Brian Clark and 9/11. On a positive note.

When I first started this blog, I wanted to put black on white my personal experience refered to PTSD after Paris attacks. First, because I felt a need to leave a legacy, and second, I wanted to share my journey to Self discovery and possibly, to different ways to get better and, yes, change your life.

During two years I have been writing every day, a memoir, in case I turned into madness, or long term memory loss, or something very bad could happen to me. Well, I have felt in danger, as if I was going to die, for any reason, until today. The question of “what the hell am I doing here” is still quite present.  A need for serving others, too.

It took me several years until I could face 9/11 again. Especially, after Paris attacks, and the call I personally did to my mum after 13th november that was on the same tone.

Michael Moore did his job, I am not here to judge or speculate hypothesis of any kind.

Yesterday, after watching “Origins” with Michael Pitt, I went through life stories of children who witness their previous lives memories from 3 to 9, or shall I say, death memories. One of these children spoke about remembering the way he died, falling down one of the Towers. And I’ll spare you details. Believe it or not. 

Tonight I went on the You Tube and, if you want to share with me, this is one of the most incredible stories I ever heard. It’s not a movie, it’s a true story. And of course, I will omit desperate cases, or anything might not be respectful of all the victims.

Subtitles are in italian, but no worry, he speaks in american english. The message he is giving at the end of the speech is not granted. Sometimes it takes a whole life to catch it.

Great story. 

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What’s PTSD?

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If you agree, we – as human beings – were born to be a wholebalanced, and strongindividuals. Greek philosophers, and physicians, say that the natural state of things is calm and, sophrology – the science that studies the Consciousness – promotes body, mind and spirit harmony (SOS = free from diseases, balances. PHREN = diaphragm, emotional heart and by extension, spirit, conscience. LOGOS = Science, study, speech).

So, naturally, PTSD occur as a consequence of a lack of it. The fact is that you don’t realize at which cost, until your life becomes a mess, when you finally admit that something has broken, and you need help to fix it. It can be a physical wound, or invisible, when it concerns heart and soul, or if you are blessed enough, as brits would say, both.

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Before 2015, I used to practice Yoga, once a week, basically to keep healthy, in a good shape and mood, it was relaxing, and I could fully stretch my body, especially my neck, happily turning 40.

After the 2015 events (january and november), I got completely unbalanced, both emotionally, and physically, put on weight, panic attacks, anger outbursts, no way to do my job anymore, like dealing with typical visitors problem solving (e.g. lost baggages, fully booked restaurants,..), or simply baring mood swings of my bipolar colleague. As soon as someone started crying or yelling for any reason, my self defense felt in danger (“that freeze, fly or fight thing”).

In february 2016,  I was diagnosed obviously inadequate to my position, until today.

For the short storytime, I knew panic and fear on a terrorist attack at workplace and PTSD soon started with insomnia, poor emotional intelligence like Hulk’s syndrome,  inability to put words on my own feelings, anxiety and fear of going crazy, exhaustion and chronique fatigue disease, after sleep burn out, tremors (mouth, legs, hands), tachycardia, and memory loss, just to mention a few. Others symptoms you can’t just describe, like a sort of electrochemical pinching in your veins, especially in legs, or warmth flames in the back, which give you the right sense of burning inside.

“A short circuit of your soul.” 

It goes without saying, my health was severely damaged, as you know stress is quite dangerous for neurons, once they are gone, they don’t regenerate, so you start aging earlier, that’s also why, today, it’s not so rare to see stress effects in people who suffer Alzheimer’s syndrom much younger than 60, or stroke and heartattack victims.

By the way, I lost three colleagues between 27 and 43, in 5 months, does it count for stress disorders statistiques? Of course, it doesn’t, except if you can prove it. And you can’t. Occupational joke between Medicine and Managament states that it’s confidential.

During my journey, back from burn out, I have been told several times that this is the illness of the strong. And this is one of the main reasons why I feel a proud trauma survivor, today. Of course, you have to consider a deep cleaning of your personal life, as well as a full transformation of your jobcareer and lifestyle. 

You can’t figure out coping with PTSD and holding on the same life schedule than before trauma. It involves stop overthinking, letting go, and modulating negative emotional responses compared with the healthy controls.

“You need some yoga in your life.”  

Yoga practice really made a difference for me. It brought “justice” to my body and mind, especially since I am doing it regularly, almost everyday.

Check out Ted Nevins’s story “a soldier’s surprising journey to becoming a yogi” on the following: Warrior Spirit Retreat

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Thanks to a welsh penpal, and army brit, nicknamed Salad Dodger, my attention was caught by an association for Combat Stress, and reading an article I was quite shocked, because some of my burn out symptoms were perfectly matching with war vets PTSDafter battlefield.

This study led me to another article written from the american journalist, Sebastian Junger, published by Vanity Fair, who experienced PTSD on his way back from Afghanistan, where he spent 15 months on a mission with a Battle Company.

“Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets, I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”

To resume up, PTSD symptoms can be:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide
  • Alcohol misuse and dependence
  • Sexual problems and confusion about sexuality

Other effects:

  • Eating disorders
  • Self-injury and self-harming behaviour
  • Transient psychotic episodes
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain
  • Increased rates of physical conditions like heart disease and cancer
  • Homelessness Re-victimisation Prostitution
  • Criminal behaviour (including, for a small minority, sexual offences)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Sleep problems
  • Parenting problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Trust issues

 

 

via What’s PTSD?

Still I Rise.

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You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

maya-angelou

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Maya-Angelou-quotes-Amazing

Charlie, who?

IamNotCharlieFirst Paris attack came in january 2015. The whole week, unhappily, I’ve been watching videos on the web. Every day we got striking news about actions of terrorists around the parisian area. They said that they were stealing cars and hiding in the woods, so I was in alert. Police forces were hunting them, streets to airports were blocked, everybody was on his nerves. Since our company is american, it was on the target of terrorism, after 2001, and still is, so we felt like something could strike soon or later.

And as low of attraction demonstrates, when you FEEL something, it happens … this point is worth to be stressed enough, concentrate on positive, means sending good vibes into the universe ….and cosmo will send you back ! Viceversa, live in fears, and your vibes won’t have the same effect. You see what I mean? This time I was quite nervous because these two men were around, and there had been already a shooting in Paris, a police woman was killed the day before, following a car accident where one of the terrorists (the one from casher supermarket) was involved. He was wearing bulletproof vest and had a kalashnikov rifle. Another policeman was shot in Paris, a few days before, he was lying down the ground begging the killer to spare his life. He had no pity. And shot his head blood cold to finish with him. On You Tube you could find this video supporting the theory that, the fact I just told you, was a fake. It was meant to put people in chaos. And nobody knew exactly what was really trustworthy. Except people who knew that man, like a guy I was dating on line, yes, his father was a jobmate of that poor guy.

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That week “Je suis Charlie” went on a massive world movement, and suddenly turned all pictures on Facebook, into french colors. Mine, too. But I was angry, angry with Italians who hadn’t any idea of what was going on here, and with my peers, nobody showed up to say « hello ». Only a few posting on Facebook to show off at which point « everybody was french ». But no calls on my phone.

Until saturday morning, 10th of january. The day I had a date with Death for a chess game. Things hurried up at about 10h30 am, when the hall was full of kids with their families. First, I saw a security man walking speed in front of the reception, and directed to the floors. Second, two others, right after. Our screens on pc were on news all the time. The two killers, at the printing house, were shot the evening before, in Dammarie-les-Lys. Two persons held hostage were still alive. The man in the casher supermarket, who killed other persons, caught and dead, too, by the GIGN commando. What else could happen ?

Suddenly, someone shouted at the bottom of the hall, « SORTEZ ! ». « Go out ! » Damn, I swear, in first seconds I had no time to realize what was going to happen, I was just scared to death, and only knew that I had to go out from there. No matter what. My Brazzaville’s jobmate said something, and I replied « « Dear, pray, that we can tell this story, some day». We were all expecting something terrible to happen. Our energy vibration was tuned on those videos on You Tube, so in a certain way, we were waiting on a bomb strike or kalashnikov rifles fire.

Two seconds, and your life suddenly stops. Someone pushed « stand by » button. One, you hear « sortez », two, what the f*** …and in between, it stands your life until today. « What did you do until now ? » « How did you spend your life ? » »Did you explore your potential ? » »Did you do what really counted for you ? » »Did you try harder ? »

Questioning your life in two seconds, and third, last question, …where’s EXIT ?

Before I had time for longer self reflection, I hold the first little girl’s hand, and slowly, hurry up to the door and to the parking area. The man who was entering was a policeman, and I won’t ever forget that eyes look. Thank you french cops. Never enough. As soon as I stepped out of the building, my full body nerves coulndn’t stop shimmering, and seeked for other colleagues. Crowd was in panic, one close jobmate was crying, evenutally calling her sons, while I realized my phone was left inside, and I couldn’t reach my mother…. That was better, I supposed, cos what would I tell her ? « I love you Mum » like in 9/11 ? That was the feeling.

As team, we were used to test evacuations on a regular basis, more for fire prevention. But this one was supposed to be not a fake, and it was the worst and worse organised I ever experienced. Not only we weren’t informed on what was happening, but we were held in the parking area, at zero degrees, me in short sleeves, without the possibility to leave. The gate were kept closed. I mean, … Thousands of people in a parking as hostage ? Yes, police call it « freezing ». They keep control on the situation by avoiding people to go away, just in case, there is anybody involved in terrorism. Someone was jumping the gate, but eventually also the closer train station was blocked. So, I spent one hour and a half with this couple of spanish army, with their two little girls, and I admit, we were quite sure that something important was going on. A german jobmate, tried to calm down guests, and dancing salsa in the handicap parking space. No much results. So, it came naturally to me to leave my team apart, and stay with the little girls. The younger showed me pictures of her cartoons heros. We tchit tchat for a while until we were told to move. We did. And after this endless snake line we could go back to our work. Danger was over. Was it ?

So, we all were asked to go back to our job locations. That is very bad for provoking anxious state, and strange enough, we didn’t get any psychological support. First, after I entered the building, I went to toilet, of course, and stood a little, thinking to what I just experienced. Was it real ?

Nop, it was a fake. 

Yes, a fake alert. What the f*** ! That meant that I won my match against Death, yes, I was given some more time, and from now on…. from now on, what? 

In respect of the victims, and highly sensitive people, just like me, I won’t put any videos on Paris Attacks. Anyway, I might suggest you this one: “Three days of terror” on You Tube.

Canary and miners.

Bonjour !

Here I am. The first time I’ve heard about PTSD I would never consider – me – being involved, once in a lifetime. Never say never. Usually, PTSD are referred to vets from battlefields. This is not the case. Although, living in parisian region since last years, it’s sometimes recalling Tel Aviv or Libanon tv images. Anyway, I won’t tell you that this is apocalypse, cos to be honest, I am not so fond of biblic books. But I watch tv news once a while. And still live in real world:) Catastrophic events are more and more likely to happen to common people, like your neighbour, or ME, and YOU. And because we are unique, as individuals, we can have unique reactions to the same event, eg. earthquakes, hurricanes, terrorism attacks, fake alerts, war battlefields, but also everyday stress and anger management issues. Times they are a changing. Society evolves fast and speed, as well as enterprises are transforming their structure calling this process of internal reorganisation, « rational ». Their politic is mathematical and algebrical, so no more room for emotional issues, or troublemakers, ….

Do you knoe the story about canary used for testing carbon monoxide gas in last century ? According to a few sources, canaries are good early detectors of airborne poisons, they simply need more hoxygen, to fly high, than mices. The idea of using this sentinel species is accredited to physiologist John Scott Haldane, the inventor of hoxygen mask against World War I gases employed by Germans. He investigated mine disasters, especially, the toxic gases which killed most miners after firedamp and coal dust explosions. Finally, in 1986, electronic gas detectors replaced those lovely vocalist birds. This use of canary for testing environemental health reminds me of my burn out, at work, in september 2015. Constant stress exposure during a long period of time, or chronic stress, and Paris attacks (january and november 2015) caused me PTSD ( panic attacks, physic, mental and nervous exhaustion, break down, tremors nerves, anxiety, sleepless nights, memory-lost, rage attacks, hypervigilance, paranoia, and various addictions).

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To be honest with you, I admit I have been quite workhaolic since 10 years now, since I left my homecountry, and moved to France, parisian suburbs, in december 2007. That means, that all my family network lives in Italy, and although I am quite social, and friendly, it’s been quite hard to build new relationships, and friendships. Especially, considering the crazy turn over of young people in the company I am working for, still an uncertain time (please, accept my discretion on this subject). That means that every two years, I saw my new friends leaving for Uk, Us, Italy and Spain. Some spared money and they are world traveling, right now. Some met a life companion, dating on line, and eventually got married. And moved to Abu Dabi, Emirates, to get a cute tan and a new lifestyle. Since I am not keen on high tech, I have been in and out social networks, several times. I still like penwriting. Or writing emails to keep in touch with old friends. This habit is less common today. It goes all so fast that people can’t find their time to stop, close their eyes to relax a second, and breath ….I don’t blame anybody, coz I have been that person, me too. You just feel compelled to go on marching in.

Circumstances led me to my very personal « battlefield ». And this blog is meant to detail what kept me alive, and still does. How I crossed over the desert, and met wonderful people who helped me getting out of deep quicksand. Step by step. Inch by inch. In Al Pacino words, from the movie Any given Sunday : « I tell you this, in any fight it’s the guy who’s willing to die that who’s gonna win that inch. And I knoe that if I have got a life anymore, it’s because I’m still willing to fight and die for that inch. Cos that’s what living is. The 6 inches in front of your face. Now, I think you gonna see a guy who will go that inch with you. You gonna see a guy who will sacrify him self for this team because he knows that, when it comes down on him, you gonna do the same for him. That’s a team, gentlemen. And either we heal now as a team, or we will die as individuals. That’s football guys. That’s all it is. Now, what you gonna do ? »