Tuesday, October 13, 2009

61: I Am Afraid of the Ocean

Lately, the world has been shaking, most of the time. At least it is in my head. It is debatable if this is just a heightened sensitivity to actual tremors previously too faint to be detected or even to other causes such as the traffic on the road outside or if it is honestly all in my head and not a true physical phenomena. Cale is experiencing this as well and other volunteers I have mentioned it to have commented on being hyper-sensitive to things such as a large truck rumbling by their building.

Is it possible to have post traumatic stress disorder when you didn't actually experience the trauma? Do we all have a mild case of that?

I experience these shaking sensations more at night. I find myself awake convinced the bed was just shaking or is still shaking but then unable to detect the movement I was so sure of only a second ago. In general this possible hallucination has not been a problem.

However, Friday night we slept at Lucia's Lagoon Chalets in Salelologa (details TK). Our fale was really like a tree house, but on stilts with part of the base jutting into the water. Now my night tremors became a problem. Now I was hallucinating earthquakes and sleeping next to the sea, the sea that rises up in a deadly wall of water after an earthquake. I lay awake planning evacuation routes inland.

Intellectually, I knew that if there were real vibrations I was feeling it was because the fale is up in the air on stilts and half in the water. The tide, the breeze, anything could cause the building to shake a little and the shakes I thought I was feeling were so slight they were practically undetectable.

Saturday night at Janes in Manase was much worse. The fale we stayed in swayed a bit in the wind and constantly thoughout the night I could be found sitting straight up in bed listening to the ocean. I had just felt another miniscule shake and was now straining my ears in the darkness for any change in the sound of the tide lapping the shores. At night, I would not be able to see the ocean run away from the land or the approaching wall of water. So I sat, listening.

We are back home now and my fear of the ocean has subsided. It just might be a while before I can again sleep soundly on the beach.

— Sara

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