Woman who survived mass shooting reveals unexpected moments when she suffers from lasting trauma
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A woman who survived a horrific mass shooting has opened up about the unexpected ways the trauma creeps up on her years later.
Ellen Davis, a wedding photographer from Southern California, was one of hundreds who attended the Route 91 Harvest country music festival in October 2014 when a mass shooting broke out, killing 60 people.
When she posted a TikTok about the trauma she still suffers years later, Ellen thought it would be too 'niche' - unfortunately, it was anything but.
In the TikTok video, which now has more than 4.6 million views, Ellen filmed herself getting a pedicure and wrote: "When the lady doing my pedicure inevitably asks if my scar is from a car accident and I have to say, 'no it's from a mass shooting at the country music festival in Las Vegas five years ago.'
"And now the ladies getting their nails done on either side of me are trying to get a look at my hairy legs to see what scar she's talking about."
The Las Vegas shooting is considered the deadliest mass shooting by an individual in US history, leaving 60 dead and over 800 injured.
Stephen Paddock, 64, was the killer who opened fire on a crowd of around 22,000 people before shooting himself in his hotel room. His motive was never determined.
Speaking about the harrowing incident, Ellen told BuzzFeed News: "That experience indirectly altered the course of my life.
"I was going to school for political science and prelaw. Now I’m on a completely different career path, I didn’t finish school, and also just the way that the PTSD from that alters your brain, your memory, your personality."
Ellen was at the Las Vegas festival with a group of friends enjoying Aldean's set when the shooting broke out.
At first, they thought the sound was fireworks, but when Ellen and her friends realised what was going on, she dropped to her hands and knees to try and hide herself.
"I don’t think I was really thinking for a little while there,” Davis said. “I don’t remember really thinking. Your body just kind of does.”
While crawling through shattered glass to escape, Ellen scarred her leg.
Five years later, Ellen has mostly moved on and appears to have a stellar career as a wedding photographer, but sometimes the memory still creeps up on her when she least expects it - like when she's getting her nails done, for example.
The most unsettling thing about Ellen's post was probably how many people could relate.
Her post was flooded with comments from fellow survivors and friends of those who weren't so lucky.
"Lost a friend that day; can't believe it was five years ago," commented one TikToker.
"Fellow survivor here. I was shot in my back was paralysed but went through intense rehab and I can now walk but have a brace so I really get it," posted a second.
"I was shot through my hand... so I can REALLY relate to this," shared a third.
And a fourth added: "I was there with you my friend. I'm glad you're here."