The Trauma of a Disaster That Always Haunts My Life — Incandescent Psychology #UnderstandingHuman

To be honest, I don’t know for sure whether this earthquake fear is just an ordinary fear or has fallen into the category of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). All I know to date, according to the American Psychological Association (APA), is that what I feel is PTSD due to an earthquake that I have experienced since I was a child.

I remember once, 13 years ago, when I was about 5 years old. At that time our family was enjoying a night’s sleep. Suddenly at dawn towards morning, the earthquake shook the city of Mataram, Lombok Island. The earthquake did not cause severe damage, but the tense situation that I witnessed for myself is really imprinted until now. I remember that I was immediately carried by my parents. The neighbors on the right and left side also rushed to save themselves. The tense atmosphere I experienced was something I had never imagined before. The power was out, the ground was still swaying, there was no certainty, plus a tsunami early warning was issued. Indeed, no one expected to be in such a condition. Weakness, anxiety and fear are mixed together. Since then, I began to fear anything related to earthquakes.

This fear began to get worse when I was a teenager, where schoolwork required me to sleep late. Sleeping late at night is often a frightening specter for me. This is because what I experienced, earthquakes often occur in the early morning, approximately after 12 o’clock in the evening. I often feel anxious because I am afraid that an earthquake will come when I am fast asleep. Sometimes my body often feels the sensation of shaking as if an earthquake occurred, and after that my heartbeat immediately races to make my chest feel very tight. The sensation is then followed by an excessive feeling of fear.

I was relieved, after the past few years my hometown, Lombok Island, is no longer shaken by earthquakes like when I was a child. However, again the fear resurfaced. The magnitude 7 earthquake that shook our beloved island occurred on August 5, 2018. That’s when my psychic was completely shaken. Since that incident, my weeks of sleep have never been calm. Night time is a scary scourge especially for me personally.

Although I am currently living in the city of Yogyakarta to study, the psychological impact of the 7 Richter scale earthquake event is very much felt. Any sound that vibrates will make me weak and anxious excessively. Especially by the sound of windows shaking and the ground shaking, even if it’s just because a vehicle is passing by, is something I really fear. Far from the island of Lombok does not mean far from danger. The city of Yogyakarta is also often shaken by earthquakes. This adds to my worries, especially at night, especially plus I currently live alone.

Many times I ask, how many more times will I always feel anxious about this earthquake? What if I get crushed by the rubble of a building? What if the earthquake occurs at night, will I survive and still be given life? Those questions and concerns often cross my mind. Not infrequently I am considered excessive by friends. In fact, I think the psychic state of every human being is different. Psychological disorders cannot be underestimated. Everyone has their own battlefield. For them perhaps the vibration of the ground does not mean anything. But for me, it will cause a variety of mixed feelings.

Therefore, I am very grateful to the volunteers who have done trauma healing to the people affected by the Lombok earthquake, especially children. Because what they felt as a child will most likely affect their psychic development when they grow up. For other disaster survivors, remember that you are not alone. We can definitely get stronger and bounce back.

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