When people think of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), they relate it to military personnel that have experience combat. Yet, PTSD is defined as a serious potentially debilitating condition that can occur in people who have experienced or witnessed a natural disaster, serious accident, terrorist incident, sudden death of a loved one, war, violent personal assault such as rape, or other life-threatening events. PTSD can happen to anyone and with the events that occurring in today’s world, is at an all time high.
Today, I invited my friend Aaron Price back to tell his experience. I thank him for his bravery and his willingness to share.
A Life Ends, A Life Begins
In an effort to talk about PTSD and how it affects millions of people, including our veterans and current serving soldiers, I will share a story that still affects me to this day. I still have nightmares and flashbacks of a time where my life changed. I remember it like it was yesterday, and it still has left a scar in my mind that has been hard to let go.
It was the year, 2000, I was a high school junior that was heavily active in sports. I remember this particular day because it was a week before I turned 17 years of age. I was in South Minneapolis with my brothers, my cousins, and many of our friends. We were sitting outside my uncle’s home getting ready to go to Martin Luther King Park to play basketball. Something about the situation did not seem right because we were sitting outside in my brother’s Ford Bronco for about 45 minutes with a crowd of family and friends. I didn’t understand why we were sitting here so long; I thought we would have already been at the park by now.
People began blasting music in their cars, laughing and joking, like a small block party of sorts without the blocked off streets. I felt like we were never going to get to the park at this rate. Started hearing firecrackers going off, but was it firecrackers? Next thing you know I started to hear the sounds of metal hitting steel. Everything was in slow motion, from my brother pushing my head down while glass from his truck was flying, to my twin brother jumping out the other side of the truck. This had to be most surreal moment I have ever experienced in my life at this point.
Somehow 6 people miraculously got out of my brother’s truck in seconds. My twin brother, one of my cousins, and friend ran down the street, while my older brother and I sat on the side of his truck hearing the rounds of bullets connect with truck. I remember asking my brother “Is this it? Is this where our life ends?” while we sit patiently listening to the hammering of metal destroy his vehicle. He just looked at me with this blank stare as he shook his head in amazement.
When the hammering stopped, we heard the tires of a car screech loudly as is rode off quickly. I sat there thinking I could not believe I survived such an encounter. As my brother walked from the side of the truck, I followed closely. The moment we went to see just how much damage was done to his truck, we also noticed one of my cousin’s friends lying in the middle of the street with two bullets in his head.
All I could do is stare at the lifeless body of a man who I was just playing basketball with a few days prior. So many bullets were shot that afternoon, it felt like they wanted someone dead, and they got it. I can remember I stood there looking at him until an ambulance and police showed up. Then it occurred to me that we all could have been him. I had nightmares almost every day for a year after that happened. To this day, I still have nightmares about that day, knowing that moment changed my life forever.
I began truly living as if each day could be my last. That’s why I have involved myself in so much to make sure that my life was not lived in vain. My parents could have buried me, my brothers, and cousins all in one afternoon. So in conclusion, Love Fearlessly, Live Fearlessly, because tomorrow is not promised my friends. People have to live with moments like mine and in other cases, worse. People deserve our help if needed, and please provide what you can because you never know who’s life you can change for the better.
Aaron Price-CLMG, Writer, Photographer, Videographer