Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Thoughts About PTSD And The Boston Marathon ~ Remembering All Affected

Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown.
Boston Marathon Finish Line.1910. Author: Unknown. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Where were you on Monday, April 15, 2013?


We are now two days out from the horrific events that occurred at the Boston Marathon. We thought we would take a few minutes to reflect about Boston's citizens, the first responders to the Marathon bombings, those who perished, those who were injured and our community as a nation. There is no doubt that April 15, 2013, will be a day that we will remember in our collective consciousness.

There was a time when news of national events took hours to reach us. We had to wait to hear about a story on our radios, the evening newspaper edition, television news, a phone call from a friend or a simple face to face conversation with an acquaintance or loved one. But in today's world of instant messaging, social media and 24 hour news channels, it takes but minutes to learn about an ongoing and unfolding event. How did you hear about the Boston Marathon bombing? Did you see a tweet, receive a text message, happen into a place of business and catch a news report?

Being oblivious to upcoming events...until


When a longstanding yearly event is on the calendar we often pay very little attention to it unless we have an interest in the event itself. For example, if you are a marathon runner then it is very likely that you look forward to annual marathons held throughout the country (i.e., the Boston Marathon, the New York Marathon), or if you live in the city where the event is going to take place you might say to yourself  "this year I am going to go to see the Marathon or the Rose Parade or the Super Bowl or opening day for the baseball season." Maybe you have lived in the event city your entire life or maybe you are temporarily attending college in this city or perhaps you just happen to be in the city on business. Whatever the reason, you find yourself  "interested and involved."  It may be a once in a lifetime opportunity or experience.

Then there are those of us who are thousands of miles away from the event, not thinking of friends and relatives who might just be at the event...we are oblivious, until, that is, we receive a startling text message from a friend about their relative. Now we, too, become personally involved in this horrific event.

A friend of ours received the following text message on April 15, 2013, at 3:04PM:
"Hope you are all doing well. An update on my sister: she was between the two bombs on the opposite side of the street at the finish line watching the marathon and managed to get away and is home safely now, just scared. She saw the trash can blow up and lots of people were hurt. Hope everyone you guys know is okay as well."
For the record, the young woman referenced in this text is a student at Boston University. She is not from Boston, but had decided on this state holiday, Patriots' Day, she would attend the world's oldest annual marathon which dates back to 1897. This young student will always remember where she was on the afternoon of April 15, 2013.

PTSD and the Boston Marathon


We have written often about post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), particularly regarding how people might suffer from PTSD after being involved in or witnessing an event like the Sandy Hook School massacre, the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting and even a natural disaster like Hurricane Sandy.

Now as the investigation into who planned and executed the Boston Marathon bombing moves forward, those who were there or who witnessed the event via media, who were first responders to help the injured, the medical professionals who cared for and continue to care for the injured, the families and friends who lost loved ones and the critically injured and their family members and friends may find themselves experiencing PTSD.

New England Cable News interviews Dr. Joseph Shrand


Today New England Cable News (NECN) interviewed Dr. Joseph Shrand of Harvard Medical School regarding how people will be affected by PTSD.



If you are having trouble viewing the video, you can see it here.

Going forward...

Today we offer our prayers for all those impacted by this senseless tragedy. And, once again, we offer a special prayer said daily by those in recovery.

  God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change; 
courage to change the things I can; 
and wisdom to know the difference.
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