… I now suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Lilapsophobia (the fear of Tornadoes/Hurricanes).
Reddit user Allman93 has taken to the social media site to tell a harrowing yet powerful survivor story about the time an EF-4 Tornado1 hit the family home of the reddit user.
1: the Tornado this Reddit user is talking about is the EF-4 that struck St. Louis on Good Friday – 22nd April 2011
Halfway/towards the end of the story, Allman93 talks about the after effects of the Tornado. However, we’re going to let you read about it. Not to spoil it.
So without further ado, here is Allman93’s story…
“It was Good Friday and around noon that day that a friend and I set off to the mall. On the way there we were bombarded by a huge hail storm. Well we got inside after it died down and did our shopping. When it was time to leave I called my dad and asked if it was safe to leave. He told me to wait 30 mins so we did. We got some Panda Express and then headed home.
Later that day, my mom came home around from my grandma’s house and cooked a quick dinner before the storm. We ate and then headed our separate ways. Around 7:30 my mom and little sister (7 at the time) came downstairs because my little sister was worried about the storm. So they sat in my brothers room (22 at the time) for the next 30 minutes before my littler sister begged my dad and older sister (26 at the time) to come down stairs. At approximately 8:20-8:30, my mom came in and said hey they said the tornado is on the ground moving towards us.
NOTE: It was suggested in the story that they were told to go to the laundry room to which Allman93 said ‘OK’. We don’t know who told the family to go to the laundry room so we’re excluding it that portion of the story.
Within the next minute, it got very loud. I got out of my gaming chair and headed to the laundry room with my XBOX 360 controller in hand and my headset on.
Not 10 seconds later it hit. The moment it started something happened to me. I saw flash in front of me a newspaper headline that said family of 6 dies in storm. It literally lasted a split second but I can still see it today. I immediately went into survival mode. I grabbed both my brother and my dad from the back of their collars and yanked me down. I think because of the pressure in the house made me feel as though we were being sucked up. After that it was no longer than 10 seconds before it was completely silent.
During those 10 seconds though it was the most horrifying sound and feeling I’ve ever heard or experienced. People say it sounds like a freight train, not in our experience. It sounded like a weed whacker. A ripping sound. With the most immense pressure you’ve ever felt. You could also hear the glass breaking, couches hitting walls, etc. It then went silent. For a good minute we just sat there and not a word was spoken. Then once we all realized we were all fine, we tried to leave the room, but the door was jammed shut.
We kicked it loose and then headed for the stairs. What we saw next was the most unnerving thing ever. We saw nothing but sky where there should be our house. Then as we got further up the stairs, we saw none of our neighbour’s home either. Having seeing that, we looked it back downstairs and started calling the police. Family members were trying and figure out what just happened because for whatever reason. Being hit by the tornado didn’t seem like the likely scenario.
We then had a first responder come yelling for us. We immediately came to the stairs and were given the all clear. As soon as we got to the living room, the sirens went off again. So we booked it back down stairs and seeked shelter for the next 45 minutes. During that time, I was trying convince my auntie that we were actually hit by a Tornado. She eventually believed us and we headed to her house for the night. Once we got there it was completely light-hearted and fun??
We sat around talking about it and eating good food. 2 am comes around, my brother and I we’re still awake and that’s when the event hit both of us like a ton of bricks. We all easily could’ve died if we were upstairs. The next day, we went back and we were not prepared for what we saw. For starters, I thought there would be a massive big scar in the ground from the tornado. Never saw that!
I also didn’t expect to see our couch in the tree in the front yard and the living room TV in the woods behind the house. There were lots of inconsistencies in what got picked up by the Tornado and what didn’t. One of the things that was let untouched was an old-time window with 6 panels. Another thing that was left untouched were the head shots of each of us in our family in a photo frame – untouched! Crazy!
Over the next week or so it was hectic.
We were going backwards and forwards between our old house and our rental house, all whilst trying to figure our lives out. Well, one of those days shortly after we were met with another tornado threat. It’s safe to say that’s when this whole situation sank in – this weather event truly affected us.
When we were trying to find a family member to take us in that had a basement, it was sheer hell for 8 hours until the severe weather threat passed. We did the same thing for the next 6 months, suffice to say it was pure hell. When a watch was issue, we all went straight to the basement for the watch’s duration. That’s how frightened we were!
October, we then moved into the house we live in now. It’s a beautiful home with a nice pool. It’s safe to say, we were loving life. That is until the next Tornado season (season) rolled around. We thought by that point we’d be fine, but that wasn’t the case:
- 2 years later: two sisters and dad overcome and become fine with the season.
- 3 years later: mom overcome and become fine with the season.
- 6 years later: brother overcome and became fine with the season.
I on the other hand am still not fine. I’m better, but I’m not fine. I get asked a lot about what it’s like to be in a tornado and everything that comes with that. However, I never get asked what it’s like to suffer from PTSD and Lilapsophobia (fear of Tornadoes) because of it.
So let me explain for you: My life from mid-February through about mid-June is pretty much pure hell for the most part. I tend to visit this site: spc.noaa.gov. Meteorologists tend to use this website to predict severe weather. However, I tend to use it as a way to figure out the low end and high end threats.
So, if one website says something that troubles me, I refer back to the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) website to either validate or discredit what the website (troubling me) says. I tend to use the SPC website as my trusted one source for one reason. They have no motive to hype anything. They simply want to keep people safe!
WELL LET’S RUN YOU THROUGH A WEEK OF HELL WITH ME!
I wake up and check the SPC’s website immediately – I check days 1, 2 & 3. I then go onto check their 4 – 8 day forecast. If I see any severe weather predicated for the mid MS valley (large area on both sides of the Mississippi river) or more specifically Missouri…
…I take myself to the bathroom to have stress diarrhoea (GRAPHIC: I KNOW BUT TRUE!). I then go onto read what the other outlets are saying – The Weather Channel etc. I also like to see what the locals are saying. Let’s just say – for example: If I just saw that on an 8 day forecast they’re predicating bad weather, I tend to go into ‘storm mode’. This tends to mean the following happens:
- Extremely introverted
- No appetite
- Extremely irritable
- No sleep – night sweats, nightmares
I tend to become obsessive about getting updates. So much so, I know every update time for the SPC website- including other outlets. It’s safe to say it’s literally pure hell. It’s also worth to say that by the time the day comes for a severe weather threat, another one is already looming.
Once Tornado season starts, it’s kind of like buckle in because it’s going to be hell for the next three to four months. During Tornado season, my family knows now not to talk to me. Don’t try even rationalising with me. I know that I’m thinking irrational but it’s in a somewhat panicked state.
I don’t know how to snap out of it to be completely honest. So instead of trying, my family just let me do me. I tend to sit and wait for updates, watch radars and always have a plan in place. I’ve tried to get help because obviously no one wants to feel like I do, however the psychiatrist I saw was condescending towards me. Suggesting rain is nothing to be afraid of.
That’s not my issue, OBVIOUSLY. However, the next psychiatrist I saw was the individual who diagnosed me with PTSD and Lilapsophobia. Until then, I have never heard of Lilapsophobia. However, this psychiatrist still didn’t do much but offer me medication. I refuse to take medication simply because I have super addictive personality and knowing me I’d likely abuse whatever medication what is given to me. I’ve tried my best to handle it myself however, I’ve gotta be honest… I SUCK…
…However, I’m still alive!
The major element that is keeping me going at the moment is my entire family – including parents sisters, brother and brother-in-law – have all agreed to move to Arizona as soon as possible.It’s safe to say I look forward to moving to Arizona!”
What a brilliant survivor, let us know what you thought of the story in the comments. Source of story can be found here.
If you’re still wondering what Lilapsophobia is, find an introduction video to the condition below (produced by The Weather Channel).