Readers' Notes on Coping With Life After Sept. 11
Tuesday, September 25, 2001; Page HE02
How are you dealing with life in the aftermath of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington? We posted the question last week on www.washingtonpost.com. Soon we had received more than 150 e-mails from people throughout the area and around the world describing their personal strategies and responses.
Even as we all move past the first wave of emotion, people will continue to face the challenges and problems of daily living in a post-Sept. 11 world. We want you to keep telling us how you're adjusting, in ways large and small, physical and emotional, mundane and profound. For details on how and what to submit, see the "Life Lines" box on Page F1.
Here are excerpts from some of the early replies:
I find my solace in a pair of running shoes and in the simple realization of being an American. After [college] classes have ended and the last page has been turned for the night, I run through the streets of our city. My mind clears, my pain lifts, and for a moment I accept that my life has changed. – David D. Glynn, Charlottesville
I cope by gently reminding myself that not one of us has a guaranteed contract on life. Human history is the story of pain and suffering; I have been in the minuscule minority that has almost entirely avoided it for 41 years now. . . . Every moment of peace – time with my three beautiful children, my morning meditation, a walk in Rock Creek Park – is more of a joy than before. . . . The only thing that continues to make me deeply sad is knowing that my children won't live in the peaceful world I've enjoyed. – T.A. Thompson, Silver Spring
I don't ordinarily think of the church much, but I found myself in a church one night last week asking questions, and not of myself. – Phil Elliott, Washington
I'm finding solace and comfort in my family and my God. . . . I'm a mother of five children between 3 and 13 years old, so I'm very concerned how the world will be when they grow up. – Karen Jo Webster, Woodbridge
Coping? I guess I'm coping. I don't sleep well. I cry. I pray. . . . No, I plead. I read foreign newspapers instead of my horoscope in the morning. – Lisa Santiago-Tyler, Austin
I rediscovered the joy of watching my children play, the comfort of having my husband home at night, and the simple but awesome pleasure of a sunset. . . . I have fallen in love with my country in a way that I never have before because I took so much for granted. . . . I am allowing myself to grieve but heal, to feel fear but discover courage, to question but then to have faith. I have found strength in my Lord, my family and my country. I feel like a stronger citizen, and more fit mother, and a better person. – Susan Lloyd, Charleston, S.C.
I finally felt at peace when my [American University] fraternity decided to have a fundraiser for the Red Cross. We made hundreds of memorial ribbons and set up in front of the main activity center at AU with a fireman's boots to take in donations. After four hours, the ribbons were all gone but the money kept coming in. – Greg Goodman, New York
© 2001 The Washington Post Company
_____ Counseling Resources _____
U.S. Justice Department family assistance center's victim hot line, 800-331-0075
The National Center for Victims of Crime, operates a comprehensive database of community services agencies throughout the country that directly support victims of crime. 1-800-FYI-CALL.
D.C. Department of Mental Health community-based sites , including the Northwest Family Center, 202-673-2042, and the Child and Family Therapy SE Center, 202-645-3600.
D.C. public schools has established two hot lines to help people cope. The line for children is 202-442-7699, and the line for parents who need advice on how to talk to their children is 202-442-5674.
Grief and Spiritual Counseling Center Priests and professional counselors will be available from 10 a.m to 2 p.m. The center is located at the Our Lady of Lords Catholic Church, 830 South 23rd Street, Arlington, Va., 703-841-3835.
Officials at the Pentagon are asking Army personnel assigned to the Pentagon on Sept. 11 (or families trying to locate their loved ones) to call 1-800-984-8523 or 703-428-0002. Navy and Marine personnel assigned to the Pentagon should call 1-877-663-6772.
A hotline for complaints of verbal and physical assaults against
Muslims, Arab-Americans and other minorities has been established by the U.S. government. The hotline number is
The National Mental Health Awareness Campaign, 877-495-0009
The Office of Victims of Crime has established a hotline at 1-800-331-0075 to leave contact information to get more details about victims and survivors.
Family members of any victims can call the Washington Hospital Center at (202) 784-2264. Other victims have been taken to other area hospitals with various injuries.
The American Psychological Association's Referral Line, 800-964-2000.
Arlington County has a 24-hour Mental Health Services Mobilization Center where trained mental health professionals help people dealing with emotional trauma. Officials are also organizing supports and emotional meetings throught the country that will begins sometime this week. To talk to a mental health professional or to find out about group sessions, call 703-228-5160.
The Community Service Board of Fairfax County will schedule support groups, led by a mental health professional, for peolple who have not lost a family member of friend but are experiencing distressing feelings after the terrorist actions. Groups are open to residents of Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church. To learn more, call 703-799-2723.
Grief and Spiritual Counseling Center, Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic Church. Priests and professional counselors are available from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday. Open to anyone. To learn more, call 703-841-3835.
Virginia Hospital Center has a hot line families can call at (703) 558-6763.
Crisis and Family Stress Hotline, 202-223-2255.
Montgomery County Hotline, 301-315-4000.
Prince George's County Hotline, 301-864-7233.
Frederick County Hotline, 301-662-2255.
_____ Live Online Transcripts _____
Children and Disasters: Jacqui Salmon and guest Stanley I. Greenspan, M.D., clinical professor of psychiatry at George Washington University medical school, talked to readers about how to explain the events to children.
Coping With Grief: John Weaver, grief counselor for the American Red Cross in Pennsylania, talked about how survivors, relatives, rescue workers and observers around the country can handle the emotional trauma in the aftermath of the attacks.