thoughts on a tragedy

Totally (though I could argue ethical chocolate could lead to less terrorism, sure) unrelated, I just wanted to show you the counter.

I just sent this email to Jacob, and thought I’d post it here too, because honestly, I would like others’ input on whether or not I have, like…post-traumatic stress disorder or something.

Truthfully, I am really, really, REALLY worried about this September, and am honestly thinking about trying to hide out away from all media for the whole month so I don’t have to see any 10-year anniversary crapola.

This is what people without health insurance that could pay for going to a shrink do: post their mental health questions on their blogs. What can ya do.

Hi sweet,

I hope you’re having a lovely day.

Everyone in the world is out having fun, and I’m here making 300 truffles and a bunch of other stuff for the shop and orders…a bit worried about finishing before my mandatory day off tomorrow [my pal Maresa is using the shop on Tuesdays for her baking biz, so I have a forced day off! I know it will be good for me, but I’m dreading it. I want to make cough drops and pain au chocolat!], and thinking about how gorgeous it is outside and how much I want to go play. Or at least mow the lawn. Alas.
So, here’s a thing. Remember how a while ago you said you don’t think I’ve gotten over Sept. 11? I’m watching this new show [truffle rolling = great Netflix time!], Sports Night. It’s Aaron Sorkin’s show before West Wing. I like it but don’t love it. In the opening credits, and in lots of the commercial break spots, are shots of the WTC. I think the show might actually be set there. And every time I see it, I start to feel awful. Scared and just overwhelmed with a crushing sadness. Then the show comes back on and I feel OK again, but it’s not very pleasant. Do you think after 10 dang years, I should be over this? I can’t decide. But I think I might go back to watching Family Ties.
Much love,
When Jacob told me, in the course of a conversation I’ve forgotten, that he didn’t think I was over Sept. 11, I asked him: how does a person get over watching people die in front of them? Is that a get-over-able thing? I don’t think it is. I think it would be inhuman to get “over” it. Will those images ever not haunt all of us?
I’m just not sure I’m finding the right balance of living with the pain of that day.
Is there something symbolic to the fact that I’m thinking about these things on July 4th?
Of course.
(PS: what’s up with this formatting? I can’t get it to make paragraph breaks!)

8 Responses to “thoughts on a tragedy”

  1. adriennefriend

    darling one, it’s trauma, trauma of the APA-defined variety, involving intrusive thoughts, despair, sudden piercing feelings, physical discomfort.

    I have a very dear friend with a degree in psychology and a full-time job in the field. She and I are meeting with a bunch of others from our undergrad class (we recently lost a classmate to a grisly murder) on Tuesday night to talk about it and process. If I pick up any coping skills I’ll definitely pass them on. for now, she tells me that time will make it more bearable. but considering that you’re still experiencing awful feelings of fright, overwhelm and crushing sadness, how much time? I’ll ask for specifics, and will let you know.

  2. indialeigh

    Hey, I think you are right when you say about expecting to ‘get over’ it. Maybe, if you cease to expect you will ever reach a point where you feel no sadness you may feel more at ease? When I was an NLP practitioner I would have used EFT and invited people to question where the trauma is and how it could be released. Could you write a letter to the people who you witnessed die or write their letter for them? Perhaps an imagined dialogue (which i know would take a vast amount of courage) would help to ‘smooth’ the feelings a little. Make the most of your life so you are a survivor and not a victim. I don’t know your story but you seem to be creating a gathering space in your shop for people live gently to be a gift and an inspiration. Well done you!

  3. Randal Putnam

    It’s Lacey writing under Randy’s account, but I thought I could share a bit on the whole PTSD thing. I have worked for the past 18 years with many adults, adolescents and children who have experienced significant trauma. When I first meet with someone who discloses a traumatic experience that they are haunted by, I ask a lot of questions- trying to find out how close they were to the trauma (it happened directly to them or they witnessed it), how soon after it happened were they able to discuss it with someone, how often they think about it, whether they feel ashamed or responsible for what happened, etc. This information doesn’t really help me decide whether or not their trauma is valid, but it does help me to come up with ways to help them heal. Many people don’t realize that trauma does not only affect our brain and our emotions. It also stays in our body. It shows itself sometimes as aches and pains, a sore back, headaches, etc. It often causes someone to feel a constant sense of “dis-ease”- not feeling able to relax and just let go. Trauma can make you to feel disconnected from other people. Trauma also leaves one with a fear, sort of paranoia, that something might happen and you always have to be alert and ready to respond.
    I don’t want to go on and on, but I think you get the point. Talking to people who care about you, listen to you and validate your feelings is important. Also, remembering that you have nothing to feel guilty or ashamed about. You are not a bad person because you survived that day.
    So, a bit long winded, but I hope you get the point. If you need to talk more, I am here for you. Also, I know some wonderful books that focus on healing from trauma if you want any suggestions.
    The people you witnessed did not have to die alone because you were with them. That is sort of a beautiful thing.


    • lagusta

      thanks so much for this info, my friend. lots to think about…

  4. ruby

    I know our situations are different & maybe I’m not the best person to give advice on this because I still cry about my dad most days, but I went to a grief group led by a social worker once a week for 3 months after he was killed & that helped a lot – would that be appropriate for you? Is there sliding scale counseling in New Paltz or nearby? I think the most helpful thing the grief group forced me to do was write about it a lot – which you probably do already. The group also chose write (& read aloud) eulogies for the people who’d died. Writing that about him, since I wasn’t up to it at his service, was a huge breakthrough for me. Could you attempt a eulogy for the people you saw? Or eulogize that part of your life, the person you were before it happened?


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