Sam DeSilva, tsunami survivor, on the trauma of anniversaries.
I didn’t sleep last night…It’s not an uncommon occurrence, especially leading up to this time of year.
I’d love to say that I didn’t sleep because I was on some festive night out, or that I was working throughout the night. However, the reality of it was that I spent it lost in the waves, the physical & emotional. Ruminating about what happened in the tsunami and the week afterwards (physical waves) to the countless mistakes I made in the aftermath in terms of dealing with it once getting back to London (emotional waves).
If I’d just managed to calm myself down in the years that followed and been able to open up, I wouldn’t have ended up hurting everyone I loved.
There honestly hasn’t been a day in the past 9 years where I haven’t had flashbacks or managed to stop myself getting emotionally engaged with what happened. The survivor’s guilt hit me from the moment I realised what had happened.
Things have improved incredibly since receiving treatment. It helped me reflect on the tsunami and the aftermath from a fairer perspective, which lessened the intensity of the flashbacks and the survivor’s guilt. However, the treatment didn’t change what happened.
My life is on the right track. There’s no way I’d be able to write about any of this if I didn’t genuinely believe that, but I know there are still rough days ahead. It’s just a matter of managing them.
It’s hard because when things get really bad, I just can’t focus. I can’t forgive myself, my mind jumps all over the place. From guilt to anger, from endless tears to explicit rants at god.
I don’t want to be around other people when I get into that state. So I exacerbate the issue by isolating myself.
Yesterday was the third consecutive Christmas I’ve spent on my own…
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—Originally posted on PTSDJediPhoto: seanmcgrath/Flickr