A girl’s fear is a real fear
A 13-year-old from Georgia is the youngest person ever to be diagnosed with a severe form of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Her father, William Collins, was one of the first people diagnosed with PTSD in the US.
Collins was a teenager at the time of the attacks in September 2001.
He is now 60 and is living in California, where he is working as a teacher.
He says his mother always kept her secret from him.
‘My parents didn’t want to share what they were going through,’ he said.
‘But they did.
They told me they would get me help if I ever needed it.’
Collins says his mom kept a journal of her experiences as a child.
She recorded everything she did and said and it was a kind of diary.
Collins has been told by psychologists and psychiatrists that the diary is the most effective therapy for him.
His mother, Carol, says she was so afraid of her son’s mental health problems, she couldn’t even walk into a house without him.
It was a tough time.
I was afraid of him, I was scared of everything that was going on around me, she said.
And then when he started going to therapy, I just wanted to die.
She is now 73.
She said she was afraid her son would go back to school.
She says she and her husband were so worried about him and he was just too scared to talk about it.
I had to keep telling my husband, ‘Look, I love you, I’m going to keep my word, and I’m not going to go back,’ she said, describing how she feared she would be caught in the middle of a conflict with her son.
I have been told, you know, that this is what you do to your children.
That’s how I know he’s not going back.
But he was afraid, he was scared to go to school, and he went to school and went home.
Collins says he and his mother met after he was diagnosed with the disorder in 2007.
‘I was in a hospital bed with my hands cuffed behind my back,’ he recalled.
‘And I said, ‘I’m going back to my mother because I know you love me.’
And I had just got back from the hospital, and she was crying and I was saying, ‘Yes, I am coming back to you.’
And she said ‘I love you,’ and I said ‘Yes’.’ I got back to the house, she had been crying for three hours and she said to me, ‘Well, I will come back, I’ll go back and I’ll tell my son.’
So I took her back and we sat on the couch and she hugged me and kissed me and hugged me, and it just made me cry, I thought.
‘ I’ve had so much fear.’
Collins has a PhD in psychology, but says he doesn’t think he is ready for the full burden of PTSD.
‘When I first came home from the war, I had PTSD.
It’s still not normal.
It is something that you have to be prepared for,’ he explained.
Collins said he feels a lot of pain because of the trauma he experienced as a soldier.
He said he lost his job, he lost a friend, and his wife has not returned to work in the past five years.
Collins is still haunted by the memories.
He recalls that one day he went back to his home and it seemed like it was the last time he was going to be able to do anything.
‘The next day I walked into the house and I found out it was gone,’ he recalls.
‘It was just gone.’
Collins is now an author and a teacher and wants to help others who suffer from PTSD.
He and his family are hoping that by sharing his story they will help to dispel myths that may have kept people from getting help for themselves.