Should I Be Over The World Trade Tower 

Should I be over the World Trade Tower disaster.  The answer is NO.  We could expect some feeling of diminished joy, not an acute depression, some anxiety, not interfering function inhibiting anxiety, some sense of uncertainty, not obsessive-compulsive inhibiting doubt, some fear, but not panic attacks.  We may not sleep as well as before the incident but not to the point of being unable to sleep.  We may find some tendency to get angry on the level of being more easily moved to being suddenly "grumpy," but not to the level of intense angers or physical attacks.  We may snap at someone for an imagined slight or insensitive act, but we should soon realize it and be able to properly apologize.  We may be a bit more easily moved to brief tears and edginess, but not overwhelmed.

If we have lost someone or some loss directly connected to the disaster, it may be a long time of mourning.  A major loss will often be with us all of our life, but no to the degree that is interferes with our functioning.  We should eventually return to feeling joy, humor, and loving, both toward ourself and others.

If bad feelings are attaching to a pre-incident level of negative feelings, especially unconscious feelings, we may find ourself overwhelmed, obsessed or compulsively drawn to negative feelings, thoughts, or acts.

If we have to, are compelled to view scenes of disaster, thoughts or feelings of disaster, then we may be attaching unknown or somewhat known prior incidents or feelings to the sense of concern that the present feelings of vulnerability give us as a "place" to focus these prior feelings upon.  We may not realize that we had these feelings, just under our surface, long before.  We may have a defensive, unknowingly false feeling that we were always "OK" before this, but it is possible that our good feelings were "thin", lightly held and supported by pushing things our of our mind.  We may have found other people able to see our prior negative feelings or we may have limited our contacts only to people who are or were fooled by a superficial happy-seeming "bounciness" that we pretended to.  We sometimes develop a personality structure defensively designed to fool ourself as well as others as a way of hiding our inner hurts.

If we find that we have become uncomfortable with our feelings and we are the kind of person for whom understanding ourself is the route to a more comfortable life, then insight oriented Interpersonal Psychoanalytic Psychotherapy may offer us the chance of growing into a less symptomatic way of living.  Understanding ourself may be aided by individual therapy plus membership in a therapy group where understanding others may assist us in seeing ourself.  No one is so different that they do not speak for us to at least some degree.

by Dr. Lehrer

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