I am seventeen years old. I have two parents and two stepparents; my home life is relatively stable. I have been diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, a mild form of autism, and a few comorbid psychiatric problems. I take Prozac and Wellbutrin. I have polycystic ovarian syndrome.
I was doing better than I ever had until a few weeks ago, when I started throwing tantrums at school. It's sort of embarrassing: every time I hear someone express a conservative political point of view--especially one that relates to guns--I just blow up. My own political views are moderate and I am naturally polite and rational; this has come absolutely out of nowhere.
The nightmares are also a new phenomenon. They are highly hallucinatory and involve being lost or chased. They make me wet the bed.
I can't stand to hear anything that sounds remotely like a gunshot. This includes fireworks, cars backfiring, doors slamming, and little boys making warplay noises. It drives me crazy! I also can't go back to church because that's where IT happened.
IT was a mass shooting that happened a year ago. A crazy man driven by his hatred of the "liberal movement" walked into my Unitarian church with a hunting rifle and opened fire, killing two and wounding seven. My best friend's foster father died instantly after throwing himself into the line of fire to save a group of children (don't be a hero! Don't be a hero!) I was supposed to be there that Sunday; my aforementioned best friend had invited me to see him in the church play. I was too lazy to go. So I didn't witness the actual shooting.
I helped my friend shop for funeral attire and went to the memorials. I wrote a memoir piece about healing. Everything seemed to be okay with me psychologically. I mean, I wasn't even there!
I seem to be having some sort of delayed reaction with the following features:
1. Overpowering aversion to guns
2. Unfair, irrational prejudice against all conservatives (the shooter was a conservative nut job) that causes school disturbances
5. Poems with titles like "The Hurting Sanctuary", "Rage", and "The Sunday I Stayed Home".
6. Short stories about angst-ridden Holocaust survivors
7. Occasional thoughts of suicide
8. Inability to participate in church community because it "hurts"
11. Termination of friendships that remind me of the event; avoidance of conversations where the event might be mentioned
Can you even GET post-traumatic stress disorder from a traumatic event you did not actually witness? Is that stupid? Am I too sensitive?
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