Friday, August 26, 2011

9/11 part one

It's been ten years. I can't believe that it has been ten years. I know so many people are thinking about it. I have read a few excerpts from The Legacy Letters from a few different magazines and they are so heart wrenching. I believe that the lives of most people were affected that day whether they knew someone involved or not. It was almost like an imaginary safety bubble that protected us on American soil had popped. We were no longer indestructible. The level of fear created that day was so palpable. Everyone likes to talk about "where were you when..." I never thought that I would come to a point that I could share my story with the internet, but after ten years I am finally comfortable taking that leap.

About ten days prior to September 11, 2001 I had been admitted to Cypress Creek Hospital. The week leading up to my admittance was terrifying to myself and everyone that had contact with me. I was plagued with the most intense paranoia I have ever experienced. I felt that people were following me, my apartment was wire tapped, people were moving my personal belongings. I barely slept or ate. My conversations made no sense to anyone but me. I was so easily irate and frustrated and my family nor myself had no idea what was wrong with me. After a trip to the Emergency Room we were told that I need treatment from Cypress Creek because the hospital wasn't equipped to help me with my problems.

I went the next day. It was awful. I was behind doors that I couldn't walk out of. I wasn't confined to a room with padded walls, but I had to be accounted for at all times. The days were filled with medications, group therapy, therapy with a doctor, therapy with a nurse, art therapy, talking to other patients that could be down right scary, tons of cigarette smoking, a few phone calls here and there and so many countless tears. The day I was admitted and watched my mom walk out the door, knowing that I could not leave on my own accord, the gravity of the situation hit me like a piano had fallen from ten stories up. I felt like I could die from the weight of it all.

Looking back on my life, I could say that there were signs that my life was going to lead me to this place. I had been through a lot. A lot of the choices that I had made in my life were the types of choices many people with the same diagnosis had made. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. The diagnosis was a real slam to me. I felt ashamed and defective. Because of the medications I was administered I partially felt like a zombie. Somewhere in all this I seemed to lose the essence of my self. I had no idea anymore. I couldn't be sure what was real, what was true or even if life was worth living anymore. I was defeated and dejected. This was the worst. I was at my bottom. How could anything ever be worse?

In 1997 I had been fortunate enough to take a short but very full trip to New York City. I had stayed near Time's Square and veritably enjoyed the Double Decker Bus Tour of the City. At the time my mom was pregnant with my twin brothers, so needless to say I was over come to take a ridiculous amount of photos of the Twin Towers. I felt an immense affinity towards those two buildings because of the twins that were about to become a huge part of my life. As I sat eagerly awaiting my mother to fetch me from the mental hospital, I watched the news. There was nothing else to do. I sat in silent terror as I witnessed the footage of the attacks on those very Twin Towers I had fallen in love with. I saw the airplanes make contact and the smoke. I  had only thought that things could never get worse than they had been. I was wrong. I was so wiped out that the tears silently streamed down my placid face.
I thought I would be so happy to have the freedom to get in my mom's car and head home. Wrong again. We heard that there were fears that Houston could be attacked as well. We took I-45 home that day and possibly saw three other cars on our 45 minute drive home. That was the creepiest thing. It was so eerily quiet.

Part II

I guess you could say that I am lucky because I did not know anyone that was injured or killed during the attacks that took place on 9/11. I didn't feel lucky then and I don't now. I think most people, whether directly affected or not, went through a great heartbreak that day. It's like we had been so naive and assured that we would never face an attack on our own soil. To me that was the day our little safety bubble popped. I know that I have never felt as confident in our safety since that day. There have been times in my life, post 9/11, that I can fully visualize what would happen if a suicide bomber were in the building. It happened to me a few times and it caused the worst panic attacks. I felt hot and sick and had to learn to mentally talk myself out of it. I really do not know why anyone would use planes as their weapons. I don't understand what taking the lives of so many innocent people accomplished. There is so much about these tragedies that I can not wrap my brain around. I can't imagine having lost a loved one in such a manner. I believe that the survivors have walked down a long hard path to deal with a lost sister, father, mother, brother, friend. I surely hope that as a nation we are stronger as individuals. I am not sure if our nation as a whole is stronger after this. From where I sit right now I would have to say it doesn't seem that we are. I don't know the answer. I absolutely do not know what could drive such a deep hatred to make someone pull off such a heinous act. It's been ten years and there is still so much that probably still will not make sense to me in 20 years.