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9/11 Survivor with PTSD Reacts to Latest NYC Terror Attack

2 years 4 months 4 weeks ago Wednesday, November 01 2017 Nov 1, 2017 November 01, 2017 10:02 PM November 01, 2017 in News

WESLACO – A mental health expert explained the repeated attacks may trigger symptoms in people suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Josane Digiampietro is a New Yorker to the bone. She was born and raised in Brooklyn and plans to spend the rest of her life in the city that never sleeps.

Sept. 11, 2001 was a day she said she will never forget.

She found herself in the middle of a living nightmare as a 19-year-old on her way to class.

"It was awful. It was the worst day of my life to date. Scary is an understatement,” Digiampietro explains. “I remember coming out of the subway and everything was just... it seemed like a lot of smoke and nobody really knew what was going on at that point.”

Digiampietro said she's grateful to have survived that horrific terrorist attack. 

As a result of the experience, she developed PTSD.

One of her symptoms is paralyzing fear of crossing bridges and entering tunnels.

She said she's still battling with the disorder 16 years later.

"I remember the first time going over a bridge like months later, and I was hyperventilating to a point that I just saw white. People were talking, but it was almost like it was a different language because I couldn't even hear them," described Digiampietro.

Digiampietro said she was at work when the news of Tuesday's attack was breaking.

She explained while others around her were slightly affected she felt on high alert. Her anxiety was heightened. She was in a state of hyper awareness.

Ricardo Tovar, a mental health specialist, told CHANNEL 5 NEWS it is common for people suffering from PTSD to find themselves re-triggered after learning of terrorist attacks.

"It can affect them dramatically. They may think that they are kind of coasting in the clear and they turn on the television and they hear about this and it can turn them right back to where they were at the beginning with the anxiety, the nightmares," Tovar said.

Tovar explained people suffering from PTSD may turn to self-medicating as way of lowering the symptoms.

He said that can lead to drug, sex or food addictions among others.

He said if someone with PTSD finds themselves re-triggered, it is imperative you seek help.

"So that really the main thing is seek help. Don't just live with this and think it's normal. If you don't think it's normal and it's affecting you than talk to your doctor talk to your consular," Tovar told CHANNEL 5 NEWS.

Tovar explained in the correct hands people whose PTSD is triggered may regain control over their disorder by different behavioral therapies or antidepressant medication.

Digiampietro told CHANNEL 5 NEWS she's a fighter and refuses to lose her battle with her PTSD.

She explained she will continue to love life and the city she calls home.

Tovar also recommends people suffering from PTSD stay away from social media, turn off news alerts on their phones and turn off the television during terrorist attacks to better control their disorder.

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