“Secondary Trauma”, “PTSD”, “Absorbed Trauma”: I Only Hope We Come Out of This Sane!
“…there is ‘ABSORBED TRAUMA’ created via learning or experiencing other people’s trauma. It’s as though something is happening to you because something is happening to someone else.”
I read the above post by my friend, Dayo Samuel today, 21st October, and it became clear what was happening to me…and many others.
News broke last night of armed soldiers opening fire on unarmed, peaceful protesters in Lekki, Lagos.
Then the pictures and videos started rolling in, via every social media. Freshly dead people, people with gunshot wounds, people running for their lives…in fact I saw a video (unexpectedly, after I vowed to stop viewing videos) of a man running and then he got hit in the head by a bullet.
One that was particularly most disturbing was a collage where one side had video where two friends, male and female, were dancing happily on the protest ground, and the other side had the both of them lying lifeless and bloody with severe wounds to their heads and other parts of their body…in the same clothes they were dancing and laughing in earlier yesterday.
I am severely traumatized. Those images wouldn’t stop flashing in my mind…
I couldn’t get myself to do anything since yesterday evening. However forced myself to write my daily blog post…spent hours on just that one post while keeping sad songs on repeat.
I woke this morning still not in the mood to do anything; woke late and felt so helpless and useless to myself; schools were already shut in my city, so the kids were at home — couldn’t even spend time with them.
I then went out later in the evening to get to a pharmacy and get some drugs and small grocery…and the fear I experienced at almost everything, from people congregating, to loud sounds, to deserted roads, to people holding random tools…was one I’m not sure I’d never felt in my life.
I was almost jittery all through the drive.
I got back home and couldn’t take it anymore.
I took to my WhatsApp status and talked about how I couldn’t get myself to do anything since morning. I continued: “Feels like my brain is frozen from all the horrid videos and pictures I’ve seen.”
And then one after another, almost a dozen people replied me stating they’ve had the same experience: sitting at the laptop all day unable to do anything reasonable, having lingering headaches over the night and all day, head feeling heavy and cloudy, and so on.
Then I remembered what a friend said about everyone already suffering from PTSD without being aware of it.
I did some Googling, and I found that the right phrase is “secondary trauma”.
It kinda relieved me to know I wasn’t alone in this struggle, and the secondary trauma is more widespread than most people would admit.
Then I started to wonder: if we, who are watching these events on screens, can have this much trauma with all these negative effects, how much more those who were in the heat of the “massacre”? How much more those who were hit but survived? How much more those who bullets missed only by a few inches? How much more those who have lost loved ones this week?!
It’s extremely sad that a supposed democratic state could experience something like this in the 21st Century. I mean…come on, it’s 2020!
Some of us do everything we can to be good ambassadors of this beautiful continent, but we are not blind to the brain drain happening to countries like ours, but we chose to stay and hope things get better.
I really don’t have to stay; my businesses are online; most of my clients are from the US and other western countries. Yet I feel there’s no reason to “flee”, as things can surely get better.
But now I’m beginning to have my doubts.
I give up!
Other than the fact that I’m tired of going through third world problems, especially when the leaders are clueless and only concerned about their pockets, I really don’t want my children to go through what I’ve gone through as a Nigerian.
I’ve however decided to watch how things go till 2021. If things get worse, then I’ll leave this country for good, to start afresh elsewhere.
I think it’s still going to be an African country I’ll move to.
Maybe Rwanda. Maybe Cape Verde.
It’s 11:27pm, and this is the first meaningful task I’ve done with my brain today.
Tomorrow will be a better day.
Meet the Author
Hello! I’m Oludami Yomi-Alliyu. I'm on a mission to help driven entrepreneurs grow their business and attain freedom through consistent, profitable sales. This is why I created the Septuplar Sales System, out of my experience turning around my business failure and now consistently getting returns of over 5x my ad spend.Learn more