Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Accumulated Weight of Tragedy That Hangs Over New York City

This morning, as I drove my wife’s car to the local gas station at 5 AM to fill it up, I felt a twinge of fear as I turned the corner to the station, expecting a long line. There was no one there, and I breathed a sigh of relief, but I also realized that waiting on line for the last two weeks had left a residue of anxiety, just as beating beaten up in a station house when I was 22 years old made me still feel fear every time a police car comes near me *******And I realized something else. That we, in the New York metropolitan area, had taken a considerable emotional battering in the last twelve years. Between 9/11, the economic collapse and Hurricane Sandy, we had experienced three events of such traumatic power that they were bound to leave emotional scars, even among those who had not lost love ones, homes, or what little economic stability they had in one or more of those tragedies. *******It would be comforting to say that hardship makes you tougher, that crises can bring out extraordinary generosity and compassion in the people around you, that New York has a tradition of coming through hard times, and all those things would be true. But it is also true that such events can instill levels of anxiety and fear that never wholly disappear, and are can be triggered by things that occur years or decades later. *******We have a convenient label for this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and some might find comfort in giving what they feel a name. But I just hurt thinking of all the suffering I have seen, and that I will still see as I struggle to help those whose lives have been uprooted by Sandy and it mingles with what I saw and felt after 9/11 *******And I don’t like the feeling. I need to be strong for the people around me, and instead I feel shaky and vulnerable. ******The only comfort is knowing that so many people feel the same way, and will be there to help me if I should stumble, fall or grow weak trying to do what must be done. No one can handle this alone. We need each other more than ever

1 comment:

Carol Lee said...

Come after the rain is sun. Despite all the adversities it just nice to know that people help each other to survive and that is what happened to NYC after the hurricane Sandy.

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