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High school shooting survivor shares his story on YouTube

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Photo: Video by kmtv.com

High school shooting survivor shares his story on YouTube

By Lindsey Theis. CREATED Apr 30, 2014

Omaha, NE- Kyler Erickson laughs and jokes while making dinner with his roommates. All Millard South High School graduates. It's these small things that now make such a difference in his life.

"If I could use my story and my pain to make a difference and my pain to make a difference in somebody else life then why wouldn't I," he said.

When you ask Kyler about his story, he says it's about him overcoming mental illness. But to understand that, you have to understand what Kyler went through in January of 2011.

When Erickson was a senior at Millard South high school he was in the school office when a student gunman shot and killed the assistant principal and wounded the head principal before killing himself.

The first year after the shooting. Erick said he was fine. He was one of the best basketball players on his team. He even got a scholarship to play ball at North West Missouri State.

"Everyone's brains work differently," he said.

Suddenly, everything hit him, his sophomore year of college. He says he couldn't eat or sleep, had emotional breakdowns and hallucinations.

"I was in the dorms at the time, I had a roommate. In the middle of the night I would wake up and I would see someone standing at my bed with a gun pointed at me. I'd start crying and couldn't stop. My roommate would just be like 'are you ok?' He probably thought I was crazy, at that point I probably was," Erickson said.

Erickson says his breaking point was during a breakdown in his basketball assistant coach's office. She also confided her problems in him, and convinced him to get help.

He was diagnosed with PTSD. Kyler underwent about four months of intense EMDR therapy. EMDR is commonly used for PTSD patients who have experienced severe trauma that remains unresolved. According to its founder, when a traumatic or distressing experience occurs, it may overwhelm normal cognitive and neurological coping mechanisms. The goal of EMDR therapy is to process distressing memories, reducing their lingering effects allowing patients to develop a way to cope.

Since then, Kyler has transferred to University of Nebraska at Omaha. He's on their basketball team, and recently made a video about what he had been through. Remember Kyler said his story is about overcoming mental illness and overcoming it.

"Getting help is a good thing, and that's the story, behind the video," he said.

He posted it on YouTube, but never shared the video, about six minutes in length. A friend or family member caught hold of it though, his mother, Rhonda says. In one day, the video has blown up on Facebook and YouTube, garnering more than six thousand views.

"Sheeeesh!" Erickson said, when he found out about the hits.

He had been so busy with UNO finals and basketball practice he didn't know about the hits until KMTV told him. He says he's just happy people are talking about mental illness, and hopefully, if they need it, getting help.

"If this can change one person's life, than it was well worth my hours and hours, days and days, for this video." he said.

View the video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6wclfVZMXk