Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Boston Marathon bombings, PTSD, Mental Healthcare and the side effects

I am very saddened and upset over the recent bombings at the Boston Marathon 2013. I pray for all those affected by this heinous cowardly act. There are so many that have lost limbs and have suffered great injuries and I pray for their recovery. I also know there were 3 that lost their lives that day and a brave police officer that became the 4th victim. All of them were such a joy to everyone around them and they will be sorely missed by all that knew them.   They each had such a promising future and the world has lost their gifts and contributions they would have made in their future to our society. However it seems all left a lasting impact on this world in their lives cut too short.   Those talented and amazing people we lost in this attack were Krystle Campbell, 29, a female restaurant manager, Lü Lingzi 23, a female Boston University graduate student who was a Chinese national, and the youngest victim Martin Richard, an eight-year-old boy who held a sign that said "No more hurting people, Peace. The brave police officer who gave his life to protect and to serve during the aftermath was MIT police officer Sean Collier.

While I myself have never experienced PTSD, it is classified as a mental illness  One of my largest drives and passion in life is to try to help others understand mental illness better and this is no different.  PTSD stands for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and it is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma.  It is so important that those that are going through this get the help they need. I cannot imagine the horror that day must be bring for so many. I know just seeing it on the news channels had a depressive effect on me, but I get to turn the channel. Those affected by that day cannot shut it off so easily. I can only go back to the time that I lived in Atlanta and experienced the horror around that cowardly act at the 1996 Summer Olympics to somehow relate. The victims of this attack go beyond the ones that received medical care that day. There were over 200 that went to a hospital that day but that does not count those that were present that day that will have lasting trauma. I started talking about the treatment of PTSD because I am sure many will be have this in the aftermath. However there will also be many that will experience grief, depression, anxiety, and panic attacks to name just a few. The National Alliance on Mental Illness is always a great source to find out more information and find support at NAMI

It is so important that those that need therapy do in fact receive it regardless of their financial situation. I know some have a lot of medical care ahead of them with their physical injuries but I hope they also seek help and receive therapy for any mental trauma they experienced. One of the many things that I have witnessed during the aftermath of this horrific act were Veterans visiting those wounded in the bombing. The wonderful acts of the Veterans going to visit those injured in the hospital will surely help them as they tell their own stories. They shared their experiences and told so many that their lives would be different but left them with a hopeful future. This is example of therapy that does not cost a dime and it is very beneficial to have a support group during this time. I know it helps to talk to others that went through similar experiences that know how they feel. There are so many ways to reach out to others and help them in some ways that not many can. So many will be facing so much recovery in the upcoming months and life changes and the sense of community sharing in the recovery is key I think to begin the healing. This rings true with probably just about any other illness and this is no different.

Boston is such a wonderful city and I often traveled there for business trips at a previous job. I always enjoyed the warm welcome from this amazing city. The people I met and spent time with in the Boston area made me feel at home and they made a large city feel like a friendly small town. The day of the attack I watched such selfless acts and everyone helping each other. As many have said time and time again during these times that the worst is seen out of people, it also shows the very best in people that outways any cowardly act.  I was so amazed to see how many people did not even hesitate to run toward the bombing sites and help as many as possible.   This gives me some renewed hope in our current society that can sometimes seem cold and divided.  

There has been a fund set up to help the victims of the bombings with medical care that can be found at The One Fund Please check it out and help if possible. However, there are many ways to help out that involves no money as I highlighted above. An example of this is when I saw that a man volunteered to cut the grass of one of the survivors that lost both legs. There is so much support of those that had lives changed that day but the hope is that we do not forget them when the cameras roll away. I have referred to many as victims that day but they have proved me wrong because they are true survivors.
 God bless the city of Boston and keep staying strong