9/11: State of Shock (and Words of Comfort from an Unexpected Place)

Twelve years ago, a friend called me to tell me to turn on the TV.

I did.  About 30 seconds later, the first tower collapsed.

I just stood there staring at the screen, almost like I was watching a show.

Just stood there.

For a long time, I was troubled about my initial reaction.  Or lack thereof .

Why was I motionless??  And emotionless??  Why was I not instantly crying and screaming at the TV??

Because I was in shock, that’s why.

I always thought of going into “shock” as a response to a physical injury, but didn’t really think about it as a response to seeing something traumatic.

“Acute stress reaction symptoms…typically include an initial state of ‘daze’ followed by over-anxiety.”

“Daze” pretty much sums up what I was in that morning.  As the day went on, the reality sunk in.  And so did the anxiety.

We live near an airport and I’m so accustomed to the planes that I normally don’t even notice.  In the weeks following 9/11 however, every single plane that flew over stopped me in my tracks.  I would have sworn each one was mere inches over my house.  Heart pounding, I would stand there frozen, convinced it was going to crash into our house.  Every time.  It was a horrid feeling.  To this day I don’t know if there was a temporary change in flight pattern (since we are near DC) or if it was just my fear taking over.

Twelve years later, I am back to not noticing the planes.

But as for the other events of that day?  I’m still in shock.

9-11Click here for “Words of Comfort from an Unexpected Place.”

2 thoughts on “9/11: State of Shock (and Words of Comfort from an Unexpected Place)”

  1. I felt the same way. We were in Boston visiting friends when my oldest, who was preschool age at the time, pointed at the tv and said “that plane flew into a building.” Horror, shock, terrified are words I would use to describe how we felt. My sister in law was living in Boston at the time and had a flight out that morning…she was en route to the airport when she heard the news. We didn’t know what time her flight was leaving or if it had left and were frantic. I’ll never forget that feeling of helplessness as we saw the buildings crumble. It will always be a difficult memory.

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