In March 2019, Sydney Aiello, a parkland shooting survivor committed suicide from survivors guilt. She said she didn’t feel safe anywhere, remembering the event that scarred her and left her feeling guilty. With the growing amounts of violent acts in the U.S. more people have started experiencing PTSD. For some, recovering from these events is simple and doesn’t impact their everyday lives. However, many people are unable to recover from these violent experiences and it can stop them from having their desired futures.
In the book The Things They Carried, the author Tim O’Brien discusses things he and his fellow soldiers witnessed in Vietnam; He talked about some people weren’t able to recover from the experiences they witness. One man in particular was named in the book as Norman Bowker; on page 154, O’Brien discusses that Bowker committed suicide leaving no note or reasoning behind. Tim believes he did this because he was unable to save Kiowa, a fellow soldier from an attack. Throughout the chapter, Bowker brought up how “I let the guy go” (147) with the guilt deteriorating him. Bowker committed suicide because he was unable to recover from this experience. When he did talk about it seemed to allow him to breathe, as a way of recovery. however he was a quiet person who didn’t want to bother others, and so he held everything within himself bottling it all up until he snapped.
P.K. Phillips was a man who suffered from PTSD throughout his entire life facing multiple traumatic experiences. At age 17 he suffered from his first panic attack, and Phillips wasn’t diagnosed with PTSD until he was 35. Phillips said “I cannot express to you the enormous relief I felt when I discovered my condition was real and treatable. I felt safe for the first time in 32 years.” Although Phillips feels better he says there is no cure or final healing, but he's no longer at the mercy of his PTSD. Phillips started taking medication as well as behavioral therapy to cope with his PTSD; which is something that is available to most people. However, Phillips repeatedly stated for him there is no true or real cure.
According to PTSD United, 70% of adults in the U.S. have experienced at least one traumatic event in their life. Within that 70% of people 20% go on to develop PTSD, equivalent to about 24.4 million Americans. Those who are victims of PTSD can’t be truly cured in some cases, although they can receive treatment that can make things easier on them. These numbers will most likely continue to grow with the rising amount of violent events within the U.S. and most likely worldwide.
As with many things in the world, PTSD is growing and affecting more people, like all those who’ve experienced or went to war, and those affected by the violent events that happen everyday. People who suffer from PTSD can get help, with medication or types of therapy. However, in some cases people are unable to recover. This trauma can lead them to drastic events including suicide. While it’s important to look at what types of treatment or effective for handling PTSD, it’s also important to look at what is causing the psychological trauma in the first place.
Bloom, Harold. Tim O'Brien's The Things They Carried. Chelsea House, 2011.
“My Story of Survival: Battling PTSD.” Anxiety and Depression Association of America, ADAA, adaa.org/living-with-anxiety/personal-stories/my-story-survival-battling-ptsd.
“PTSD Statistics.” PTSD United, www.ptsdunited.org/ptsd-statistics-2/.
“Sydney Aiello, a Parkland School Shooting Survivor, Kills Herself.” NBCNews.com, NBCUniversal News Group, www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/survivor-parkland-school-shooting-sydney-aiello-kills-herself-n986266.
“What Can I Do to Recover from PTSD on My Own?” Screening 2 Supports, screening.mentalhealthamerica.net/content/what-can-i-do-recover-ptsd-my-own.