toronto where she cultivated her understanding of Buddhist theory and ideology with a focus on enlightenment (the attainment of) and compassion.

All beings tremble before danger, all fear death.
- Dhammapada 54

The first, and most fundamental Buddhist precept requires followers to refrain from killing—not just humans, but all living beings.

Buddhist scriptures encourage universal compassion. Buddhist teachings are overwhelmingly friendly toward non-human animals. There is no clear distinction between non-humans and humans in Buddhist philosophy. Buddhist moral conduct is built on the vast conception of universal love and compassion for all living beings. 

Buddhism inherited ahimsā from its land of birth, India, and added some uniquely Buddhist expressions of this universal moral ideal, such as mettā (loving-kindness) and karunā (compassion). 

In accordance with Buddhist philosophies of karma and oneness; Harm done to others is harm done to oneself, for we are all one, and we are bound by karma.

“Bodhisattvas” commit themselves to the task of saving all creatures from suffering. Bodhisattvas vow to return to the earth again and again through reincarnation, rather than disappear into nirvāṇa. They come back to suffer the trials and tribulations of life in order to help every individual of every species to escape from ongoing suffering and rebirth.

"I could never do what you do!"

The comment Hannah hears more often than any other: "I could never do what you do!"

Hannah has overcome many life-experiences to equip her with the emotional and mental skill-set she has developed and maintains in order to help animals. 

Hannah feels as though her life learning and experience has equipped her with a heightened awareness of morality and ethicality. Hannah would not have accepted this role if she did not truly believe that she has what it takes. Hannah feels as though the survival of her own suffering has resulted in her dedication to the safety and liberation of others. 

Hannah's story is darker and deeper and most- findings its roots in her experience of trauma and abuse. Sympathy at Slaughter pulses through Hannah's veins and is the most genuine expression of who Hannah is, what she has experienced and all that she has learned.

Hannah has transformed her own experience of trauma and abuse to help others the most deserving of our love and attention.