How Travis Barker Manages His PTSD Symptoms After Surviving 2008 Plane Crash
Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker spoke about his experience with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after surviving a 2008 plane crash in a new interview. Barker hasn’t been on a plane since the crash, he told Men’s Health. And although he still deals with chronic pain and mental health challenges after the experience, he’s spent years working through them and has finally found some peace.
Four people died in the crash (including the two pilots and Barker’s assistant and security guard), and Barker was left with third-degree burns on 65% of his body. He spent three months in the hospital undergoing 26 surgeries and a series of skin grafts, according to Men’s Health. The other survivor of the crash and a close friend of Barker’s, Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein, died a year later after a drug overdose.
In addition to the painful physical symptoms that Barker is left with, which he manages partly with CBD, he also developed long-lasting mental effects after the crash. Barker describes dealing with intense survivor’s guilt and other symptoms of PTSD, for which he went to therapy for three months.
“I was dark,” he says. “I couldn’t walk down the street. If I saw a plane [in the sky], I was determined it was going to crash, and I just didn’t want to see it.” The symptoms of PTSD typically develop after being in or witnessing a profoundly traumatic event. Those symptoms can include both physical and mental issues, such as intrusive memories or nightmares about the event, anxiety about or avoidance of things that remind you of the event, feelings of shame or guilt, becoming irritable or easily startled, and having difficulty sleeping, the Mayo Clinic says.
But going to therapy, working out, mental visualization techniques, breath work practices, and time have helped him heal. “The closer I was to it, it felt like I was closer to the bad stuff than I am to the good stuff. I felt closer to the experience of trying to escape, [to] being in an accident and being burned, trying to grab my friends from a burning plane. That haunted me for a long time,” he said. “And as long as I was closer to that than this good stuff, I was always thinking about that. Now it’s been so many years, it’s getting easier for me. There are days where I’ll wake up and never think about it.”
Ultimately, Barker has found coping strategies that work for him. With that, he’s been able to come to terms with what happened and accept that he still has plenty of life to live. “I have all the love I need in my house,” he said. “It will never make sense why my friends are gone, or the pilots, but all I can do is carry on. I can’t regret anything. I’m 100 percent supposed to be here.”
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