Shortly after I was held up I realized that when I heard words like shootings, stabbings, terrorist attacks or robberies, I would end up in a full blown trigger. So over the past ten years, I cut out reading the newspaper, disconnected cable television, and I stopped listening to the radio when I know the news is going to be on.
Up until last week this plan had been working really well for me, but then social media took over and there was no getting away from it...
The first thing I read that indicated something horrific was going on was a post that said “Pray for Paris,” then Twitter, and Facebook seemed to go crazy. I saw words like shootings, concert, 49 dead, and went into a full blown panic attack; which means symptoms like, but not limited to severe chest pain (almost like what you think a heart attack would feel like), profuse sweating, shaking, and increased pulse.
Then I seemed to lose all touch with reality, and all I could do was cry for all the people that were going to be affected by this tragedy. I cried on and off for hours as I thought about the people that had died; the people that were injured; the people that had witnessed the attacks; and the people that had lost a loved one.
As you know I’m a PTSD survivor and I’ve experienced what these people and their families were going through. More importantly, I knew what they were going to have to deal with, and it literally broke my heart. Statistics state that 20% of people that witness a traumatic event will go on to develop PTSD, and I couldn’t get over how sad I was knowing how much this attack was going to affect so many people.
PTSD is a horrible injury and I wouldn’t wish it on anyone; it changes you to the core of your very being and you need to do whatever you need to, to get through. Be kind to yourself, understand that you’re having a normal reaction to an abnormal situation and remember to surround yourself with people that love and understand you.
Stay safe and stay strong.