Wyle and Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) survivor Kellie Greene
are campaigning for increased awareness of PTSD so that those who suffer
from it can get the help they need.
Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
with Ms. Kellie Greene
Ms. Kellie Greene is the National Spokesperson for the Pfizer/YWCA "Moving
Past Trauma PTSD Community Outreach Program and founder of SOAR (Speaking Out
For Kellie Greene, January 18, 1994 was the day of a life-changing
tragedy: she was brutally raped by a stranger inside her apartment in Orlando,
Florida. The intruder followed her to her home, hid in her apartment, smashed
her on the head with a tea kettle, and held a knife to her neck before he raped
Following the rape, Ms. Greene had flashbacks, difficulty sleeping, uncontrollably
crying, mood swings and feelings of disorientation and isolation. "A deep sadness
overcame me," she said. "Some days I didn't even want to get out of bed".
Ms. Greene saw a rape counselor for five months, but she realized her condition
was not improving. She was unable to leave her home or answer the telephone
after dark. She spent hours trying to make relatively simple decisions, such
as what to wear or what to eat for lunch.
With encouragement from her mother and her boyfriend, Kellie
sought help from a psychiatrist, who diagnosed her with Post Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD) after only one visit. PTSD is a serious medical conditions
that can develop after experiencing, witnessing or even learning about a trauma
such as rape, domestic violence, a serious accident, a natural disaster, or
the unexpected death of a loved one. It is not often talked about, but PTSD
may affect as many as one out of 13 people at some point in their lives.
The good news about PTSD is that it is treatable with psychotherapy
and medication, often with positive results. "The medication took off the edge
that made each day feel like a roller coaster ride and enabled me to focus on
healing", said Ms. Greene. "Now I wake up in the morning and know with great
confidence that I can tackle what lies ahead".
"It was such a relief to realize that I had a medical condition
that could be treated," said Ms. Greene. "But I still thought that taking medication
meant I was weak. Now I know that without treatment, I could never have been
able to fully recover what I had lost. The medication helped take away the
numbness. And, with psychotherapy and the support of my family and friends,
I was able to regain control of my life".
Since being treated for PTSD, Ms. Greene has tackled many
of her personal goals, including helping many others who have PTSD. In 1999,
she founded SOAR-Speaking Out About Rape-a nonprofit organization dedicated
to protecting the rights of victims of sexual assault. SOAR is committed to
raising awareness about rape and its consequences, including PTSD.
Ms. Greene also coauthored Florida's "Sexual Predator Prosecution
Act of 2000". The law mandates consecutive sentences, rather than simultaneous
sentences, for any repeat sexual offenders. Ms. Greene also helped pass Florida
legislation that prohibits hospitals from charging rape victims for forensic
Ms. Kelli Greene is a true champion of women's health. As a result of her
efforts, Ms. Greene earned the Survivor Activist Award from the Florida Council
Against Sexual Violence. But she has a unique way to celebrate her accomplishments:
Ms. Greene now marks each January 18-the anniversary of her rape-with an annual
SOARing skydive. "It was important for me to associate January 18 with something
positive in my life," she said. "Now, I've created a memory that is totally
Click here to read Noah Wyle's Celebrity Speak-Out column on PTSD.
Created: 5/2/2001  - Donnica Moore, M.D.