FORT HOOD (KRLD) — The survivors of the 2009 Fort Hood shooting thought they could finally put that nightmare to rest — until the recent shooting at the base started it all over again.
“When the incident happened, it brings you right back there,” says Pfc. James Armstrong, who was shot twice by Major Nidal Hasan. “I don’t think there’s one day you can go by and not relive it… the smells, the sounds, certain things that people say. When this incident happened again, it left many questions as to why? and how?”
He’s not the only one with questions. Retired Lt. Colonel Richard Brunk was a first responder to the shooting five years ago.
“I was on a computer and a picture flashed on of somebody being treated at this shooting scene and suddenly I was right back there,” says Brunk. ” I went to see my doctor yesterday and you feel like you’re back at square one. I have a combination of PTSD, traumatic brain injury and depression. A lot of the people who were injured at Fort Hood five years ago have life long debilitating injuries… and then suddenly this happens and its like the survivors and their families are starting over emotionally.”
And Maryanne Bell, a Counselor in Killeen who treats many soldiers who survived the shooting, says her patients are experiencing the same thing.
“You’re seeing a lot of the victims, even the ones that I work with who’ve been through a lot of therapy, being re-triggered again,” says Bell, who says the victims are essentially becoming traumatized all over again. “The sensory information gets stored in your brain – sights, smells, sounds, pictures. So in that part of your brain, anything that happens in the present that reminds you of something in the past, it’s automatically going to send it back into thinking that you’re still in that same situation.”
Another problem might simply be that the survivors of the first shooting haven’t had enough time to cope with their ordeal, says Brunk.
“They never had a chance to get over the shooting because it was in the press, they were called to testify in the trial. Then the trial went on and on and then suddenly this shooting happens.”
If you or a loved need mental health services related to the Fort Hood Shootings, you’re advised to contact the Fort Hood Garrison’s Chaplains Office.
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