Most of us remember this shocking historic event in 2001 when two airplanes crashed into the Twin Towers in New York.  But that wasn’t all was it?  The crashes destabilized the Towers and turned them into rubble, trapping several and injuring others!  Then another plane crashed into the pentagon and yet another was diverted and crashed in Pennsylvania, thanks to some brave heroes who sacrificed their lives for the greater good.  It was unbelievable and jaw dropping.  This kind of catastrophe doesn’t happen in the US, right?  Well, it did.  The nation was on pause as the news was confirmed and spread like wild fire.  Then reality hit and panic set in…do I know someone in New York, Washington, DC or on the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania?  Are they ok?  Phone lines were jammed and all we could do was sit, wait and watch in horror as the day unfolded.

If we took a moment we could recall where we were, who we were with and what we were doing.  It’s that vivid.  On this 10th anniversary you can’t help but think back to that time and wonder if there might be another attack.  There’s no way to know.  All you can do is be cautious and aware.  Anxiety and helplessness are only two of the many sentiments that could surface as Sunday approaches.  Folks can get flooded and react in a variety of ways…tearful, anger/irritable, moody, difficulty concentrating, avoid people, places or things; feel ‘blah,’ and yet others might have body aches, nightmares, have problems sleeping, and do risky things.  Some may even get to a point where they’re no longer thinking of the future and become suicidal or homicidal; both of which are serious dispositions that warrant intervention.

This leads me to discuss a common disorder that can also present itself during times likethis.  It’s called Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and is generally triggered by a traumatic event.  Here are some of the symptoms (to include some of the aforementioned):

flashbacks/repeated memories of the event

feeling detached/showing less emotion

exaggerated response to things that startle you

feeling more aware

memory problems related to important parts of the event


and headache, to name a few

It’s important to mention that these symptoms can be mild to severe.  The key is how long it lasts and if there’s interference in ‘normal’ functioning then there’s an indication of a need for help.

Finally, aside from experiencing symptoms, there’s the subject of management.  Some cope well while others might resort to alcohol abuse, drug use and other self-destructive behaviors.   All of these reactions happen because you’re human so it’s important to monitor yourself and each other.  You don’t have to relive this alone.  Reach out.  Call or spend time with family, friends, neighbors…  Attend church or whatever environment that feeds you spiritually.  Call your local community mental health center, especially if these responses persist.

9/11 happened but it doesn’t have to stop you from living the life you want.

LlouanaHarper, LPC, NCC