In the face of trauma, how can we heal the wound in our hearts? The author experienced the Taroko accident and was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Amidst anxiety and fear, he practiced telling himself: “Dear you, it doesn’t matter if you take your time, you are brave enough.”
Survival after trauma: a cycle of disintegration and reconstruction
6 cars number 20. At the moment of the incident, I was wearing headphones, and in a daze, I watched the hot cocoa splash on the table to an area no one knew, and felt the violent shaking and impact before and after the scene.
On April 2, 110, at 9:28 in the morning, the Qingshui Tunnel, Taroko 408 trains collided with the engineering vehicle that slipped off the slope and intruded into the railroad track, causing a derailment incident. This incident resulted in 49 deaths and 247 minor and serious injuries. Originally it only took more than three hours to drive, and it took me half a day to get home. But I am alive.
I’m alive, it’s the seventh month. The left elbow and right knee went from contusion, redness, swelling and hot to crusting, and then gradually healed, new skin grew, and finally a shallow scar was left. I always raise my left elbow before going to bed and think about the situation at that time.
A grey haze, pungent metallic smell mixed with many smells that I can’t tell. Why did I fall to the ground, how did things happen, how could there be a little sister in the carriage who left like this? I had a lot of questions before I got the answers, so I had to walk out of the tunnel and out of the carriage, surrounded by a dazzling light.
So I have been thinking and thinking, but after all, I am not the master of fate. I am only one of the more than 400 passengers who were injured.
From the end of April, my sleep quality became unstable. Dreaming every day is not a nightmare. Dreams close to reality and surreal are mixed. Every time I dreamed, it was like reading a heavy novel. I couldn’t finish it, so I was stuck in it. I was both the protagonist and the screenwriter. The director never called to stop, I could only continue to act.
Sometimes I suddenly have difficulty breathing, my whole body is limp, and I feel dizzy and light all day long. After half a month, I found that my body seemed to be malfunctioning. So accompanied by my mother, I went to the hospital.
In mid-May, I was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, also known as PTSD.
The general symptoms of post-traumatic stress syndrome can be divided into：
- Re-experiencing the traumatic experience: It may be through nightmares, dreaming that the same event happened, or suddenly recalling the traumatic event during the day, and feeling the feeling of being traumatized again.
- Overalert: Continue to be in a state of alert. This makes me unable to concentrate, irritable, insomnia, and anxious.
- Avoid numbness: Many people choose to avoid recalling or contact people, events, times, places, and things that may trigger memories of traumatic events.
- There are negative cognitions and emotions related to the traumatic event: association disorder, distorted perception of the traumatic event and blaming oneself or others, low mood, alienation from others.
When taking the MRT, I heard the sound of the car body rubbing against the rails, or the sound of the brakes, and my heart beats faster. When I walked on the road, I just passed by the motorcycle or heard the roaring express car. Feeling anxious.
Despite this, my life continues. I commute, go to class, go home every day… It’s just that something seems to be missing-I have become numb and dull, lose enthusiasm for everything, even my favorite writing and reading , And there is no planning and progress.
So I started taking medicine, and before going to bed at night, I took four pills. One month, two months, three months, four months… it’s been half a year now. I am still alive.
I still have dreams every day after relying on medication, but I can’t remember the content anymore. Occasionally, I still think of the pictures in the carriage.
In a community post in August I wrote: “August is a barren self-awareness. There is a gloomy wood on the black mountain. After you get lost, you will pass by a long gravel road. At the end you will see a large area. Wang Yang. An unmanned ship is anchored at sea, and I am above, repeatedly confirming the preparations before the departure.”
These days, floating and sinking are the norm, and I continue to receive and respond to both the good and the bad. From October to the present, whether it is through drugs or through my own psychological adjustment and precipitation, I do feel that my sleep quality is showing signs of improvement. So I sorted out and also shared the key points to help myself rebuild my life.
Things to do during a panic attack
- Inhale and exhale 30 times: Feel your breath slowly, feel the beating of your heart pulse, feel yourself alive.
- Close your eyes and meditate for a minute: Imagine lying on a soft grassland, floating quietly on the sea, or falling slowly in the universe. In short, imagine a scene that will make you feel at ease and relax.
- Relax and stretch your body and limbs: Even if you are tiptoeing or stretching, you can activate blood circulation and feel your breathing and your own breath with your body.
- Divert your attention and look at the phone or the people around you: this method works well when commuting. If you don’t want to look at electronic products, you may wish to look at the scene outside the window, there may be unexpected visual gains.
- Repeatedly telling myself “It’s okay, it’s safe now”: It’s like a kind of hypnosis, and it’s also a spell for peace of mind. You can recite it in silence anytime, anywhere.
Things you can do when you think of “trauma” at home
- Write down your feelings: Write down the emotions you feel intuitively, and check whether you worry too much, or can face downturns and negative emotions in a better way.
- Tell your family and friends your feelings: I think this is very important. Let relatives and friends know that they are still afraid of anxiety when they think of trauma, and get comfort from the sound of communicating with each other. They are not alone, but there are others who are with me (you).
- Don’t blame yourself excessively: the most important point. All this happened is definitely not my (you) fault, I (you) just happened to meet, that’s it, there is no other reason.
Life is a process of deconstruction and reconstruction, we all live in our own time zone
Life is a process of deconstruction and reconstruction. Sometimes I think that there is no such thing as what people say. What has happened is linked to each other. Whether it is turning or going straight, it is impossible to avoid overlapping attributions. There are many “have to” in life that make people sigh.
I often lament that habit is necessary, and that habit is natural. I still have to take the train to return to my hometown, and I still have to commute by public transportation.
I can’t avoid my anxiety and panic, but I can gently tell myself in the way I can: Dear you, it’s okay to take your time, it’s a long, long road, and there are still tunnels on the way. It’s over, but it doesn’t matter, you are brave enough, now I will continue to accompany you to brave the long road.
Memories cannot be tampered with, and experience is a person’s harvest and scars. Disintegration and reconstruction are daily cycles. We all slow down slowly in our time zone, trying to take each step more firmly. Regardless of the future, at least I am still on the way, I am on the way. This is enough.