(3TV/CBS 5)-- "I really thought it was a fairy tale. I really did," Veronica Winters-Everly said.

Winters-Everly met the man of her dreams. He was charming, kind. He was a family man. But, his seducing charm became a sinister spell.

[VIDEO: New light therapy helps Phoenix-area trauma victims rewire their brains]

Winters-Everly sat down with CBS 5 news anchor Brandon Lee.

"He was a manipulator and a control freak. He monitored everything I did. It got to the point where if I had to go get gas for my car, we all had to go together. I wasn't even allowed to go to the gas station alone," said Winters-Everly.

"Did it ever turn physical?" Lee asked.

"There was sexual abuse," Winters-Everly admitted.

Winters-Everly tried to bury the trauma to forget the pain and focus on their two beautiful children Noah and McKenna. Veronica says her daughter was loving and affectionate.

Veronica says she tried to protect her kids from being impacted by the violence. She got a divorce. She packed up the car and kids and moved from Ohio to the Valley. She thought the sun would offer warmth and a brighter future, but a storm was about to roll in.

"We actually went underground. He had threatened my life three times, and the children's life once. That he was going to kill us," says Veronica.

Even after the threats, Veronica says the courts still forced the kids to fly back to Ohio to visit their dad.

The signs of abuse were evident.

"McKenna started coming home with bruises and scrapes and cuts and sprained ankles and a black eye. She went from being a normal child to suddenly showing all kinds of abuse, and when I would confront him about this, he would become hostile and say she was just being clumsy. McKenna was not a clumsy child. It was always the third night they were there. McKenna would call me hysterical, begging me to come rescue her. Legally my hands were tied, and I couldn't do that," Veronica explains as tears run down her face.

Veronica finally refused the court's order by not allowing her kids to fly cross-country. So, Dad decided to visit the kids in Arizona.

That's where the abuse got more extreme.

"I found out later from my son that the hotel where I dropped them off at, that Dad had it arranged to have a single bed in the room and he told them that one night McKenna had to sleep with him and the next night Noah had to sleep with him, and the other child had to sleep on the floor. It was only a day and a half later that McKenna had locked herself into the bedroom. When I broke down the door a couple of hours later is when I found her hanging from the ceiling fan," said Veronica.

Veronica's life spiraled into a deep, dark depression. She attempted suicide five times.

"I was so deep in my grief that I was living with blinders on, and I didn't see anything else in my life, including Noah, and made my first attempt because I just wanted to be with her," said Veronica.

With her blinders on, Veronica didn't see her son Noah was also in severe emotional pain.

"He went from 'A' grades to flunking out of school. He was getting into fights all the time. He was instigating fights. He got involved with serious drugs and using cocaine and found out years later that he was also dealing it out of the house," said Veronica.

Veronica was desperate for something to save her family. She was open to anything.

"My psychiatrist had given me the option of a chemical lobotomy or ECT brain shock therapy just to keep me alive. I went through the brain shock therapy. Minimal results. Short-lived," said Veronica.

While Veronica was constantly being evaluated by doctors, Noah enlisted in the military, and his life seemed to be back on track.

"He had found his spiritual path, his recovery path. He was happy again," said Veronica.

Another storm was brewing. Veronica was diagnosed with stage 3 cancer. Noah chose to leave the military to be with his mom. It didn't take long before Noah's inner demons took over.

"His girlfriend broke up with him through a text. Then, (she) published those texts on Facebook. Not only was he broken-hearted, he was humiliated. He relapsed. It's as simple as that. He relapsed. The coroner said he used the same amount of heroin that he used to use as an addict, and he died instantly. I feel like I didn't have anything left to live for. They were my sole purpose in this lifetime," said Veronica.

Veronica attempted suicide one more time. But, doctors in the emergency room saved her twice from the grave. Her therapist was so desperate to save her, he had one last hope.

A new medical device promises to help rewire the brain of trauma victims. It's called "Brain Entrainment therapy." It's designed to alleviate the distress associated with traumatic memories.

Dr. Stacey Smith is a therapist and one of the nation's leading researchers of neuro-guidance therapy.

"A lot of times with significant trauma is that the trauma kind of rewires the brain. You have this shift, and your brain will get rewired in a dysfunctional manner. That neuro-feedback that we are using helps to break that miswiring, and it uses that neuroplasticity of the brain to go back into a configuration that's an optimized state," said Smith.

To simplify, when we experience trauma such as an assault, rape or any abuse, that trauma rewires the brain, causing some victims to become addicts. Others, like Veronica, suffer anxiety or depression.

In order to heal, the brain has to fix the wires that were messed up during that traumatic experience.

The little device emits sounds as a light bar flashes repeatedly. It is this combination in 20-minute sessions that actively works to rewire the brain back to the way it was before the trauma happened.

"Within six weeks, my depression that I had been treated for since I was 21 started lifting. Within three months, the flashbacks and PTSD I had for 15 years was (sic) completely gone, and after six months, I was back to being Veronica before I had any traumas in my life. I was completely back. I could work again. I could function. I had happiness in my life," said Veronica.

Smith says the device, combined with traditional therapy, can help speed up the healing process and keep people from self-destructive behavior.

"Addiction, depression, or anxiety is just people trying to cope with things that are stuck if you will. And, if we can get to them early enough to where they're not stuck and they don't feel like that, it doesn't progress into something deeper," Smith said.

"And to keep them from choosing drugs or alcohol?" asked Lee.

Using light therapy can work quickly and effectively. "I might be able to help someone heal in two months. But, when I was able to couple the process together, I was able to reduce that to three weeks," said Smith.

The brain entrainment therapy does not erase memory. Instead, it brings victims to a calmer state to deal with the emotions in a positive, healthy way.

While Veronica says she's the happiest she's been since her first sex assault at age 21, she still has regrets.

"Once I really realized what was really going on and finally listen to my gut. I didn't listen to my gut enough, and that's my biggest regret," said Veronica.

"If you had one more chance to see your daughter, what would you say to her?" asked Lee.

"I would tell McKenna that I understand the choice she made. That she was trapped in pain that she did not see any escape from. That it breaks my heart to not only lose her but to know that she was suffering so much in silence," said Veronica.

She is trying to save lives. She created Veronica's Initiative, which will help make the ground-breaking technology available to all women in despair. They are looking for 100 women to be part of the study.

 


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