As a nation, we grieve every September 11th. The loss of human life in 2001 stung our souls, even those of us who didn’t know them personally. We continue to ache for their families and friends, while we struggle with how terrifying their last moments must have been. A portion of our security was stripped away that day, much as it must have been for those in the wake of Hiroshima and the Holocaust. (I learned some of the similarities first hand, after spending time with an Auschwitz survivor who inspired the first chapter of my latest book.)
War and terrorism can strip the human spirit of its fire.
Today, we have a name for the after-effect, where those left behind wrestle with a host of debilitating symptoms.
- They can’t sleep. For some, it’s now been fourteen years since they’ve experienced a good night’s rest.
- Their minds often wander to a place where they replay the disaster in their daydreams, or in their nightmares.
- They struggle to concentrate — even on the most mundane tasks.
- Getting out of bed and taking a shower can require a vast amount of energy.
- Alarms, pops, or other loud noises make them jittery, and often cause them to overreact.
- They feel helpless, hopeless, guilty and cut off from the people they used to be close to. Some have permanently lost important relationships because of September 11th.
- They avoid anything that reminds them of that terrible day — when life as they knew it ceased to exist.
PTSD haunts most survivors, much family and close friends, and many who weren’t directly impacted by 9-11 according to several articles I’ve read from mental health experts. So what do you do when you can’t get over something? How do you get through the next moment when an entire day feels overwhelming? Where can you turn for help?
Many healthcare professionals qualified to diagnose post-traumatic stress disorder, typically offer a range of remedies, hoping something will work. If they have PTSD, patients are usually given a combination of psychotherapy and pills, typically antidepressants, anti-anxiety meds, and often sleeping pills. Many patients are encouraged to make recordings of their memories, or to write about them until the memories lose their power. This is called exposure therapy. I wrote about this method of treatment in my book, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.
But it’s hard to force yourself to face something you want to escape from. And as much as I believe in the help these therapies offer, I wonder if leaving out the spiritual element for healing isn’t forcing many to grapple without finding whole relief. I’m not a counselor or therapist, I’m simply a woman who’s walked through some very dark valleys of my own, and who’s come out on the other side with a heart of deep compassion and experiential empathy. I care about the emotional wounds of people. I know for me, and many others I’ve interviewed as an author and life coach, that practical without spiritual applications, and vice versa, provide half a treatment strategy.
So this is what I’d like to say to those with PTSD as a result of 9-11, or any other traumatic event for that matter, see your therapist, do the practical work to help you sift through your damaged emotions, but don’t discount the power of treating your mind, body, and spirit. You are a whole person, and as such, it makes sense that a whole treatment strategy would be most effective. Take care of ALL of you.
As I think today about those who are still battling the symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, my heart aches. Their pain is real and their struggle is long.
But here’s the thing I want to say to those who are emotionally wounded.
- You are cared for.
- Your invisible injuries matter.
- You are prayed for.
- You are truly not forgotten.
- God sees you and loves what He sees.
Sometimes, just knowing you are not alone is enough to get you through the toughest moments, and for those still battling PTSD, I hope you know you are on the minds of many. You are loved! I pray you re-learn how to love yourself, to allow God to love on you as well, and to keep putting one foot in front of the other, until one day, you reach the place where pain-filled people can laugh yet again. You will never get over what happened to you, but with faith, hope, and love, you can get through. You matter.
Anita Fresh Faith
3 John 2 (NIV)
Dear friend, I pray that you may enjoy good health and that all may go well with you, even as your soul is getting along well.
Anita Brooks motivates others to dynamic break-throughs. Blending mind, heart, body, and spirit, as an Inspirational Business/Life Coach, International Speaker, and Common Trauma Expert.
Anita is also an award-winning author. Her titles include Readers’ Favorite award winner and Golden Scroll Finalist, plus Amazon best seller: Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over, Barbour Publishing, First Hired, Last Fired — How to Become Irreplaceable in Any Job Market, Leafwood Publishing, Death Defied-Life Defined: A Miracle Man’s Memoir, (releasing Winter, 2015), and is a contributor to global book phenomenon, The Change: Insights Into Self Empowerment Book #4. Her books are available at major and independent bookstores, Amazon, plus several online retailers.
Anita fulfills her mission to help 21st century women and men make fresh starts with fresh faith by sharing what she’s learned through experience, interviews, and research. Anita shares hope and encouragement from the page and on the stage.
Anita’s favorite pastime is watching sunsets with her husband of 30 years, while they laugh and dip their toes in the water. Her favorite passion is inspiring others to transform battles into victories.
You can connect with Anita on Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest, LinkedIn, or Twitter. Keep up with Anita’s latest happenings at anitabrooks.com. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to request information on having Anita inspirationally speak or train at your next event.