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Incredible recovery of depressed woman who shot half her face off but survived before finding love

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A depressed woman who blew half her face off by shooting herself in the head has revealed how she found love and happiness following her miracle survival.

Christen McGinnes woke up one morning in 2010 and decided to blast herself with her .357 revolver at her home in Virginia.

Christen, now 46, said she pulled the trigger at point blank range following a year that had seen her lose her job, break up with her boyfriend and the death of her grandmother.

However, she somehow survived the shooting, which left her in a coma for three weeks with half her face blown off, and has since fallen in love with a “wonderful man”.

The bullet destroyed the right side of her face, from her eye to her chin, and blew off her jawbone, a third of her teeth and tongue, the lower half of her mouth, her right eye as well as shattering her nose.

Amazingly, she said she doesn’t regret her actions.

Speaking about her suicide attempt, she said she tidied her apartment moments before blasting herself on the balcony so the bullet wouldn’t pass through a wall and possibly hit someone else.

Christen told how she was calm for the first time in months and believed at the time that killing herself was the “right thing to do”.

She said: “Right up to until 2009, I lived a charmed life. I had a lot of friends.

“I loved my job and I was best friends with my grandmother. And then, everything went to hell.

“I lost my job, my grandmother died. I was dating a really nice guy. I moved in with him and then he broke up with me.”

She continued: “I’d lost all of my savings and began drinking heavily. I hadn’t been sleeping well and, although I’m not sure if I knew it, I was majorly depressed.

“I had asked a few people for help but I felt like a burden and isolated myself.

“At the time, I thought that killing myself was the right thing to do. The right decision.”

“I had a gun. I had a revolver and I knew that would kill me. I knew what those guns can do. They are very powerful.

“So, I tidied the apartment because I knew people will be coming and I went out in the balcony because I was afraid the bullet will go through my head and through the wall and hurt someone else.

“I was calm for the first time in months. I wasn’t afraid to die. So I pulled the trigger.”

Unbeknown to her, Christen’s roommate was sleeping in next door.

She added: “I pulled the trigger. And wow, it was really loud and really I couldn’t see anything.

“And then I heard my roommate scream, “What’s that, what’s that!” And I thought, ‘Oh my god.

“He wasn’t supposed to be in the home.

“I heard him running around the apartment screaming, ‘Where are you?’ and then he came out to the balcony.

“The noise that came out of his mouth was the shrillest, most panicked shriek I’ve ever heard.”

Christen was airlifted to hospital and was in a coma for three weeks.

She continued: “The very first thing I remember was my dad holding my hand and saying: ‘All you have to do is heal, everything is taken care of, you are safe’.

“There were piles of cards and gifts, all around me.

“I had a nurse with me whilst I was still unconscious and she would read me every card and letter and I am convinced that helped in my recovery and also helped with my mindset to feel grateful that I survived this, instead of angry.

“I think the biggest change for me was seeing how much support I really had and how many people truly cared about me – and some of them were downright pissed that I had done this to myself.

“They still loved me, but boy were they angry.

“That affirmation, that love was so powerful. It took the anger and depression away.”

Her friend Howard, was one of the first to visit her in hospital.

He said: “When I walked into the room at the hospital she was not recognizable.

“She was swollen, half of her face was bandaged because it was blown off.

“The jaw was gone, the eye was gone, the cheek was gone, everything was destroyed.

“That side of her face and the other side was so swollen that it was almost not a face.

“But when I saw the forehead and the red hair I knew that it was my Christen.”

Since her suicide attempt, Christen has had 49 surgeries to reconstruct her face, and will need more in the future.

She said: “I sleep a lot because my body needs so much time to heal, even now.

“And I still have lots more therapy and surgeries planned. I’ll never be the person I was before, but that’s good.

“I’m more grateful now. It’s a struggle for me getting around but I enjoy the life that I have.

“During my recovery, I met and fell in love with a wonderful man.”

“He is deaf and so doesn’t mind that my speech is not what it once was. I value my friendships more and my time with others.

“But I don’t regret what I did.”

Now, Christen spends her time helping others break the stigma that surrounds mental health and suicide attempts by volunteering at the Trauma Network Centre in Virginia.

She said: “I am relentlessly optimistic and I never had a problem with getting out of bed or feeling sad or any of those things.

“So, it was startling to me when I started struggling with my mental health.

“Suicide is an awful thing, but more people have tried it than you know.

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“There is a such a stigma around suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts that people keep it hidden.

“I think that if this wasn’t the case, then we might save people.

“By talking about suicide and admitting we’ve been there, others can know they are not alone.”

Howard added: “For Christen to go through all these surgeries and watching her go through the process it only underlined what I always thought about her.

“I always thought that she was a strong person, I always thought that she was a capable person, I always thought that she had great compassion for others.”

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Crime

Mother, Son arrainged for killing alleged housebreaker.

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A 45-year-old woman and her 17-year-old son have been arraigned for beating an alleged housebreaker to death in Butterworth, Eastern Cape.

Police confirmed they were investigating a murder after a 23-year-old housebreaker, identified as Solomzi Gcanca, was killed on Wednesday, June 19.

SAPS spokesperson, Capt Jackson Manatha said members of the community witnessed the [mother and son] beating the young man”

The man was found dead in the street by community members on Wednesday evening at Ext 14B, Mcubakazi township, Butterworth.

“The community was so angry that they wanted the woman and her son to be evicted from where they live. But we could not do that. Our job was to arrest them,” 

The community was angry about what happened to Gcanca.

“The alleged killers took matters into their own hands by beating the man for breaking into their house. What they were supposed to do was come to the police,” he added.

Both suspects were expected to appear in court on Tuesday

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24 Hours Across Africa

Nato warn Russia to refrain New Missle plan

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Source: Reuters – NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region.

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NATO defense ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).

“We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “We will need to respond,” Stoltenberg said.

He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defense ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles.

The United States and its NATO allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Washington of seeking an arms race.

Without a deal, the United States has said it will withdraw from the INF treaty on Aug. 2, removing constraints on its own ability to develop nuclear-capable, medium-range missile.

The dispute has deepened a fissure in East-West ties that severely deteriorated after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its involvement in Syria.


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