After the assassination of her husband President Kennedy, First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy suffered severe distress including the symptoms of what now would be diagnosed as PTSD, according to biographer Barbara Leaming in her forthcoming book Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story. She is quoted below in an adaptation from the book published in the October issue of Vanity Fair magazine:
“Symptoms of PTSD include reliving the traumatic event, avoiding situations that threaten to provoke memories of the event, feeling numb, and feeling keyed up. Among other hallmarks are suicidal thoughts, nightmares and sleep disturbance, obsessive ruminations, and a significant spike in distress around the anniversary of the traumatic event.”
Of course, not everyone is in the unique position that Jacqueline Kennedy occupied in 1963. Adding pressure to all that had happened in 1963 including the death of their infant Patrick in August was the persistence of public and media pressure. Jacqueline was looked upon as a bulwark of strength, one who would restore faith in the shattered democracy. No one could have borne that kind of pressure even someone as strong as the First Lady. Everything began to take its toll and there are reports of drinking and suicidal thoughts and the symptoms of PTSD.
Even those who are not First Ladies, those who have never experienced the trauma and violence of war, can become victims of PTSD. Many people who have experienced traumatic events including sexual assault, mental or physical abuse, and serious injury or even bullying from the schoolyard to the workplace may fall victim to PTSD.
Jacqueline had many, many supporters, close friends and confidants of her husband and herself but still felt the effects of PTSD. PTSD sufferers need psychiatric help but many people cannot afford or feel too shameful to seek this help.
PTSD is real and can affect anyone including First Ladies. Attend our MCLE program, The Faces of PTSD Now, October 8 where our speaker John Winer will share his experienced techniques, foundations and strategies for proving PTSD injuries and how to obtain maximum damages for your client. See flyer/registration for more information.
Adapted from Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: The Untold Story, by Barbara Leaming, to be published this month by St. Martin’s Press; © 2014 by the author.