My name is Genevieve Jones. I am a firearms instructor, cyclist, and mental health advocate. Growing up was not easy for me. Like many of us, I have had a lot of trauma and abuse in my life. Due to this, I have had severe OCD for as long as I can remember. OCD is a debilitating, and horrible disorder that people tend to severely underestimate. The only relief for me at the time was cycling and shooting sports. I shot my first firearm at 11 years old, and my first competition at 15. I actually got to be pretty good, and had a goal of getting sponsored by Smith and Wesson!
Right at the height of my shooting and cycling career, I got diagnosed with Panic Disorder and PTSD. I was having 4-5 panic attacks a day lasting anywhere from 20 minutes to 2 hours. I went to hospitals thinking I was going to have a heart attack at least 10 times in a month. I couldn’t leave the house, I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t ride, and I was afraid to shoot. When I went into a behavioral health center I remember sitting on the floor crying telling the therapist that I was scared that I would never feel normal again.
Therapy helped to an extent. Eventually. My dad pushed me to get back out onto the range. I was so afraid. Would I pass out, would I have a panic attack, would I be able to handle the gun safely? He assured me that he wouldn’t let anything happen and I reluctantly went with him. The second I held my firearm everything faded away. I took it slow-and by the end of the day I hadn’t had a single panic attack. For the first time in almost a year, I felt normal!
That is the day that I decided to become an advocate, & I decided to become an instructor.
I wanted to change peoples lives, I wanted to give them back their power and confidence just like my dad helped me get mine back.
I always tell people, shooting saved my life, and it’s true. I was pulled out of a dark place because I wanted to become an inspiration for others.
Today my fiancé and I run a social media channel called “The Gun Collective” where we talk about firearms and the gun industry, but also about mental health and compassion. I am Co-Founder of a non-profit called “Hold My Guns” which is a pro-gun, non-legislative approach to help prevent suicide, and bring mental health awareness into the firearms community.
We are not defined by our struggles, we are defined by what we choose to do with them. I believe if I can help one person, then everything I’ve gone through will be worth it.
Beyond The Unknown