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Posted: 9/6/2002 7:57:50 PM EDT
As some of you know, I work at the NYS Attorney Gen's office, which is a block from ground zero and looks right down into the pit from our conference room and some of the chiefs' offices. Well, as more of you know, I was at ground zero on 9/11 and took many pics of the events and happenings around the city as well. Almost like a photo documentary of what it was like to walk from 60th st all the way to ground zero. Changes on my perception of reality occured all along the way, but that's another story. Anyway, we've had a conference room dedicated to 9/11 grieving, in which we were encouraged to bring mementos and pics and such for people to see how everyone else is coping. It was actually a very nice idea and I really got a lot from being with people that could practically see the faces of the passengers of the jet as they hit. Well, I brought my photo album in, so people knew I was down there on 9/11 seeing everything from plane parts to disemboweled, beheaded, torched twisted corpses. (Yes, I say that because people do not know the horrors of that day as many of the EMS, FDNY, NYPD, PAPD and other responders do. Today I was told not to come into the office on 9/11, that I'd be paid for the day and they'd prefer me not to be there!?!?!?! They then told me to go up to the Bronx Sup Ct and work the Rikers calendar. However, it isn't my rotation and I'm not up on the cases AT ALL. I mentioned this and we parted ways. A couple hours later, I was called into my Bureau Chiefs' office and was told that I shouldn't go to the Riker's calendar either, that I should stay home and work on a project that he's giving me. Granted, its basically a free day off for me, but I was wondering what your takes on this are. Do they think I'll flip? Do they just want to rest my nerves? (I am edgier and jumped when a truck near me made a loud noise from inside, something that usually doesn't phase me.) Or is there something else at play? Many people from the office aren't coming in either, mainly due to traffic, tourists and other hassles of the day, which also include dread, stress, fear... Anyway, I thought you'd be interested and maybe you can shed some light with your own insight. I think I'll end up down there anyway. I had planned on retracing my route to try to remember.
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:03:18 PM EDT
Very interesting. I would just take the day off and not worry about it. I was going to take the day off but we are too short handed.
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:12:42 PM EDT
... Peculiar, keep an eye on this. It could be for profit. Copyright your pictures.
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:21:34 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Winston_Wolf: ... Peculiar, keep an eye on this. It could be for profit. Copyright your pictures.
View Quote
LOL, no profit here. The album goes where I go, I NEVER give it out without me standing there. A pic was missing once and I flipped before someone noticed it on the ground. Right now its sitting next to me wondering if it'll have a brother album after this week is over. I am worried, more worried that this time IF something happens, I won't be so lucky to walk out with minor injuries, unlike EPDMedic. I feel really bad for Marc and hope his situation turns for the better. Atleast my injuries are only from thin skin.
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:26:20 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:29:42 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 8:35:25 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 9:28:19 PM EDT
Balzac72, even though we've had our differences, I want you to know that I will be with you on 9/11 in heart and spirit. I pray that you can someday find beauty in the world and some kind of livable peace in your heart through it all. I don't think that reliving the day by retracing your tragic journey is the best idea - my opinion of course. Do what you have to do. But if you take that walk, you will only relive the pain and further isolate your feelings and 'perceptions of reality'. Take a drive out into the country and find some woods to walk through. Remember the simple things and be alone with God for a while.
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 9:57:39 PM EDT
Link Posted: 9/6/2002 10:16:35 PM EDT
Balzac: The infamy of 9/11/01 will live on in the hearts and minds of all America. If I had the day off, with pay, I would use it for something positive for me. I would try to think of the most pleasurable thing I could do, and then move on it. That got me through Korea and Vietnam. I still do that when unpleasant memories start creeping in. Bill
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 4:40:02 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2002 4:43:56 AM EDT by Balzac72]
Thanks for the very encouraging words guys. I talked to Beekeeper about this a week or so ago and as I wrote to him, many of my original feelings started creeping back in. I really don't know what to do on that day. I don't want to be like I was after that day. It took me months to get back to "Greg" and I'm still pretty damn far from the guy I used to be. I REALLY appreciate your suggestions, but I can't figure out what is best for me. For two months after, I couldn't sleep. I'd stay up until 4am watching for the latest updates on tv, then lie in bed thinking about what I watched. My health, as well as the fellow photographers I was with went down the tubes for about two weeks, but they got it far worse than me. THey were actually hospitalized and dropped roughly 40 pounds each. Stress? Something really wrong? Who knows! I lost maybe 15, which on me isn't a lot, so I thought I was ok. Now, I start looking through my pics again and I'm starting to see what I saw that day. Rather than just gazing at pics, I feel as though I'm reliving certain footsteps the closer I get and those footsteps are the worse ones I've ever taken. I also have my parents, brother and girlfriend screaming at me to go to our house on long island, rather than stay in the city like I planned on 9/11. They know that if something happened this week that I would be there again. They think I have some sort of Superman complex and I think I'm invincible. Far from the truth, but they're atleast correct when they think I'll go there. I couldn't stay at home or at my apt. One of the things that jammed Marc up is that he had to go back and help his buddies. That feeling hit everyone that was there. You couldn't sit by and do nothing or go home and not think about it, you HAD to be there and had to help. After leaving, I felt lost. Almost like the day I was at ground zero redefined my life and goals. Anyway, that "truck noise" incident I mentioned really bugged me out the other day. It was the same sort of "shell shock" that I had right after 9/11. Flickering lights, loud noises and yelling all set me off in somewhat of a panic. I'm only writing this because I don't feel like I can talk to people close to me. Especially about other things, like no sorrow for family members or pets that have died in the past year and the callousness of death that has come over me. The only thing I can liken it to is the main character from American Psycho. I just don't feel. How do I get that back?
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 5:39:03 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 5:40:44 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 6:07:04 AM EDT
It sounds more than a little bit like PTSD- with the emotional numbing or feelings of unreality, being on edge/easily startled, and you can't shake the thoughts of what happened... it should concern you that your family and co-workers are worried about you in the way you described, it must be pretty obvious to other people that you're having these problems. You might consider counseling with someone who has experience in working with trauma survivors. Sometimes it helps to begin the process of "debriefing" and get you back on track. Do what others have suggested, find a way to grieve that is personal but doesn't perpetuate the traumatic aspects of your experience. You have to reconnect with people at some point. There is no timetable for when it is supposed to happen, but the longer you wait to deal with it, the more you and those around you continue to suffer. We learned that from Vietnam. Good luck and stay strong!
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 6:25:39 AM EDT
Balzac, I agree with DScott, this sounds like Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Have you considered consulting a physician? I have no idea what they can do for it, but it's worth a shot. Sorry to hear about your struggles. I can't begin to imagine what it must have been like that day.
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 6:35:52 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2002 6:38:27 AM EDT by liberty86]
Balzac, based on your posts, it does not "sound" like PTSD. YOU HAVE PTSD. There is counseling available. Perhaps others at work have noticed it, that's why they want you to take the day off. Get help. In my case, there is no "cure", but I am able to live life. Good luck...Any questions, contact me we'll chat on the phone. Check my profile....
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 6:45:30 AM EDT
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 7:53:44 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/7/2002 8:02:13 AM EDT by QCMGR]
I used to perform volunteer search and rescue. I have been to a major airliner crash in addition to minor plane crashes (all fatal) and more car wrecks than I would care to count. Being trained for this puts you in a different frame of mind but it still takes time to heal. Don't beat yourself up for how you feel. It will pass over time. It is hard to get those images out of your head. I will not try to explain how you should cope;I think it wrong to keep you from work on 9/11. You were there and you should be there on the anniversary of this tragedy with your peers. Tell your bosses thanks but you would prefer to be at the sight. If they say no spend the day out of the office but in town.
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 8:02:52 AM EDT
Take the day off! Get out of the city for the day. Don't watch the news coverage/media hype. You were there and have seen and heard enough. Relax and do something fun.
Link Posted: 9/7/2002 3:50:25 PM EDT
While counseling may sound a little too touchy-feely for us guys, it’s not a bad idea. Some police departments now require LEO’s involved in fatal shootings to go to counseling, since guys often wouldn’t otherwise since they saw this as admitting weakness. I think part of the benefit of counseling is simply learning that what you’re feeling is, while strange to you, common to others who have gone through similar situations. Sleeplessness, flashbacks, intrusive thoughts, the endless tape recorder in your mind that keeps repeating the events, etc., are all well-known phenomena. As are all the “what-ifs” (what-if it had rained and the terrorists couldn’t find the towers, what-if you hadn’t gone to work that day, what-if the FBI had done a better job, what-if, what-if, what-if, …) Admittedly, since you’re in the company of many others experiencing the same problems, you may already know how common these problems are. Anyway, your bosses keeping you away from the office on 9/11 is the wrong thing to do. Still, they’re probably trying to do right (and very possibly are wrestling with their own demons). I don’t know what else to say except to wish you well. I’m not exactly looking forward to 9/11/02, myself – I very selfishly almost wish they wouldn’t have any of these planned memorials.
Link Posted: 9/8/2002 7:21:34 AM EDT
After looking at the responses and emails I received last night, I have to say, I'm a little choked up. For what its worth, I haven't sought counseling or even to talk to many people about the images I saw. Mainly because I brought it upon myself and I feel bad about any attention I'd get over this. The only attention I usually appreciate is people looking at my pictures. Its comforting to know that the price I'm paying is because I captured history and people can become more aware that this was more than just some tv event. That is what is really sending me over the edge recently...seeing and hearing people say that the US deserved or EARNED these attacks. Or better yet, that french fuck who wrote a book about the 9/11 conspiracy by our government. That no planes hit the WTC's but that they were missiles. Sick bastard. I see other people on this board like Marc, who was injured in the fall of #7 that I watched! After hearing that, I went back to that place in my head where most of my problems come from...I visualize. I pictured him having a building fall and injure him and possibly kill his buddies. THEN I got to thinking about the dead of the immediate attacks and them watching a plane come in and kill them. The second that it might have taken to kill them might have been filled with terror and unbelievable pain. The people jumping off the towers, what was going through their minds. I'll just sit and think until I run out of images. I think a lot of people might think about this though, but its combined with the body parts and corpses that I saw that make their deaths all the more horrible. They had to have known what was happening for long enough to feel the pain and burning. I also want to thank those of you that I've recently gone head to head with over stupid shit. Its nice to know that stupid differences don't get in the way of more important stuff. Well, before I start thinking too much again, i'm going to get outside and relax with a bagel. I think I'll be emailing you guys to get together this weds, but expect me with my camera! Thanks again, Greg
Link Posted: 9/8/2002 7:35:44 AM EDT
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