Tuesday, March 20, 2012

March 8... Two Weeks Post Fire

March 8, 2012 is 2 weeks post fire.  I'm going to borrow a post from Ryker'z Boyz because it had some really good information:

The Shawnee Fire: Two Weeks and Counting

Even though the Shawnee fire “two week mark” technically was last night, daybreak that following morning saw firefighters still fighting the fire. (Did you know they kept pouring water on that building for three days before they were convinced it was safe to withdraw?)

Thanks in part to the “fast food” mentality of a society addicted to 24/7 news and the Next Breaking Thing, most have forgotten this tragedy and moved on with life.
But when a crisis of this magnitude strikes you, two weeks is barely enough time to begin the healing process.

Three separate incidents that both Kathi and Amy told me about recently caused me to seek out a friend and ask her for an article on trauma. Here’s what happened:

Friday after the fire, Amy and Lee stepped away from the apartment complex for a quick bite to eat when a fire truck raced past their location. The minute she heard the sirens, Amy’s heart started to pound and she started to shake. Trauma.

This past Sunday night, around 11 PM, a fire truck comes racing into the apartment complex, lights flashing and siren screaming. It stops at the building Amy now lives in. It was responding to a medical emergency, not a fire. Still.
In Kathi's words, "my heart's about to jump out of my chest." All thoughts of sleep - banished. Trauma.

Amy & Kathi:
2 AM, Wednesday morning. Fire trucks yet again race into the complex. This time they stop at Kathi's new apartment building. And this time, it is a fire. Kathi grabs CJ and races to Amy's. Kathi tells reporters, "the memory of seeing the building go up in flames - it's still too raw." Neither one can sleep that night, nerves on edge. Trauma.
Who wouldn’t respond that way, given the circumstances?
The friend I reached out to is Marla Swoboda, then VP of Development for Wayside Waifs. Marla recently invited her sister Jana, a Licensed Clinical Social Worker, to fly in to KC to speak with us about Compassion Fatigue. During her very informative talk, she briefly touched on how trauma can impact our lives.

I asked Marla if Jana had any articles on the topic and Jana graciously forwarded this link to two great articles on her blog: one on anxiety, one on PTSD. I'm not suggesting Amy or Kathi have PTSD -- but the general concepts could apply to this situation.

Here’s a brief excerpt from the first article:
"The brain is great at learning what scares it. Danger memories can get hard-wired to provide a quick spill of chemicals that ideally would serve us well-- to get us the hell out of dodge, or help us fight off our attacker.

Brain is not particularly selective in what gets filed, which can result in some strange associations we may not even know exist. For example, if you're in a car wreck, Brain may file away not only screeching tires and breaking glass. You might find yourself also getting panicky feelings (the emotional interpretation of all those chemicals coming to fore) when you pass white Hondas, or that particular intersection. That one's easy to connect, but while you might not have noticed what was on the radio, Brain could have, and you may not understand why your heart races every time that Lady Gaga song plays."
The articles are excellently written and informative. Perhaps they will provide insight, or just a bit of sensitivity, towards two friends who are continuing to work through an especially difficult situation.
If you’re interested, I’d encourage you to click over and read the articles. Who knows? You may have reason to put this information to good use some day in the future.

Can Sebastian and CJ suffer from PTSD? We’ll take a look at that on Sunday!
To read the full blog from March 9, 2012 click here:  Ryker'z Boyz.  Thanks Ryker'z Boyz for letting me steal... er borrow!  (Guess I should have asked huh?)

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