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Back from Africa

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Rachael, Mar 30, 2007.

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  1. Rachael

    Rachael New Member

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    Hey All,
    I am not sure if my previous post worked. I am new here. My name is Rachael. And I am a 21 year old university student from NY. I recently spent some time in Africa specifically Rwanda, Ethiopia and the Congo. My life has not been the same since returning. I had been in the hospital with possible malaria but it turned out just to be an infection from travel. I know have constant thoughts about Rwanda and the genocide. I dream away the day thinking about everything that happened to my friends in Rwanda. I visit the faces of people who were hacked in my mind. And in the shower I think of the people who hid in the shower that I used while in Rwanda. I have serious anxiety problems when I go places I become angry at strangers for being happy. I get really scared at any loud noises but the scariest for me is silence when I sense this doom. I wonder about death all the time and wonder what why I am leaving and the little childern of Kibuye are not. I cant find any laughter anymore and my family has started to become upset by my depression. I am only 21 and I want to live life again. I want to be happy. In Africa I worked in the bush in fear of attack all the time from stories told to me even though I knew I would be safe. i feel as though I served in the military and I cannot communicate with people my age. Men in Rwanda have made me very angry at the atrocities they committed on the women in Kigali and the country. mass rapings. I was finally able to admit that I had been raped my first year of University by a former friend of mine. I had so much strength in Africa and now I feel like I am weak and not worth the life that I have. I want to go back to Africa and help "my childern" but I feel so sad I cry and cry.
     
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  3. Rachael

    Rachael New Member

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    Having a Good Day Today - Rwanda PTSD

    Reading other people's stories really seems to help. I thought ptsd only happened to people in the military. My Dr. formally diagnosed me today and hopefully I am on the road to recovery. Last night I had a dream that I was shot by the interehamwe which were the killing squads during the genocide in Rwanda in 1994. They had been chasing my dad and my brother. I was shot in the neck and I couldnt get medical treatment. My dad deid in the deam. I could sense this impending doom, like so many tutsi knew death was coming during the genocide. I am working on a documentary right now dealing with Rwanda and the after effects on mental health, which is actually really helping me. Dealing with my own issues has been hard beacuse I dont really like to talk about it. I feel really weak for crying. I went in to a book store today and my heart was beating so fast when I looked around at people, but I found a small corner and read from the economist and started to calm down. sometimes I feel like I have anxiety for no reason at all. I feel like I am going to die or someone is going to attack me before I can do what I want to do in life, which is help childern in Rwanda. So i try and do everything really fast , like tests, and work and running. Actually, running really helps for a time I dont think about anything. Does exercise work for anyone else? Every night I have had a dream about death or dieing or the genocide, I wake up drenched in sweat, is this normal? maybe tonight will be differnt. I only told my mother I had been raped when I was a freshman. After that I felt so dirty sometimes when I am in the shower I rubb my face a million times and eyes and yell at myself to get over it. I feel like this has seriously hurt my relatioships and future ones. Hmmmm, Hoping everyone else on the board is doing well. must go now.
     
  4. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Rachael, welcome to the forum.
     
  5. Linda

    Linda Well-Known Member

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    Hi Rachael, and welcome to the forum. I hope you find an oppurtinity to work toward your healing here.
    Were you born in Africa, or just visited there? I have of friends from Nigeria and from Cape Verde here.
     
  6. reallydown

    reallydown I'm a VIP

    Hi Rachael, welcome to the forum. I'm also a student trying to deal with school and all this...it's exhausting...I can relate to feeling like you're gonna die or like somehting will happen to prevent you from doing what you want. I have trouble imagining myself making it to age 30...but, some days are better than others. Hang in there.

    RD
     
  7. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    Hi Rachael. I also relate to feeling like I'm going to die before I'm 30 (I'm 23), but things are getting better for me since I started working on my trauma. What happened in Rwanda was truly terrible. My father was a UN peacekeeper in Rwanda during the genocide. Anyways welcome to the forum, I hope you enjoy your time here.
     
  8. Marlene

    Marlene I'm a VIP Premium Member

    Welcome to the forum, Rachael.
     
  9. cookie

    cookie I'm a VIP

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    hey rachel, welcome to the forum.
     
  10. moki

    moki Guest

    Hi Rachael,
    Please try not to feel weak about all the crying. It's not a weakness, but a manifestation of your fear, anxiety and grief. Everybody's got to go through it when they've suffered some kind of trauma, normal or abnormal.

    Does it relieve tension for you at least?
     
  11. willing

    willing Active Member

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    Rachael,
    Welcome and what a time you are having. But congratulations on getting help. Hopefully your family can get on board too. Running really has saved me and drinking lots of water. Running with music...there is nothing better when in that zone. I saw the Frontline on Rwanda and then two movies so I can't imagine being there and seeing it first hand. I relate too about the death thing. I am petrified of dying so much so that some times I just want it to end now. But I keep plugging away and knowing that it is not all in my head makes me relieved because I thought I was going crazy.
    See you around,
    Patty
     
  12. batgirl

    batgirl I'm a VIP

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    I'm a bit confused now. Rachael were you in Rwanda during the actual genocide? Or you visited there later on? I know you said you're from NY but were you from Rwanda originally and then immigrated to the US? Sorry for all the questions but I am especially interested as my dad was in Rwanda during the genocide, and would be interested to talk with others about it.
     
  13. Rachael

    Rachael New Member

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    Hey All and batgirl,
    I was born in NY, yes. I lived in Rwanda for a time working as a student with a local NGO that worked with orphans of the genocide. I was not born in Rwanda, no , but I have many friends that I consider my family whom are there. These next couple of days will be very difficult as my e-mail has become flooded with friends expressing there sadness during this commemorative time. April, 7th, as you know is the anniversary of the beginning of the genocide. These past couple days I have been having more nightmares about the genocide and headaches. Thank You every one for the welcome and kind words. will write more, feeling very tired right now.
    cheers.
     
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