Twenty years ago, Steve Silva of La Ponte had such a terrible day, he may never be the same.
It was 9/11, and he was there: When a hijacked plane hit the stairs on the 44th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center at 9:03 AM, 17 minutes after a plane hit the North Tower.
Nearly 3,000 people were killed in the attack that day.
Silva is talking about this, but the emotional makeup of Nogales High School and University of California Berkeley graduates in 1992 took his own blow.
“A few weeks after the incident, I went to see a psychologist, and since then I have been on and off, just to maintain myself, just so that someone can talk about it,” Silva said.
However, there is more to it. Silva was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“I have all the symptoms. I can’t sleep; I don’t want to eat; I have nightmares; I am very aware of being close to tall buildings or bridges or any places that I think may be dangerous. I have anxiety. The first few years were very bad.
“A lot better.”
He recalled going to Los Angeles shortly after returning from New York.
“The first few years were a bit strange,” Silva said. “When I went to downtown Los Angeles after coming back from New York-because I was only there on business-when I started looking at the tall buildings, driving through Los Angeles made me a little dizzy. It just kind of disappointed me.”
At this time of year, Silva feels the same.
The cross he will bear
“It’s like a pendulum from mid-August to midnight on September 11. I just feel this heavy,” 47-year-old Silva said in a gloomy tone.
Then it disappeared.
“This is the strangest thing. It was September 12th at midnight, and I felt good,” Silva said. “But in those two or three weeks, I just felt this heavy.”
He tried not to think about it, but…
“It’s like, well, it’s there, it’s a big event, and people will talk about it. They will want to hear me talk about it, and I will have to bring up these memories again,” he said.
“Every year, it’s a bit like digging this wound again. It will never heal because I dig it again every year. I think it’s just a burden for me, the cross I’m going to bear. It chose me .”
But death did not.
Decisions made in the stairwell
As a financial consultant, Silva received training for his then employer Morgan Stanley on the 61st floor in New York. After the first plane hit the North Tower, he began to descend. On the 45th floor, a voice in the loudspeaker announced information about the North Tower, but said that the South Tower was safe.
Silva said that although some people started walking up the stairs, someone told him it was a bad idea.
“I think it might just be the instinct of survivors, because I was in the stairwell,” he said. “I am the demarcation point. The people in front of me went downstairs and left the building, and the people behind me returned to their offices.”
The plane crashed on the 77th to 85th floors. At that time, he was in Building 44, on his way to survive.
Does he think he is lucky to be alive? In the first few years, he thought a lot.
“Every once in a while, do you know?” Silva said. “I don’t think about that all day long. You know, it’s mainly because this kind of thought may appear once or twice a day.”
When Silva was asked if there was one thing that stood out more than everything else that day, his answer was very convincing.
“Oh yes, absolutely,” he said. “That was the moment when the second plane hit my tower. I was on the 44th floor when the plane hit, and there was only a huge roar. This is what I remember most. It was just an explosion, the roar of the plane hitting my building. .”
Silva comes from a family of five brothers and two sisters; he is the youngest brother. His brother Ricardo talked with concern about Steve’s plight. When he was asked what he thought he was doing psychologically, he said it.
“This is an interesting question because my brother never went home,” Ricardo Silva said. “I remember that before my brother went out, that person didn’t come back. It’s always obvious to me. I don’t know if it’s obvious to other family members, but for me, a person goes through something like this How come back?
“I mean, he told us all (those) that he lay there waiting to die.”
Ricardo Silva “always” cared about his brother. His brother can rely on him, he knows it. “Sometimes he will come home because he just wants to go out and play, I know what happened.
“I opened the door to him, let him in, we would sit there, we would watch anything on TV, just to help him relax.”
Ricardo Silva said it was frustrating because his brother was fighting his demons alone. His only help is his family and his psychologist. He also said that there is always a lot of discussion about first responders, but there are very few stories about tower survivors.
Ricardo Silva is still upset for Morgan Stanley’s failure to treat his brother after returning to work in the San Francisco office.
In fact, Steve Silva worked for Morgan Stanley for about five months before being fired for lack of production.
“I didn’t make it, it was impossible after going through what I did,” Steve Silva said. “I have post-traumatic stress disorder and I cannot fall asleep. I don’t want to wake up when I sleep.”
Steve Silva has since been working for Washington Mutual/Chase, Merrill Lynch, MassMutual Mutual and Prudential, who recently closed an office during the COVID-19 pandemic, causing Silva to become a Independent financial advisor.
APU psychologist interjects
Samuel Girguis is the PhD in Psychology and Director of the Clinical Psychology Program at Azusa Pacific University. He talked about the history of post-traumatic stress disorder.
“It originally came from the World War, so the initial understanding of PTSD was about a person surviving a life-threatening situation, but constantly being triggered by its reminders, returning to that place and feeling insecure again,” he said.
However, there is more to it.
Girguis said: “Some elements of existence are missing in the diagnosis of PTSD.” “So the guilt of survivors is a very real phenomenon. It raises the question, why are they and not me? Why is it the person I love instead of me? Why the person who has to experience it, why am I alive in a certain way?”
Kyrgyz does not know Steve Silva, but he said his symptoms—including his feelings on 9/11 and the impact on him near tall buildings—are classic “trauma reminders.”
“All of this brought him back there. So these are definitely psychological and physical reactions,” Kyrgyz said. “We call them traumatic stress responses.”
Generally speaking, Kyrgyzstan believes that in this situation, someone can return to their original position.
“This is why the treatment is so effective, it is the opportunity for a person to sit down and determine the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual impact of whatever they experience and move on,” he said. “I am an optimist. I have seen people move on from very difficult things.”
Steve Silva will never forget September 11, 2001. It is in his mind.
“No day passed it was more than just there.” He said he had learned to endure it. “And I kind of accept that this is the case,” he said.
The impact is profound.
“It changed me in some way, at least made me a more serious person,” Steve Silva said. “This makes me more aware of how fragile things are. In the world, things are not as stable as people think.”