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Natural Disaster Hoping For An Answer - Parkersburg Tornado

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New Here
To start i'm new here and want to say hello to everyone that's reading this.

So, here's my deal. Last year my high school was blown away by an EF5 tornado. Yes.... the Parkersburg tornado.

Ever since then I am terrified of staying in my home during a severe storm (this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I live in Iowa). I fear for the lives of my two wonderful children and the life of my lovely wife as well as myself anytime I hear even the words "Severe Thunderstorm Watch."

Even as I type this there is a Tornado Watch that my home isn't even a part of and I'm terrified that the weather forecasters are wrong and the storms will hit my house.

Would you say this is a symptom of PTSD or is it just a phobia that I need to face and get over? I'm very confused at the moment. My wife is at her wits end from it and I'm sure that this isn't the way that a father should act around his very impressionable two year old son.

Any serious responses would be wonderful
Thanks in advance.
Disclaimer to be clear: It's not appropriate to self diagnose or for you to get a diagnosis from sufferers or carers on the internet. So I won't provide one. Please keep in mind that everything below is just opinion. I am NOT a licensed professional by any means.

Now, to me, several key criteria for PTSD exist in what you have described:

- You faced a life threatening trauma that was well outside the ordinary range of experience.

- It happened more than six months ago and your fears and anxieties related to the trauma are persisting.

- How you describe your awareness of weather and expecting the worst--that the weathermen are wrong and your family is at risk--sounds a lot to me like a manifestation of what is called "hypervigilance" (a state where the central nervous symptom does not slow down, stress hormones keep flowing at high rates as you constantly prepare internally for the worst, and meanwhile parts of the CNS get a bit fried and rewired)

- And it also sounds like there is a touch of shame about these symptoms and states of mind, which believe it or not is also a symptom of PTSD.

SO, all that together, not providing any diagnosis, if you would like to heal from your trauma, it may be a good idea to seek out a professional opinion on the matter. Is there anyplace you can go? Has any aide been provided to survivors of this or other tornado "strikes" in general? (It sounds like you live at the north end of Tornado alley if I am recalling my central US geography correctly.)

One thing to keep in mind, even if your symptoms don't lead to a diagnosis of full blown PTSD, that in NO WAY diminishes the trauma you experienced and the problems that haunt you still. And it is my understanding that some of the same treatments used for PTSD can also be used to help all trauma survivors "get over" or "get through" their lingering symptoms.

Hope this helps and welcome to the forum.


~ Blues
Hi Echoside
I don't think it's either ptsd or a phobia, I think it's common sense.
You've witnessed the power and danger of a tornado so you worry about keeping you and your family safe.
What is it you do though, why does your fear of storms put your wife at her wits end?
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