Saturday, March 27, 2010

PTSD - the gift that keeps on giving

I figure I should probably quickly quell any rumors or concerns I may have unintentionally started on Facebook. I put up a simple status update today that I know will ring true with several of my Haiti friends right now. And it probably freaked several other people out.

The status-
Low flying military helicopter overhead shakes my house. I panic. Train rumbles by, shakes my house. I panic. Nice to know my Haiti PTSD is still going strong. Damn earthquakes. (God Bless Haiti)

I appreciated that one of the nurses from our trip made a funny comment about it. (PTSD is a souvenir you didn't have to buy.) For those who don't know what PTSD is, it stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a condition developed after traumatic experiences. Everyone who gets it will get it in their own special way. No two people are the same in how they exhibit it.** 

I've talked to several of my friends from Haiti, and many of us are dealing with our own special cases of PTSD. For the most part it is coming out in nightmares, or for some a tendency to feel guilty when eating, and in one friend's case, a difficult time looking at blood. There have been reports of depression as well. For me, it is a teeny tiny panic attack when my house shakes. And some of the most creative bad dreams I have ever had. In every single dream I have been married to an ex-boyfriend, pregnant, and fighting off some bizarre problem. My favorite one involved my dad riding around my backyard on a pig, while trying to cut its head off with a sword. (The scary part was that I was married to the ex-boyfriend.)

Personally, I think fearing an earthquake is a healthy response! You go spend 3 weeks of your life living in fear of buildings crumbling and seeing overwhelming destruction from an earthquake, not to mention feeling several minor quakes, and see if you don't seize up when your house rumbles! 

So before anyone goes freaking out about my PTSD comment on Facebook, please understand, I'm fine. I know that my fellow Haiti volunteers got the joke, or at the least, feel my pain. We're all still dealing with things in our own special way. Now, if I just didn't have to live next to an Army base and a train track, my life would be a lot calmer! Good thing I am moving soon! (And far away from a fault line!)

**(Please, please, please do not think that what is currently being shown on "Grey's Anatomy" is realistic. If someone, especially a doctor, had symptoms that severe, they would not be working in a hospital, and would be sent to live under careful observation and serious medication.)

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