Residents say PTSD could be a problem in West - KXXV Central Texas News Now

Residents say PTSD could be a problem in West


West residents will feel the loss from the explosion for years to come.

That's according to two West residents still forced to stay in the Best Western. Heather Giblet and Patricia Lyon say they were there the night of the explosion. Giblet says she saw a woman hit hard with glass from the explosion and possibly dying.

"It was scary, probably the scariest thing I've ever been through in my life," Giblet said. "It's traumatizing all the way around for everybody and I don't know anybody is going to be totally over it. I think it changed everybody in some form or another."

Giblet says they're just trying to live life after the explosion. However, it sticks with them. Giblet says even the sound of thunder can give her a jolt.

"It just changes your life forever, the noise alone, the boom will never leave my mind, my kids are scared to sleep alone now, things like that," Giblet said.

James Ellor with the McLennan County Health Department and Baylor University says he's worked with a lot of people in West who are feeling the effects of the explosion not just financially but mentally.

"At this point what we're seeing is far more anxiety coming out of this. Some of my team have worked with families with children who won't play with their toys because they're afraid they'll blow up," Ellor said.

Ellor says there are stages of stress and high anxiety is one of the lower levels. He says when you combine a big stress like the explosion with another life changing event, then that compounding can lead to post traumatic stress or PTSD. Ellor says that may happen, but probably not until down the road.

"The goal in grief isn't to somehow forget, the goal in grief is to be able to process it so that it doesn't disable you," Ellor said.

But Giblet and Lyon say PTSD is likely for many residents.

"I think it's going to affect a lot of people, as far as post traumatic, I do," Giblet said.

However, Giblet says the town has the support of each other and they help one another get through tough times. Giblet and Lyon say they won't go through PTSD, calling themselves the lucky ones.

"It's the ones that had to bury their loved ones and are still probably will never be emotionally, or physically and that's the ones that my heart goes out to," Giblet said.


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