USA: 9/11 survivor talks of long battle with PTSD



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9/11 survivor Kayla Berenon shared her continuous struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) ahead of the 20th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre. Berenon gave the interview in her home on Tuesday in Atlanta.

Berenon used to serve as a director of public affairs for the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and had her office in the north tower of the WTC when the planes hit the buildings in 2001.
Only in 2017 was she diagnosed with PTSD, after she received a DUI for driving under influence and had to take part in a recovery community programme for substance abuse that later helped to make the diagnosis.

The survivor made serious allegations against the government regarding caring for civil victims of the incident.

“I think a lot of people assume in the public that everyone who impacted has been helped by the government. And there’s a finite number of people who were impacted who were directly in the building or provided services- the firefighter in the aftermath. But the civilian survivors have been just left behind and it’s a tragedy and for the government, our elected officials to pretend that everyone is taken care of, is incorrect,” she stated.

President of the United States Joe Biden recently announced a new declassification review of the documents related to the attack on the twin towers, including the classified documents about the role of Saudi Arabia.

TRANSCRIPT

Kayla Bergeron, 9/11 survivor:

“My name is Kayla Bergeron. I served as director of public affairs for the port authority of New York and New Jersey. On September 11, 2001, I was at my desk of the North Tower of the World Trade Center.”

“In some ways I feel numb and I’m doing all these things that I should be doing and so PTSD doesn’t go away, but it lessens in intensity.”

“I did not get a diagnosis until 2017 and that came through me getting a DUI, driving under the influence, but the program here in Forsyth County in Georgia, it was through that program that I got the diagnosis.

“And I graduated last July from that program and when COVID hit. I realised that with my PTSD I couldn’t be moping around, so I started volunteering at this place called ‘The connection.’”

“‘The Connection’ is a place, a recovery community organisation, so if you’re struggling with substance abuse, we help to connect you with resources.”

“When you have two DUI’s, you think your life is over, your professional life; who is going to give you another chance, when in fact, it’s changed my life, and so, I’m grateful.”

“The civilian survivors had been left behind and I think a lot of people assume, in the public, that everyone who was impacted has been helped by the government and there is a finite number of people who were impacted, who were directly in the building or provided services, the firefighters and the aftermath. But the civilian survivors have just been left behind and it’s a tragedy and for the government or elected officials to pretend that everyone is taken care of is incorrect.”

“Even now as a survivor if I call the World Trade Centre Health Network today, I wouldn’t get a person on the phone. They don’t even have certified or licenced therapists anymore, they’ve cut, and as I said, if you call today, you are going to have to leave a message. The health care in our system, the health care system in the United States is supposed to be one of the finest, yet we had this horrific tragedy on American soil and now we’ve got elected officials pretending it’s over, that everyone’s taken care of.”

“These are the same politicians who said: ‘Never forgive, never forget,’ walking around with their little flags. That’s why I’m not going to New York for this anniversary. I’ve been four or five times, I’ve spoken at the opening of the museum, but the hypocrisy on display is disgusting, so I’m staying in Atlanta.”

“My personal opinion is, I don’t think we should have withdrawn, and it’s another lesson learned. We never finished the job with the Taliban.”

“On the other hand, if we are going to withdraw, that’s a policy question, maybe we don’t need to be the police of the world. But we better get everybody out, including the interpreters who put their lives on the line to help Americans and now their families are in danger.”

“I’m glad for the declassification of the documents, it’s been a long time in coming. I hope the documents are complete. I’m looking forward in seeing them.”

#September11 #TwinTowers #NYC

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