Trauma Right Around the Corner
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NARRATOR: We know that people who’ve suffered trauma are often left not only with physical but also psychological injuries.
Caheri Gutiérrez, Violence Prevention Educator and Case Manager, Youth Alive!:
I was suicidal. I was paranoid. I had nightmares, nightmares so much that I did not want to sleep…
John Rich, Professor, Drexel University School of Public Health; Director, Center for Non-Violence and Social Justice:
We often see young people who are hyper-vigilant or hyper-aroused. That means if you clap your hands or make a noise, these young people will jump out of their skin.
If someone will come from behind me and be like,Hey, Caheri,I'd be like, oh sh--! Like that. And then just start crying because I felt like I'm crazy.
NAR: For people suffering with PTSD, the natural fight or flight response doesn’t really turn off. Their brain continues releasing chemicals which trigger feelings of fear, anxiety, anger or depression— even when the danger long gone.
NAR: Across town, twenty-three-year-old Antonio Carter also suffers with similar symptoms of trauma brought on by a pile-up of adversities. Though getting shot himself wasn’t one of them.
NAR: The problems came on early. Cancer took his mother when he was twelve years old.
Antonio Carter, a parent:
And my dad, like, we asked him to take care of us but he couldn’t do it. With us not having a father figure around, it was like life or death, every man for they-self, like, you know what I mean?
NAR: Now, mostly on his own, without trusted adults to help him, Antonio found tensions in the neighborhood could be overwhelming.
We were sitting together, and we were all in, like, in a circle, and him and my friend, my other friend, started arguing, and my other friend just pulled out a gun and shot him right there, like right in front me. Like right here… I was just looking like… After seeing so much blood and so many people dying for so long…it only makes you crazy.
NAR: Today there are new worries, like completing his Emergency Medical Technician certification and keeping two-year-old Tony, Jr. safe in the same Oakland streets.
Right now, I don’t even let him go outside to the front, to play in the front yard…because I know what could happen. One of my worst fears is, like, walking down the street with my son, and you know what I mean, like, and all of a sudden, like shots just start…I wouldn’t know what to do if I lose him because, like, him and his mom, he’s all I got.