The Effects of Witnessing an Actual Murder–PTSD PART 2

“A neighbor broke in to my home at 3 am and I heard the foot steps as she walked into my moms room (Where I was laying next to my sleeping mom) she held the knife over her head then ran at me and stabbed me in my chest twice, my mom then awoke and the killer ran around to her side of the bed and stabbed her over 30 times. I did see most of it but ran out of the house and hid behind a car half a block down the street. I stayed there until the police came and after surgery, found out my mom didn’t make it. I have come a long way in the past 6 years, but the flashbacks are the hardest to deal with and make me feel so unsafe and that this will happen again.” PTSD (Post Traumatic Shock Disorder) blog from 2013

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according the the Mayo clinic ( is defined as:  is a mental health condition that’s triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event. Many people who go through traumatic events have difficulty adjusting and coping for a while, but they don’t have PTSD — with time and good self-care, they usually get better. But if the symptoms get worse or last for months or even years and interfere with your functioning, you may have PTSD.

Intrusive memories

Symptoms of intrusive memories may include:

  • Recurrent, unwanted distressing memories of the traumatic event
  • Reliving the traumatic event as if it were happening again (flashbacks)
  • Upsetting dreams about the traumatic event
  • Severe emotional distress or physical reactions to something that reminds you of the event


Symptoms of avoidance may include:

  • Trying to avoid thinking or talking about the traumatic event
  • Avoiding places, activities or people that remind you of the traumatic event

Negative changes in thinking and mood

Symptoms of negative changes in thinking and mood may include:

  • Negative feelings about yourself or other people
  • Inability to experience positive emotions
  • Feeling emotionally numb
  • Lack of interest in activities you once enjoyed
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Memory problems, including not remembering important aspects of the traumatic event
  • Difficulty maintaining close relationships

Changes in emotional reactions

Symptoms of changes in emotional reactions (also called arousal symptoms) may include:

  • Irritability, angry outbursts or aggressive behavior
  • Always being on guard for danger
  • Overwhelming guilt or shame
  • Self-destructive behavior, such as drinking too much or driving too fast
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Being easily startled or frightened

“Im currently awaiting a decision to be made for compensation from the, criminal crime compensation authority , (CICA) . Due to something terrible that happened to me and witnessing (being forced to watch a person murdered in my home) The person that commited the crime, was later sentanced to life imprisonment, as i was the only witnees i stood and testified against him to ensure justice was served. The impact this event on my life has been huge, suffering from flashbacks, deppression, isolation, fear, social anxiety and guilt, also choose alcohol as a coping stratergy which now i have let go off. so find it hard to build a life for myself and keep stable, but strive hard for myself to recover” PTSD blog

These are stories of people who were impacted by seeing murder. One story reminded me of a noir story I once read. It’s from the same blog. I could hear a Private Investigator recounting his first brush with murder (and possibly his own death).

“I was working as a bouncer in a bar in college in 1997, and there was a shooting. I saw the guy with a gun run by me, tuck his gun in his pants, and followed him out thinking I could point him out to a police officer. We ended up outside, and as I was pointing at him he reached for his gun. I grabbed him and forced him against the wall while thinking “If i see the gun I am going to kill him.” I felt my mind snap at that moment. Someone behind me said “let him go, let him go” and he took off. I went back in the bar, pulled a woman off the victim so they could try to help the guy, but his brains were scattered on the floor.
I found out later there were 2 shooters, and the person behind me was likely the other shooter. Who knows what would have happened if I didn’t let him go … Anyway, I find myself thinking about it constantly. Its weird to me that people I know don’t know this about me. When people get stressed at work, all I can think of is at least your brains aren’t on a floor right now. It gave me a new perspective.”