In the fall of 2008, Wall Street crashed and all Hell broke loose. Everyone watched as the stock market dropped to half value. The American economy was tanking and people were panicking. The American news media offered a new form of terror. Now, seven years after 9/11, the emotional sores that had been left untreated festered even more. The New York Tri-State Region and the same population that had been directly affected by the attacks on the World Trade Centers were hit again. The centrifugal forces of our culture’s emotional instability started spinning again and now corporations and companies, as well as individuals, were breaking even further.
At that time, my son Billy was struggling with a terrible bout of night terrors that began in August before his 5th grade year. He was so afraid that something was going to happen to him. Billy had been diagnosed with PTSD after Ted was killed. Every night that year he laid awake terrified that someone was going to come upstairs and kill us. He had seen a Fox News story on a murdered two-year-old that scarred him deeply. Billy has an incredibly vivid imagination. He would lay awake with his heart pounding and his eyes the size of saucers. He did not sleep through the night for the next six months. Of course, I assured him that nothing was going to happen to him or to me but his imagination held him in a vice-like grip.
The fall continued to be tense and tenuous as we watched the value of our houses drop while stock market investments hovered at 60% of their original value. I/we were now experiencing a new form of terror. To listen to the news media it sounded like we would all be ‘dead’ tomorrow. Everything they were reporting was at “Def Con 5”. But conversely and in reality, things stayed the same because while these were enormous problems, this kind of change happens slowly.
The sensational and dramatic panic of the news media was whipping the nation into frenzy. There was no rational thinking; no Voice of Reason. The news stations would interview politicians and corporate people, many of whom had left their respective positions some time in the past, calling them ‘experts’. The contradictions in the discussions shifted from sentence to sentence. It was a chaotic maelstrom of too much information, from too many factions, with conjecture and opinion driving the discussion so that trying to find the facts was next to impossible. The truth was literally impossible to discern. There was no objectivity.
The government was an impossible contradiction as well. Barak Obama inherited the problems of the Wall Street crash that was caused by the two administrations before him. Narcissistic, petty, selfish, immoral and corrupt politicians now dominate our country’s governing bodies. The stalemate between Republicans and Democrats that began in 2008 is now that much worse. Since the events of September 11, 2001, It has been like watching our world gone mad.
I knew I had to pull it together. I knew I could make it work but the stress of our situation and negative emotional energy was a huge strain. How could I go back to work with 3 children who still needed me on a daily basis? I was unskilled having left the workplace in 1997. What would I do??
I would figure it out; I just needed to turn off the television, calm down and make a plan.
The holidays came and went. We entered 2009 with a bleak outlook and no workable plan on the table to bring the country through this horrible mess. These problems would take years to rectify. Just like the morning of 9/11, I knew we had a very long road ahead of us and were years away from anything that looked like stability. But deep in the recesses of my once-again traumatized mind, I new one day it would be okay.