Wendy Williams, a local author, has recently released her book titled “Autobiography of a Sea Creature: Healing the Trauma of Infant Surgery.” The book delves into Williams’ personal journey of self-discovery and healing, which was ignited by a lifelong battle with anxiety and mental health struggles.
From a young age, Williams grappled with overwhelming anxiety and depression, persisting even into her adulthood. Despite addressing many of her emotional challenges through therapeutic means, there remained an underlying sense of unease within her. Determined to understand the root cause, Williams looked back to her early years, beyond what she could consciously remember.
At only 26 days old, Wendy Williams underwent emergency surgery for pyloric stenosis, a critical condition obstructing digestion. Born in 1952, the medical practices of that time were vastly different from today’s advanced techniques. Anesthesia was not administered to infants, as there were concerns about potential brain damage, leading medical practitioners to believe that babies did not experience pain.
Williams embarked on extensive research at UC Davis, uncovering the stark reality of her infancy experience. Instead of anesthesia, infants were given paralytics or muscle relaxants during surgeries until the late 1980s. This discovery shed light on the trauma experienced by countless infants during that era, including Williams herself.
In her book, Williams reveals how the somatic issues she exhibited were a way of subconsciously attempting to heal from the unacknowledged trauma. Her interactions with abandoned buildings on the Jersey Shore, where she tested her survival limits, mirrored her internal struggle to cope with the emotional scars left by her early surgery.
The title of her autobiography was inspired by her time on the East Coast shores, where she encountered overturned horseshoe crabs. Their vulnerable appearance resonated with her own feelings of inner and outer imperfection, fueled by the sizable scar from her childhood surgery and the emotions she couldn’t comprehend.
Williams’ book invites readers to explore her journey of self-exploration and healing, shedding light on the lasting effects of trauma experienced during infancy. Through her writing, she hopes to bring awareness to this little-known reality while offering solace and understanding to others who might have faced similar challenges. A reading and discussion event for “Autobiography of a Sea Creature” will be held at Canvasback Books in Klamath Falls on July 13, providing an opportunity for attendees to engage with the author’s profound story.