Monday, October 29, 2001

Stress disorder elusive, treatable

By Randy Tucker
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It's hard to blame Kellie Greene for losing sleep and crying uncontrollably after she was brutally raped by a stranger inside her Orlando, Fla., apartment in 1994. But she did.

        She blamed herself for not being able to control her thoughts and emotions, for not being able to move past her mood swings and feelings of disorientation and isolation despite seeing a rape counselor for five months.

        “I thought I was crazy,” said Ms. Greene, now an advocate for rape victims and a national spokeswoman for the Pfizer/YWCA Moving Past Trauma — Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) Community Outreach Program.

        Ms. Greene, 36, will speak to a group of mental health professionals Tuesday at the YWCA of Cincinnati downtown as part of the national campaign.

        She said it wasn't until she saw a psychiatrist at the urging of her mother and boyfriend that she finally came to grips with the tragedy that changed her life forever.

        “I was diagnosed with PTSD as a result of the rape,” she said. "That made me feel better because I knew I wasn't crazy. It's a treatable medical condition. It's something that you don't have to continually suffer from.”

        Ms. Greene said her visit to Cincinnati is intended to help professionals better recognize the symptoms of PTSD and better understand how to support trauma victims, as well as themselves.

        She said many medical professionals and emergency workers —including dozens of Tristate area residents who traveled to New York and Washington, D.C. to help with relief and rescue efforts following the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks —may be suffering from PTSD and not even know it.

        Simply witnessing the aftermath of violent or traumatic event — as many of the rescue workers did — can lead to the development of posttraumatic stress disorder, she said.


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