|Posted by ijsarfeh on December 24, 2012 at 1:35 PM||edit comments (0)|
The tragedy of Newtown is sure to leave many unfortunate souls not only grieving, but suffering from PTSD. Since I know quite a bit about this debilitating disorder, I decided to write a series of vignettes about it, if only to help those who seek help.
Here is my personal encounter with PTSD:
I was six years old, wandering the streets in our Tehran neighborhood,when I saw a crowd of people silently standing in a circle, not moving. Curious, I wiggled my way to the front. A horrific scene loomed before me. A heap of crumpled metal, once a motorcycle, lay beside a man. He was sprawled in the middle of the road, blood and brain matter oozing from his head.
I felt sick.
That night, I couldn’t sleep. Images of the dead man kept popping into my head, and I was frightened, worried my parents would meet the same fate. Oh dear God, how I wished my eyes had never seen such horror.
For two years I had recurring nightmares in which my father was the man with the broken skull sprawled on the road under a halo of blood. I didn’t tell anyone about my fears, afraid I’d be mocked for being a sissy. After all, boys were strong, in charge of their emotions, unable to fear; unable to feel pity.
On my eighth birthday, a family friend came over and invited me out for ice cream. She steered me toward the closest shop on the same street where I had witnessed the tragedy. As soon as we walked onto the street, I started crying uncontrollably. The friend, Mrs. Farrah, put an arm around my shoulders. “What is the matter, child? Why do you look so frightened?”
She knelt down before me. “Talk to me, Iraj. Please!”
I pointed down the street. “I—I don’t want to go there.”
“I—I don’t know.”
She stood up, grasped my hand, but I pulled away and ran home, sobbing all the way.
The images of the tragedy are still etched in my brain.
And I still have a morbid fear of motorcycles.
They call it Post Traumatic Stress Disorder: PTSD.