Symptom Media

Trauma Assessment A-6

Chase was recently the victim of a shooting during which he was injured and his girlfriend lost her life. He is a bit defensive and agitated at times, but still provides elaborated answers. He demonstrates being someone who is currently having enormous difficulty moving forward from the trauma. Chase believes there is no solution available for coping. He describes withdrawing from work and social life, sometimes just “wanting to disappear.” He describes feelings of helplessness and distractibility. He reports that he tried drugs and alcohol to cope but found those sometimes help a little whereas at other times they lead to an adverse reaction: worsening of his feelings. This is the first time Chase has talked to someone about the traumatic incident and the aftermath.

Trauma Assessment A-6

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[OFF CAMERA]: Can you describe for me what you did to try to prevent the trauma that’s happened to you?

[CHASE]: You mean like what happened at the shooting or preventing myself from having it on my mind?

[OFF CAMERA]: What happened at the shooting exactly.

[CHASE]: I was uh on empty. I needed to fill up on some gas. I went to the gas station, and we were inside. My girlfriend was getting some chips and soda. I was at the register. And the three guys came in, and one of them was waving his gun around in the air, handling his business with the clerk, and he told everyone else to get on the ground, Jess, person that she is, you know, she pulls out her phone, and she wants to call the cops, and one of the gunmen saw her pull out her phone, and he pointed his gun at her and asked her to put the phone down. She did. And me being the stupid guy I am, of course, decides to jump on top of her as if he’s going to shoot her. She probably startled him, and next thing I know two shots are fired.

[OFF CAMERA]: When you realized you couldn’t avoid the trauma, did you freeze up?

[CHASE]: Once it was said and done, you know, I… There was a lot of blood on the ground, and I thought it was mine, and I wish some of it was, but I saw the stain in her blouse. I tried to say something, and I just… Nothing came out.

[OFF CAMERA]: What happened in your body during the trauma?

[CHASE]: I can’t remember exactly. I guess I felt kind of tingly and whatnot. It happened really fast, you know.

[OFF CAMERA]: Can you remember what happened in your mind to protect you during the trauma?

[CHASE]: I kept telling myself that no this isn’t real, this isn’t real, you know. I’m gonna wake up. And well, then I didn’t wake up, and the pain was a little too real for it to be, you know, a bad dream or something like that.

[OFF CAMERA]: What did you do after the trauma to try to get your life back to normal?

[CHASE]: Back to normal? Back to normal? There is no normal. I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean.

[OFF CAMERA]: Well, have you tried to? Have you tried anything different?

[CHASE]: There’s no getting her back. There’s no changing what’s happened, you know? I don’t know. People are always, all these movies, you always see people trying to get things back to the way they were. Doesn’t work like that. Does not work like that.

[OFF CAMERA]: Can you describe any ways you’ve relived the trauma?

[CHASE]: That I want?

[OFF CAMERA]: Relived the trauma?

[CHASE]: Kinda do it every day. I can’t really control that.

[OFF CAMERA]: Can you describe any changes you made in your life due to the trauma such as avoiding people, developing mistrust, avoiding certain places or situations?

[CHASE]: Well, you keep saying trauma. What does that mean? Does that mean the fact that my girlfriend got shot and killed? Is that the trauma?

[OFF CAMERA]: Yeah, the whole situation that you’ve been through.

[CHASE]: Ways that I’ve relived it?

[OFF CAMERA]: I’m sorry?

[CHASE]: Ways that I’ve relived it?

[OFF CAMERA]: Uh, no ways that, any changes you’ve made because of it, if you’ve avoided certain people, or if you don’t trust people the same way.

[CHASE]: I don’t go out much anymore. That’s what you’re asking.

[OFF CAMERA]: Can you describe any successes you’ve achieved in coping with memories of the trauma?

[CHASE]: Coping. Coping. I don’t think there is coping. It’s something that’s happened. I don’t want to cope with it. I try to forget about it sometimes, and that doesn’t work. Sometimes I feel like I just want to disappear.

[OFF CAMERA]: What are you planning to do to focus more on the present and future rather than the past?

[CHASE]: That’s not my option. There’s not much I can do about that. Sometimes, you know,
your mind just wanders. I smoke here and there, you know. Take some pills, drink a little bit, and that sorta helps clear my mind a little bit I guess, but not really completely, and sometimes, it just makes me go fucking crazy.

[OFF CAMERA]: Have you been able to feel any sense of relief when you’re able to talk about the trauma to other people?

[CHASE]: I don’t talk about it much. This is like the first time I’m talking about it really.

[OFF CAMERA]: Do you feel any sense of relief now, talking about it?

[CHASE]: No.

[OFF CAMERA]: As you talked and worked dealing with the trauma, were you creating new and good memories about your work that could help override the bad feelings and memories?

[CHASE]: Can you repeat the question please?

[OFF CAMERA]: As you talked and worked dealing with the trauma, were you creating new and good memories about your work that could help override the bad feelings and memories?

[CHASE]: No. Not really. The more I talk about it, actually, the more vivid it is in my head. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for the court, to be honest. I would be in my house.

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