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:Read the “Rebecca” Chapter that is in Modules.

Discuss how you or someone you know has coped with stressful or traumatic situations. Did these coping methods help?

This assignment should be about 200-250 words. Include a word count.

Late submissions will not be accepted.

Rebecca:

Read Journeys: Rebecca
Instructions:

Read the following chapter about Rebecca who was a former Mt. SAC student. Make sure that you take notes so that you can use this information in your extra credit assignment and on the exam. Actions

Journeys to Success: Rebecca
Rebecca and her boyfriend had been dating for a little over two years. Their relationship started when Rebecca was in high school and continued when she attended Mt. San Antonio College. Valentine?s Day was coming up and they had made plans in advance to spend the day together, but the week before she noticed that he had been acting strange. He was not calling her as much and seemed to be ignoring her calls. She was wondering what was going on but then a couple of days before Valentine?s Day he called her to discuss their plans. Then, the day before Valentine?s Day, he again stopped calling her and returning her calls so they never solidified their plans. This left Rebecca still wondering what was going on with his unusual behavior. Rebecca?s friend, who was coincidently dating her boyfriend?s best friend, called crying that day and asked for a ride to her boyfriend?s house. She was upset because she thought that there was something wrong with him and wanted to make sure that he was alright. Both Rebecca?s boyfriend and her friend?s boyfriend lived a fair distance away but she drove her friend who did not have a driver?s license. When she dropped her friend off, she waited in the car while the friend and boyfriend proceeded to have an argument inside the house. While parked on the street, Rebecca noticed a car approaching that she was not familiar with. Rebecca was surprised to see her boyfriend driving the car with a young woman in the front seat that she did not recognize.

When her boyfriend saw Rebecca, he sped off. He did not get very far when he ran a red right and ended up getting into a car accident. Her boyfriend first hit another car that was proceeding through the intersection on a green light. His car then hit a light pole and then a palm tree before rolling over. Because this happened immediately and so close to the house where Rebecca was parked, she saw everything happen. She witnessed her boyfriend being ejected out of the car. She saw the car roll over and land on top of him. The car was completely demolished. The scene looked like a Hollywood movie set with smoke, debris, and the smell of burnt rubber.

The driver of the other car was alright but the young woman who was riding with Rebecca?s boyfriend died in the accident. Rebecca was in shock. It was difficult to even process the events that had taken place before her eyes. Her boyfriend was rushed to the hospital and the blood alcohol tests revealed that he had been drinking and driving. This would now be his second DUI before he was twenty-one years old. Although he would survive the accident, he would be paralyzed from the waist down. All this news was devastating. In addition, Rebecca later found out that her boyfriend had been acting so strange because he was cheating on her with the woman in the car. When he saw Rebecca, and realized that she saw him with another woman, he sped off to avoid her. After the accident, pictures of her boyfriend and the other girl started to surface so there was no doubt of their relationship.

Rebecca was heartbroken on many levels. Her boyfriend had been in a serious accident right before her eyes and was now paralyzed and suffered from severe traumatic brain injuries. She had witnessed a young woman die who she later found out left behind a young daughter. She had to face the fact that her boyfriend had been cheating on her. Despite his infidelity, Rebecca went to the hospital to visit him every day for three months. For the three months after that, Rebecca continued to visit him on the weekends and sometimes on the weekdays. She tried to do whatever she could for him and his family. She even made Easter baskets for his younger siblings but told his mom not to tell them that they were from her. She wanted his younger siblings to think that the mom had made the baskets because she was concerned that they were missing their mom and feeling left out due to her spending so much time dealing with her oldest son?s recovery process. She knew that his mom would not have the time to make Easter baskets for the kids.

At first her boyfriend?s family was welcoming and comforting to Rebecca. They even told her not to blame herself because it was not her fault. Although she had been close to his family, they eventually started to turn on her and blame her for what had happened. Her boyfriend?s dad who had been involved in gangs during his younger years actually threatened to kill her at one point and told her she was not welcome to visit at the hospital. They needed someone to blame for what happened to their son and somehow rationalized that it was her fault. They did not want to blame their son for his actions and decided that if she had not been there, he would not have sped away. Her boyfriend would use the nurses? cell phones to call Rebecca and beg her to come to visit him. His family no longer wanted her there, however, his pleas made her feel that she still needed to visit him. It got so bad that she had to hide from his family when she went to visit him in the hospital. Rebecca eventually stopped going to visit him after six months and stopped all communication with him. Although that was very challenging for Rebecca, she felt that it was best for him and his recovery to have his family?s support over hers and wanted to mitigate hostility and tension by remaining absent from the process.

The best friend of her boyfriend who did not witness the accident started to fabricate and spread rumors about why the accident happened. One story he told was that Rebecca had crashed her car into the car her boyfriend was driving and caused the accident. Rebecca was thankful that there were a lot of witnesses to substantiate that this was not factual. The accident happened on a busy street there were about ten witnesses. When Rebecca was subpoenaed to court they did not even need her input because there had been so many other witnesses. The stress of going to court also took a toll on Rebecca. Going to court and seeing him there was difficult. He did not remember a lot at the beginning of his recovery and would ask questions frequently to try to understand what had happened. His best friend had been feeding him lies and telling him that Rebecca was the reason why he was in the hospital. No one seemed to want to blame her boyfriend for his own actions and did not want to tell him about the blood alcohol content (BAC) levels found in his blood the night of the accident.

Rebecca developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from witnessing the car accident. Every time she would get in a car to drive, she would be afraid. If she was a passenger in a car and the driver would brake suddenly or change lanes quickly, she would have a meltdown. She would be so scared that she would have panic attacks. If she saw an accident on the road, even a minor one, she would ?freak out.? For Rebecca ?freaking out? involved crying, shaking, and sometimes even blacking out. She would be extremely worried about the people in the accident and she would start relating it back to seeing her boyfriend underneath the overturned car. Even when she was not in a car, sudden movements or sudden sounds made her anxious. The memories of the accident seemed to always replay over and over in her head and she could not make it go away.

Rebecca started seeing a psychologist about a month after the accident and continued to do so for over a year. She credits that experience for helping her get through her disorder, even though she originally was very reluctant to go. Her mom and her brother forced her to get help to manage the stress and depression she was suddenly faced with. She first went to a psychiatrist for one visit and then saw a psychologist for the rest of the visits. Rebecca felt that the sessions with the psychologist really helped her to understand what she was going through. The psychologist would make Rebecca do exercises to replay in her head the events that happened. She would also make Rebecca ?tell the story over and over and over again? to her. This was meant to try to desensitize the trauma and help her to understand what actually happened.

Sometimes when people go through these traumatic events, they question their reactions to things and they question themselves. Rebecca recalls that even with these exercises that it was challenging to get through reliving the events. Another exercise that she would make Rebecca do was to look in a mirror and tell herself that it was not her fault. In the beginning Rebecca could not even talk about the accident at all with the psychologist. When she was finally able to talk about it, she would always cry. Now she is able to talk about it and share her story and she thinks that this is very important. Keeping emotions bottled up inside produces negative effects on the mind and the body. She does, however, still cry sometimes when she shares her story. Rebecca also thinks it is important for people who are suffering from PTSD to understand that they are not alone. She wants to tell her story because she feels that it will help other people cope with similar situations.

Learning about PTSD and realizing that this is what she had were tough. Once she knew what she was going through, however, she started her journey on finding ways to cope with it. Rebecca decided to study Psychology at Mt. SAC because she wanted to understand her condition. She took several Psychology classes which she found very interesting and as a result, decided to become a Psychology major. She remembers breaking down and crying in a lot of her classes as many topics reminded her of the accident which brought back the horrible memories. Studying psychology really helped Rebecca understand things that she was going through.

Rebecca found herself wanting to volunteer more and be more involved on campus. She found that these activities tended to keep her mind occupied so she would not think about the accident. Community service was not new to Rebecca. She has been dedicated to helping others since grade school when she volunteered with her Girl Scout Troup at the Walnut Senior Center. Throughout high school and college she had been volunteering at Whittier Hospital Medical Center. Rebecca had also volunteered for the Adult Basic Education Mentoring Program where she helped students to pursue their education. Rebecca really enjoys helping people and making a difference. Rebecca says that volunteering and being involved was the best thing to help her get through her PTSD. Helping other people actually helped her to cope. It seemed to her that it was much more important to help someone else out than to focus on her problems. Rebecca has always been a kind and giving person and volunteering was a perfect fit for her.

While at Mt. SAC, Rebecca worked hard to help organize and create the Student Outreach Leadership Program with me in the Sociology Department at Mt. San Antonio College. This was a tremendous amount of work for her and she was instrumental in helping to plan and implement this program. This program has been established to help train students who are interested in leadership roles and dedicated to community service. The students in this program must plan and implement a community service project in which they must enlist the help of other students and encourage their involvement. Rebecca further developed her leadership skills when she was selected and participated in the Fall Leadership Conference. She spent a weekend with other selected students learning leadership skills that she put to use in the clubs that she belonged to and in the Student Outreach Leadership Program. She even volunteered to teach other members of the Student Outreach Program the skills that she learned at the conference. Rebecca is always eager to help and enthusiastic in everything that she does. She put in a lot of effort with the Psychology Club and served as the Vice President of the club where she helped to organize meetings. She also coordinated a career panel event through the Psychology Club which was open to all Mt. SAC students. The career panel brought in psychologists from different backgrounds to talk about their fields. With the Psychology Club, she organized fundraising endeavors to raise money for student scholarships.

Besides her volunteer work with the Student Outreach Leadership Program and the Psychology Club, Rebecca even found time to volunteer in several other college and community projects. Rebecca volunteered for the Special Olympics where she helped with set up and leading the children to their events. She even assisted the children at the events. She was an active and valued member of the Culture Shock Club where she participated in numerous fundraising activities to raise money for student scholarships. She has also helped with fundraisers for the Manzanar Relocation Camp, American Diabetes Association, and the Bear-with-Us Organization. She participated in Join-A-Club and helped to plan the club?s participation in the Culture Fair. In addition to her activities with the Culture Shock Club, she also volunteered for two days at the Information Booth at the beginning of the semester where she welcomed students and helped them find their way around campus. Rebecca also participated in the Human Trafficking Conference at Mt. SAC. Getting involved in a variety of volunteer projects not only benefited other students and the community, but it also helped her to deal with her PTSD. She was and is extremely enthusiastic in her commitment to community service. Due to this commitment and her numerous activities, Rebecca was awarded Student of Distinction in the Service category when she attended Mt. SAC.

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