In an interview DJ AM said "I understand why they call it post-trauma" referring to the his state of mind in the aftermath of the plane crash he survived.
An article today in the New York Times about kidnap and hostage survivor Jaycee Dugard states, "About two-thirds of children who are kidnapped or abused suffer lingering mental problems, most often symptoms of post-traumatic stress and depression." I know these symptoms all too well.
After surviving being kidnapped, held hostage, taped with explosives and forced to rob a bank to save my daughter and me from being murdered, we suffered for years with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Just last month my daughter turned to me at the airport and said, "The man standing next to me with the big black duffle bag reminds me of one of the men that kidnapped us and the duffle bag they made you put the money from the bank in. He is making me uncomfortable." There are times when I too still have symptoms show up and have to use the techniques we have learned over the past 8 yeaars to get through those moments in a healthy self-loving, not fear-based, way.
Today I am a PTSD educator, author, speaker and advocate. In my book and film based on my book, Held Hostage, tackling the issue of post-trauma and getting an important message out to others about this very real and potentially debilitating disorder has been a priority. I have been striving towards educating others on the very real disorder my daughter and I experienced after our horrifying ordeal. But getting people to take notice of this disorder as it relates to youth and adults who have survived violence, abuse and trauma -- outside of those returning from combat -- has been an uphill climb.
The only time I had ever heard of PTSD prior to our experiencing it was when others were discussing war veterans. Yet on our streets, in our own homes, there is such violence and abuse occurring; a war or battle of another kind not being fought on foreign soil.
Child Help reports that children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Over 3 million reports of child abuse are made every year in the United States; however, those reports can include multiple children. In 2007, approximately 5.8 million children were involved in an estimated 3.2 million child abuse reports and allegations.
The Department of Justice reports that nationwide, an estimated 1,408,337 violent crimes are committed annually with the descending order of violent crimes being: murder and non-negligent manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.
With numbers like these, and this is not including many unreported domestic violence, child abuse and other acts of violence against another as well as those suffering following a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina and the recent California wild fires, there are millions of people living in a state of post trauma. PTSD is real, scary, serious and can be emotionally devastating, especially if left untreated or mis-diagnosed.
DJ AM was a huge talent and suffered a tragic ending to his life. When I watched him during his interview and listened to his quote about post-trauma, I thought maybe, just maybe, PTSD will begin to get the attention needed to educate family, friends, and others about what it is, what it feels like and how we can all begin to understand the fragility of one's mind and emotional state following violence, abuse or trauma...even if we are not fighting in wars overseas.
Thank you, DJ AM, for your musical gift to the world and thank you for helping open the door to educate so many about post trauma.