Today is the anniversary of one of the most horrible tragedies our nation has suffered and hopefully the worst that I will have to witness in my lifetime. It’s almost unimaginable to think that 13 years have gone by since that cool, crisp September morning when NYC was under attack and I had to run for cover. Thankfully, back then, I was healthy and could run and walk on my own. I often wonder what would have happened to me that morning if I had to rely on the kindness of others to protect me.
Many people were saved that morning because of the help of fire fighters, ambulance workers, police men and just plain old every day goodhearted citizens, but thousands of others weren’t so lucky and many of the ones that didn’t perish that morning were damaged emotionally in ways that others can’t even imagine.
I won’t relive that morning, as I did it in my post on my blog a year ago, but I still felt it needed mention. As a result of that day, many, many, many people’s lives were effected and unfortunately changed for the worse. I know 2 people who worked in the towers and managed to escape and I know 1 person who was downtown that morning working in another building, and like me had to run for cover. This last person is the one who emotionally has suffered the most and since that day, has never been the same.
Why is it that she has suffered the worst, when she hadn’t worked in the WTC. We all saw horrific things that morning if we were by the Towers, but why is it that some of us have recovered emotionally and others haven’t. To me this has to do with our mindset as we approached the day.
After witnessing the horrible events of that day, we all were in shock, and it took all of us time to process what had happened, to grieve for the people who lost there lives and the ones that lost their loved ones and then to heal. But some people don’t heal, why?
Since 9-11, we’ve learned a lot about the brain and about suffering. Trauma disrupts the balance of feeling, memory and decision-making in our brain and all these parts need time and care to come back into balance. Research has shown that even in the face of unimaginable tragedy and despite the fact that we will always remember what happened, emotional balance for many victims can return to normal within 2 years. This is a great cause for hope. But what about the people whose brains don’t return to normal within 2 years, is there still hope for them? We’ve also learned over the course of the last 13 years that Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, or PTSD, affects not just the immediate victims of violence, but also bystanders and witnesses.
In order to heal and recover, we must face our inner wounds and choose to fight them. The alternative is to deny them, but then our suffering will continue and the healing process will be delayed.
My friend is working very hard to fight her inner wounds, but they are very deep and very severe, and unfortunately after 13 years, they are still there. She has been crying since yesterday for the life she lost and for the person that never returned home from work the same. I hope she is able to slay her demons (or at least tame them) this year and that the next time 9-11 rolls around on the calendar, it doesn’t have such a hold on her.