According to articles published by NPR, Orlando Weekly and a local ABC affiliate, survivors and the loved ones of people who died at the Orlando Pulse club shootings last summer still suffer from PTSD and other mental health issues as the country memorializes the one-year anniversary of the massacre.
An NPR piece profiling the first responders to the scene reports that many suffer debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder, and Ricardo Negron, a man who was at Pulse during the shootings, told local ABC affiliate WFTS that the events that night split his life into two.
“There’s pre-Pulse Ricardo, and post-Pulse Ricardo in terms of what I do with my life,” Negron told WFTS.
That night, 49 people were killed by shooter Omar Mateen at the popular gay nightclub, and countless others suffered bodily injury. To add to it, those who witnessed the events either as clubgoers, medical or police professionals and their families have also dealt with the emotional and mental brunt of massacre.
“The biggest problem that we have when we have a traumatic event is we want to go back to ‘normal,'” Dr. David Baker-Hargrove, a therapist who specializes in LGBTQ issues in Orlando, told WFTS. “There is no normal again ever in the way that it existed before. It’s really the discovery of what the new normal is.”
“There’s the moments you can’t control,” Gerry Realin, one of the first medical responders at the crime scene last year, told NPR. “The images or flashbacks or nightmares you don’t even know about, and your wife tells you the next day you were screaming or twitching all night.”
Realin, along with other first responders, told NPR that they suffer from major PTSD from that night’s events that can be triggered at any time.
Watch video of Negron and others speaking about the traumatic events at the Pulse below, via WFTS.