"Cheryl's life has been an incredible journey—a journey that should happen to no one, especially a little girl. Yet through her writings and work with horses, she becomes an incredible inspiration for so many who have sadly suffered a similar fate. Follow Me, Friend is a must for anyone who has been abused or know someone who has, no matter what form—but especially the abuse that comes from that dim voice inside that says the act was somehow your fault and you'll never amount to anything. Know that you are not alone. I commend Cheryl for her bravery and her amazing spirit."
—Robin Hutton, New York Times best-selling author of Sgt. Reckless, America’s War Horse
"Cheryl’s memoir, Follow Me, Friend, is a powerful and engaging story. I felt transported into her life, both as an observer and as if living her life with her. It provides a potent and heartbreaking description of living with intense depression, anxiety, and PTSD, while at the same time providing hope through her resilience and the strength and healing that came through her relationship with her horse. This book has had a profound impact on me, both personally and as a mental health professional, leading to a deeper understanding of these mental health issues and the beautiful power of horses, dogs, and friendships in our healing journeys."
—Lynn Thomas, LCSW, Eagala founder and president of Horses for Mental Health
"Follow Me, Friend brings a unique depth to the story of a girl and her horse, layering adeptly descriptive prose of stable and farm life, with distressing experiences on the road to emerging as a survivor. This is an emotionally compelling page-turner on the repercussions of abuse, the importance of friends, and the healing power of close relationships with horses and dogs. Eriksen’s intimate and insightful telling is interwoven with engaging horse and dog stories, while taking the reader along on her path to hope and peace. Follow Me, Friend is also relevant in truly comprehending the impact and need for today’s youth protection preventative and educational measures."
—Caryn Sappelli, youth protection coordinator for a national youth equestrian organization
"A courageous gift to the world. Cheryl Eriksen, MSW writes with courage, humility and compassion as she shares an exposé of her innermost journey toward healing and hope.
Not consciously recalling her own childhood sexual abuse, Cheryl shares how her ongoing brutal self-talk, incapacitating anxiety, dissociation and life threatening depression went unchecked for years. It wasn’t until her serious horseback riding accident that nearly cost Cheryl, a professional horse woman/trainer her life, that she reconnected to her past and began her journey toward genuine healing.
This courageous book, Follow Me, Friend: A Memoir of Undiagnosed PTSD, and the Healing Power of the Horse-Human Relationship, does two important things. It chips away at stigma while also having the potential for saving lives.
-Linda L.M. Worley, M.D., Amazon Review
"An important memoir. One can only admire how Cheryl found the strength to share her story of how she overcame emotional trauma that shook her world to the point that she almost died. Cheryl shows us how her animal connections helped her through the darkest of darks, helped her realize her true potential, helped her overcome and succeed in so many ways. Thank you, Cheryl, for giving us the opportunity to follow you through your journey to a life better lived."
"Touching and a must read. What can I say? This book arrived in the mail and I finished it in less than 48 hours. A heart wrenching and healing book . Cheryl's writing brings you right into her challenges and triumphs. The love between Farletta and Cheryl is so touching. It re enforces my belief that horses have amazing healing powers. I so recommend reading it. "
-Linda Grant, Amazon Review
"Extremely well written, hard to put down. This is a compelling story about a very important topic. It's a great book for anyone interested in horses and horse-themed memoirs, but also for people suffering with PTSD or those who care about someone who does. At times it is a tearjerker but also hard to put down; an important read for everyone. "
"Honest, courageous, and soul-touching memoir. Cheryl is an amazingly gifted wordsmith and with this memoir opens up a world of things a lot of us need to discuss in order to recognize and heal our own traumas. This book was instrumental in my own recovery and reading her words was soothing - we are not alone. There are others processing traumas just like us and reading this book felt like listening to a friend speaking. HIGHLY recommend!"
-Jaquie Flanagan, Amazon Reviewer
"Had me in tears...the good kind. Worth the read - I picked it up and couldn't put it down. Except to go out and give my horses dinner. This book captures perfectly how horses can such a key part of childhood, and with luck, adulthood. This book reminded me how crucial they were for me at a critical point so this book touched me deeply. Thanks to Cheryl for writing this. I'm in awe of your ability to tell it like it is. A much needed look at that special relationship with horses that many young girls rely on."
-S. Shangle, Amazon Reviewer
"A beautiful journey of healing. Thank you for being brave. Even though our lives have taken different paths I could relate with the emotions you shared in your writing. This memoir is a page turner and is beautifully made."
-Amy Jo Osterhouse, Amazon Reviewer
"A remarkable story. Cheryl's story clearly shows how horses offer a profound means of both support and healing, without knowing consciously that they do. Cheryl's relationship with her horse Farletta forms a gentle, yet at times challenging, matrix within which Cheryl works through her traumatic childhood events of which she didn't even have conscious awareness. Yes, she received human help, too, but Farletta's contribution to her healing remains perhaps the most powerful---certainly the most consistent---of influences."
-Marie, Amazon Reviewer
"A wonderful story I did not want to put down. A heart wrenching account of what happens when PTSD goes unrecognized. I found it fascinating the way the mind can take over and play two different personalities against one another in one person. I cried with Cheryl as she struggled to figure out what was happening to her. And,I am also intrigued by the horse-human factor and the large part it played in resolution."
-Sally Mahie, Amazon Reviewer
"Authentic, raw, beautiful book. This is a wonderfully written memoir. It kept my interest. I didn't want to put it down. It tells the story of suffering with ptsd (trigger warning) and of learning how to live authentically with ptsd. I sobbed cathartically at several points in the book as my own wounds were touched upon. This book is an authentic, raw, beautiful work about healing and continuing to heal."
-Kim Spence, Amazon Reviewer
"A must-read!Follow Me, Friend is an incredible and heart-wrenching memoir that I couldn’t put down. Ms. Eriksen has woven the story of her experience with PTSD and trauma with the story of the animals and people that were integral to her life. This book should be required reading for any aspiring psychologist, social worker, therapist, and teacher, and for any person who loves animals and wishes to open their heart to the experience of trauma survivors. We walk through this life in our own “barn” of expectations, experience and understanding. Ms. Eriksen throws open the barn door into a path that shows a different way. Follow HER, friends.
"An unforgettable book. Follow Me, Friend is significant on so many levels. For anyone who wants to understand the impact of childhood sexual abuse, this book will take you right to the heart of that experience, including the lifelong trauma and the painful journey to recover suppressed memories. Cheryl takes you inside her head -- you feel like you are experiencing first-hand what she suffered. On another level, Cheryl also shows you the joys and sorrows of being a creative horse trainer and animal lover. Well-written and emotionally charged, this book will stay with you for a long time.
-Janice L., Amazon Reviewer
"A well-written and important memoir. Cheryl is able to tell her story about the impacts of childhood trauma in this well written and captivating memoir. Her story of her own undiagnosed PTSD is sure to be helpful to others who have had similar experiences. Her message of healing through the human-animal relationship is heart warming. I have recommended this book to many clients in my work as a therapist, and will continue to do so. Thank you Cheryl for sharing your story with the world."