Consider this my way of holding your hand in the hallway until you feel better
Grief, PTSD, Masks, 9/11, and the Blitz.
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I'm hoping the kids take this in stride when they grow up.
My grandmother had these kind of hilarious Peter Sellers-esque physical comedy stories about navigating preteen life with a gas mask during the Blitz.
Not to say she didn't have PTSD from that stupid mask, and thunder always made her jump out of her skin, which she wouldn't say she associated with hearing the bombs dropping while sleeping overnight in the Underground... she'd just blame it on the dog being nervous.
But I always knew there was something else to it and I eventually figured it out when I was old enough to understand these things.
And I would always sit with her - and the dog - during storms in the hallway with no windows until it passed.
She'd hold my hand and cringe with each rumble and look at me... and she'd laugh.
At the situation.
At a small precocious child comforting a fully grown adult.
Because it's fucking ridiculous.
But sometimes that's our only way out: Through.
My grandmother passed earlier this year. She had COPD. I stayed with her in the nursing home for a couple months while she was healing before an operation and they kept putting this oxygen mask on her.
She'd call me over and say, "Deem… I'm having another panic attack. I don't know why. Just hold my hand please."
And I would.
And she'd feel silly and start to laugh.
And I'd laugh with her.
And the feeling would pass.
The important thing is that she found the humor in it and that made her feel better. It helped to eleviate her pain.
I see these kids and I think of her.
Today, I'm thinking about everyone with PTSD and C-PTSD from 9/11 - or for any other reason.
Consider this message my way of holding your hand in the hallway until you feel better.
I'm sending all of you my love.
NOTE: I’m posting these images anonymously with the permission of the people who captured and posted them. My deepest gratitude to you both for the inspiration and for the opportunity to confront my grief.
For those of you awaiting the follow up to the Elephant in the Room post, I had a death in my family this week, and I am processing before I can refocus on writing about grief again. But writing this helped, and I feel like I’m closer to getting those particular words out. Please bear with me. I thank you for your patience, your support, and your love.
I’m going to utilize the additional resources section this time around to provide some resources that are close to my heart for whatever you might be going through today, from 9/11, from the past two years, from wars gone by, or from life in general. If you have more to add to help the others, please feel free to do so in the comments. We welcome your feedback.
Chaieb, L. (2015). Auditory Beat Stimulation and its Effects on Cognition and Mood States. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. [online] Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4428073/
Cohen, J. (2021). 19 Factors That May Stimulate Your Vagus Nerve Naturally. Selfhacked. [online] Available here: https://selfhacked.com/blog/32-ways-to-stimulate-your-vagus-nerve-and-all-you-need-to-know-about-it/
Foor, D. (2017). Ancestral Medicine: Rituals for Personal and Family Healing. Bear & Company.
Gaskin, RM. (2016). A Warrior's Garden: A Therapeutic Guide to Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. A Warrior’s Garden.
Kalsched, D. (1996). The Inner World of Trauma: Archetypal Defences of the Personal Spirit. Routledge.
Kalsched, D. (2013). Trauma and the Soul: A psycho-spiritual approach to human development and its interruption. Routledge.
McConnell, P. (2014). Auditory driving of the autonomic nervous system: Listening to theta-frequency binaural beats post-exercise increases parasympathetic activation and sympathetic withdrawal. US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. [online] Available here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4231835/
Weigel, J. (2019). Binaural beat meditations can alleviate stress, improve mood, experts say. Chicago Sun Times. [online] Available here: https://chicago.suntimes.com/2019/2/3/18372345/binaural-beat-meditations-can-alleviate-stress-improve-mood-experts-say
The Wisdom of Trauma. Directed by Zaya Benazzo and Maurizio Benazzo, Science and Nonduality, 2021.