Happiness, is it all it's cracked up to be?
...happiness, is it all that matters?
When most people think of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they think of people who experience traumas—like violence, abuse, or an injury— themselves. However, children can also develop symptoms of PTSD when a parent or sibling suffers through tremendous traumatic events, illness, disease or injury. Unfortunately, doctors do not routinely screen these children for PTSD despite expert recommendations and symptoms are often missed.
As the son of a survivor who was catastrophically wounded in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, I know what it is like to suffer and not understand why, and when most attention is focused on the person acutely affected. Informed by the research, scholarly literature and my own experience, I offer this site as a place for young people to learn about the potential psychological effects on children whose parent(s) or sibling are injured, suffering chronic illness or disease, addiction, or psychological disturbances. I also offer this site as place where young people can find comfort, and understand that they are not alone. SOLVE is a place to learn about how PTSD may originate through a multitude of traumas, and most importantly, SOLVE looks to direct teens to sources where they can better understand why they may be suffering and where to get the right kind of help. My hope is that through SOLVE we can help mitigate the impact of PTSD on teens while, empowering them to better self advocate and advance their quests to (re)claim lives filled with healing and happiness.
Great and positive change happens every day.
I am a sophomore at Trinity College, CT. I am also the son of a 9/11 survivor. I was 10 months old at the time of the World Trade Center terrorist attacks that killed 2977 people, injured many and are causing latent disease and death for both civilians, and support personnel. Over the last 20 years, I witnessed my mom’s incredibly difficult and courageous recovery from catastrophic wounds, which in reference to scientific analysis and averages, she never should have survived. It was both a blessing to still have my mom, but the gravity of her long term recovery impacted the entire family. It was hard for professionals to believe that I could or should be anything other than thankful for her survival. I was told, "You're lucky." The lack of interest by 9/11 child studies open to address the children of the catastrophically injured, coupled with continual misdiagnosis, lack of support and inadequate detection assessments delayed my own diagnosis of PTSD and my healing.
My goal through the creation of Saving Our Lives, (SOLVE) has been to alert and inform other teens who may be dealing with undiagnosed relational trauma that they are not alone and that there is help. This site includes my own research survey summaries, PTSD resource information and care options. My hope is that SOLVE will help young people avoid misdiagnosis or prolonged undiagnosed PTSD. The subgroup of teens and children who suffer through extreme family trauma: terrorism, disease, injury, mental heath issues or death is an often underserved population. The long term impact on the underserved intragenerational PTSD population, makes these young people more prone to mental health, addiction, suicide and significant personal and professional development challenges.
The research I conducted on PTSD was done under the guidance of a PHD. specializing in Trauma/Suicide Prevention from a leading Ivy League University, I have continued to study why children of parents who have suffered grave illness, catastrophic injury, disease and other significant life interruptions are not routinely screened closely enough for PTSD, My goal has been to both raise awareness and to advocate for both preventative and early intervention.
Through establishing SOLVE chapters at both high schools and colleges/universities, I seek to provide programming to give young people the opportunity to join in safe spaces in both an accessible and fun social format. These social gatherings give kids the opportunity to hear from both professionals and other young people like myself about our journeys, our healing and our success.