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Mental Health Center

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A Conversation With a Columbine Survivor

Marjorie Lindholm on Life After Columbine and Advice in the Wake of School Shootings
WebMD Feature

Marjorie Lindholm is a survivor of the 1999 school shootings at Columbine High School in Littleton, Colo. Lindholm, who wrote a book titled A Columbine Survivor's Story, spoke with WebMD about her experiences and shares her advice for school shooting survivors and their loved ones.

How are you doing? It's been years now since Columbine, but it was such a huge event. I imagine you never really get over it, or do you?

I haven't. I think some people may be able to. I think with Columbine, people don't really realize, it's kind of where you were at the school. If somebody was at the far end of it and ran out of the school right away, I don't think they were as traumatized as someone who was stuck in the library or the science room or saw someone shot. So I think there were lots of different levels of trauma that occurred with Columbine.

And you were in one of the rooms just down from the library, is that right?

Right. I was trapped in the room with the teacher who was killed. We were giving him first aid for the entire time, like four or five hours, until we were able to get out with the SWAT team.

When another school shooting happens, how do you deal with days like that?

Not really well, actually. I dropped out of high school, and it took a lot of years to get courage to go to college, and I still can't do it. I was trying to do [a] biology major, but you have to go to the classroom, and last semester I quit going again because there's been so many shootings on the news, and every time you read the news and something like that happens, you kind of relive what you lived through. So I switched to an online degree, so that I don't have to walk into a classroom anymore for the remainder of my bachelor's.

How's that working out?

[It's going] well, so far, other than I don't really like the subject matter anymore because it's sociology instead of biology. But you've kind of got to go with the flow and do what you can. But it's just really hard because my life was school right now and every time I hear about this, it brings up all of my issues. And then in another sense, you see all the victims on TV -- or even the kids who kind of witness things on TV or on the news -- and you know what they're going to go through because it's what I went through for the past nine years ... and I feel so bad for them and there's nothing anyone can do.

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