The number of victims of the Itaewon disaster that occurred on October 29 last year was 159 (according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety). The 159th victim was Lee Jae-hyun (16 years old at the time of the disaster), a high school student who committed suicide not in Itaewon that day, but in Mapo-gu, Seoul 43 days later. What made survivor Lee the final victim was not his body, but his emotional wounds and trauma. That day, Lee went to Itaewon with his best friend and his girlfriend, with whom he confided his true feelings. Lee was the only one who survived. Lee’s mother, Song Hae-jin (47), said in an interview with the JoongAng Ilbo on the 6th, “I don’t think I was able to open up to other friends or family members around me after the two left.”
Lee, who was said to be “the most popular kid in class,” became a completely different person after the disaster. Mr. Song said, “It seemed like a huge wall had formed. “It felt like no words reached my ears, and I didn’t feel like making eye contact,” she said. Even on days when she was laughing and chatting at school, when she came home, she said, “I feel so lonely and I want to die.” On my way to school, I couldn’t get on a bus full of people, so I had to struggle to walk uphill. He said that when he sat in class breathing heavily, the terrible scenes he saw in Itaewon came to mind endlessly.
Lee fought against the trauma with all his might. Traces of effort remained intact in the cell phone Mr. Song showed. “Thank you so much for being close to me. Your parents and ○○’s parents asked you to live your life diligently and do your part. I will live really hard. “Please watch this until the end.” This is a message that Lee sent on November 17th last year to a friend who left before him due to a disaster. He signed up for a gym, started exercising, and ate diligently. Mr. Song recalled, “The child said, ‘I’m having a hard time, so I’m deliberately trying to play games and eat well.’”
However, even at the moment when he seemed to be okay, the trauma was consuming him. No matter how hard he tried, he could not shake off the feeling of regret, guilt, and isolation that he had survived alone. The same was true of longing. He often sent messages to his friend who left earlier, saying things like, “○○ appeared in my dream this morning, and I’ll believe that you will appear tonight,” and “I miss you,” and took out a photo of them together.
Negative views toward the disaster caused Lee to suffer ‘secondary trauma.’ Posts criticizing survivors and victims poured out on social media ( SNS ). Mr. Song said, “I was at an age where I could not help but realize that society and the surrounding situation were never favorable to me when I saw comments criticizing my friends as ‘reckless kids who were too excited to play and didn’t follow the rules’ or even concluding that they ‘did drugs’. “I think that atmosphere encouraged feelings of isolation and guilt, making it difficult to reach out to anyone,” he said.
Lee revealed that he was a victim on a YouTube video about the disaster and left a long comment of 1,537 characters. He explained why he went to Itaewon, how he got caught up in the crowds, and how he survived. He also wrote, “I wanted to die, I still want to die, I feel so sorry for those two, I felt like everything was my fault and the world had abandoned me.” Not long after, he sent a message to his friend saying, “I’ll get there as quickly as possible with as little pain as possible, so don’t worry, just wait,” and he eventually passed away.
“Have I lived for nothing?” A year of anxiety and guilt… 15 in-depth interviewsMany people related to the disaster live each day with the same trauma as Lee. One year before the Itaewon disaster, JoongAng Ilbo conducted in-depth interviews with 15 people, including survivors, bereaved families, firefighters and police officers, and nearby merchants. Everyone experienced great and small pain due to trauma, and some said that the pain has not abated at all. There were only differences in degree, and there were no exceptions. Among them, 13 people responded to the National Mental Health Center’s ‘Disaster Mental Health Assessment’; 3 people were in the ‘high risk group’ and 9 people were in the ‘interest group’ at risk of suicide. The only person classified as ‘normal group’ (survivor Mr. Kim) also said, “Every time I take subway line 2 on my way to work, I am anxious that there might be a stampede.”
What bothered them the most was fear and anxiety. Even the little things I did every day became difficult. Mr. Jeon (32), a survivor who lost a friend in the disaster, could not even go to the nearby convenience store for a while because he was afraid of the alleys after the sun went down. He spent about three months drunk the whole time because he couldn’t handle the anxiety when he didn’t drink. Even when an ambulance passed by, he was excessively startled by the slightest noise. He said, “At one point, I even felt like attacking all the people who comforted me. He was scared and anxious. “It’s better than before, but I still feel uncomfortable and discouraged,” he said. Mr. A, a survivor in his 20s, also said, “I have trouble breathing when I go to crowded or closed spaces. “Even if I had to go around a lot, I took the bus instead of the subway,” he said.
Also, most of them suffered from guilt. Kim Yi-soon (52), the mother of the victim, the late Lee Hae-rin (25 years old at the time), said, “I always feel sorry for my daughter,” and added, “Whether I was wrong or not, I was wrong if I lost my child first. “It’s my fault for not being able to protect it,” he said. Kim Sang-min (56), the father of the late Kim Yeon-hee (23 years old at the time), also said, “It is a sin to be alive. “I don’t know how to celebrate my daughter’s upcoming birthday,” said survivor Jeon. “After the accident, I stayed in a place for two weeks and went to the disaster site every day. It seemed like she had left her friend alone. “I th
Firefighters and police officers are also weighed down by guilt to the extent that they have difficulty with their daily lives and work. Firefighter Choi (34) said, “I remember the moment when I was giving CPR to someone wearing Halloween메이저사이트 costumes. If we had gone faster and saved at least 2-3 more people, wouldn’t the bereaved family and friends have been less sad? “I’m still sorry and it’s painful,” he said. Nanny (32), a firefighter, said, “I can still hear voices saying, ‘Please help me, please take me out.’ “We should have moved faster and saved more lives,” said police officer Kim, who worked at the Itaewon police station, and said, “It pains me to think whether that was the best.” According to data submitted by the National Police Agency to the office of Democratic Party lawmaker Lee Seong-man, 327 (24%) of the 1,371 police officers dispatched to the scene on the day of the disaster applied for emergency psychological support, and a total of 340 counseling sessions were conducted.
“Mom who lost her sense of taste, adds as much salt as possible”When PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) becomes severe, even eating or sleeping becomes painful. Choi Seon-mi (49), the mother of the late Park Ga-young (21 years old at the time), who was a victim of the disaster, said, “I still can’t sleep for about 2 to 3 days, and I can’t taste the food even when I eat it. Among mothers who have lost their children, some cannot even taste salty food. “When I was eating seolleongtang, they added salt and added salt again,” she said. Nam In-seok (82), who ran a shoe store at the scene of the disaster, said, “I couldn’t sleep for a while after seeing the children unjustly killed,” and added, “I wake up at 2 or 3 in the morning these days. “He can’t sleep deeply.”Mental illness can sometimes lead to illness. Inflammation in 4 to 5 places in Choi Seon-mi’s mouth has not gone away for 8 months. She described herself as ‘a person who gains weight just by breathing,’ but after the disaster, she lost 25 kg. He said, “There are many bereaved families who have lost their heads or teeth.” The number of people who gave up their livelihood or changed jobs or stores also reached six. Sang-min Kim, who worked at a manufacturing company, has been on leave for nearly a year, and Mr. Choi has also quit his job as a social worker. Survivor Jeon, who said he was afraid of meeting people, quit his job as a health trainer and is looking for another job.