People who live in mainly impoverished urban areas in major cities of the likes of Oakland, CA & Chicago, IL are said to experience post traumatic stress disorder to the levels equal & possibly greater than that of a US soldier returning home from war. It is said that it’s greater due to the fact that the people living in these areas must keep on keeping on with their lives with very little avenues for help as opposed to that of a US soldier returning home & seeking assistance at his/her military base or VA. It makes sense. If you are raised in a high crime area with the constant sound of gunfire, murders, & drugs literally right outside of your door….then I suppose it could be possible to develop some form of PTSD or at the minimum, become highly desensitized to that way of living. I mean, if a person lives in a neighborhood where there is constant gunfire, after a while, hearing a gun shot wouldn’t even phase them. Shoot, they might develop a keen enough ear to which they can identify what type of gun was fired merely from the popping sound. So, I guess to those on the outside looking in, the people living within these environments on a daily basis are suffering from PTSD. Or the people living within these environments, well maybe they aren’t really suffering from PTSD & maybe they’ve just become accustomed to that way of life and simply adapt as best they can.
But aside from whether this is a legit case of PTSD or simply adaptablity….what the fuxx is up with this nickname for people living in these rough urban environments? Why must this alleged form of PTSD be called HOOD disease? Seriously, HOOD disease….is this code for wild & crazy knee grows?
But I digress…
I remember when I was in Afghanistan a few years back. When I first got there, probably for about the first 2 weeks I had trouble sleeping; not because of the time difference, but because of the constant explosions from bombs going off. I truthfully thought I was going to die within those first 2 weeks because it seemed like the explosions would never stop in the area I was in. Funny thing happened at around week 3 as I was walking & heard yet another explosion go off: I didn’t get scared, I didn’t run for cover…shit, I barely even flinched. What happened was, I became accustomed to the sounds & just accepted it as a way of life in that environment I was living in at the time. I figured in my mind that there was nothing I could do (nor anyone for that matter) to prevent any of it from happening & if it was my time to go, it was my time to go. So later that night…another explosion or two. Normally, I would have jumped up and ran to the nearest bunker until the “all clear” signal was given except this time, I just rolled over in my bed and went back to sleep.
When I came home, I’ll admit I was slightly jumpy when I was driving my car & spotted a piece of trash along side of the road. I was a little nervouse on occasion when I would go to the mall or some public venue with a lot of people carrying bags. But one thing I remember when I came back to the US clearly was, I was visiting my hometown in a decent neighborhood for the most part & I remember hearing this loud popping sound. Everyone around me without thinking twice turned their head quickly in the direction of the sound to figure out what the hell that was, me, I didn’t even budge as if I didn’t hear it. It wasn’t a gunshot, it turned out to be some old ass car backfiring from the exhaust pipes. But the “crazy” part was when a few who noticed I didn’t jump like the rest of the group starting questioning me as to why I was so calm. I just explained to them truthfully that I had became numb to sounds like that. I spent 1 year of my life listening to them everyday. I had become immune to the sounds of gunfire, explosions, jets & helicopters taking off. What kept me on edge and laying awake at night for almost 3 straight months was dead silence. I couldn’t sleep when it was too quiet. I needed noise, so I would cut the television on, turn the volume up slightly and doze off.
Some could possibly classify my experience after Afghanistan as a form of PTSD I suppose, but truthfully, I just viewed it as me readjusting to a more “peaceful” life. I know there are returning soldiers with real PTSD problems whom need real help, so I’m not even trying to compare myself to them. What I am saying in relation to the people saying that people who grow up and live in the hood are suffering from PTSD is this: the people living in the hood who hear the gunshots & possibly see all the craziness, well after a while, they become numb to the experience & accept it as a part of life due to the fact that it is nothing that they can really control…so they adapt. I guess in order to see if these people are truly suffering from PTSD or “Hood” disease would be to remove them from their evironment of violence completely, place them in a relatively safe neighborhood for an extended period of time, and then see how they act. But I doubt this is going to be happening anytime soon.
I get the comparisons to war due to the constant violence & gun shots…but believe it or not, people who live in those environments for extended periods of time simply become used to that way of life. For these people, this is just a normal day….sadly.
These are just my thoughts….feel free to share yours.