Tuesday, September 27, 2011

A different kind of trauma

White Ink Doodle

2001 was a difficult time for me as I was battling depression, or should I say, battling the medicine that was supposed to be helping me. (A story for another day.)

I was at home on September 11th of 2001 due to a short term medical leave. The tv was on in the living room but I wasn’t paying any attention to it as I was sitting in the kitchen and working on the computer. I happen to walk into the living room minutes after an airplane had crashed into the North tower of the World Trade Center. I stood with my mouth open watching smoke pouring out as the newscaster was speculating on whether it was an accident or something else when all of a sudden, right before my eyes I see another plane hit the South tower.

I sat glued to the tv with no one to call, no one to talk to about what I was seeing. I watched the entire event from when the 2nd plane hit until each tower collapsed. How was this even possible?

Fast forward to now.

Each year as the anniversary rolls around I can’t watch the news, the HBO specials…. It’s just too much. The “Never Forget” slogan makes me want to scream. How could anyone ever really forget that day? At that time I didn’t know anyone who worked at the towers or who was directly involved in any way but the other night as I watched an episode of CSI New York that included flash backs to 9/11, I had a huge realization. Sitting alone and watching the events as they happened brought up feelings and emotions that I never really shared with anyone and have never known what to do with. I realized that even as a person watching from afar, I was involved in the events of that day and had myself experienced a traumatic event. Ten years later, I am still not healed. This is because every time I try and mentally revisit those events, I return to my own personal experience of feeling completely alone when the world was seemingly falling apart. (And I'm sure my depression issues at the time compounded the situation for me.) I now understand this as another aspect of myself that requires healing and can finally do something about it.

I wonder how many people like me indirectly suffered this trauma and have also never worked through the emotions caused by what they experienced?

I have great sympathy for all who have in any way been affected by the tragic events of 9/11. My heart goes out to you.

With love & light,
Stephanie

4 comments:

G.Young said...

There is a beautiful essay you might want to read by David Foster Wallace about that day, entitled "The View from Mrs. Thompson's," in which his own battle with panic and depression intertwines with 9/11; how he was--at least temporarily--healed is a thing of beauty. And your gift to us is to take darkness and make light from it; thank you, Steffie!

Dion Dior said...

Stephanie, your courage and wisdom in sharing this story is inspirational. I applaud you and I am grateful for your strength and art. xx Dion.

JoniB said...

Thank you for this post. I've felt the same way. I cannot watch anything or read anything that touches on that day.

Biffybeans said...

Thank you Gail, Dion and Joni for your reply. I've been working hard on personal growth and transformation and discovering this has been key in my understanding my frustration at sometimes feeling "alone."

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