Murder In Our Town

The Poudre River runs through the town of Windsor, the Poudre Trail bicycle and pedestrian path travelling along the north bank of the river.  The residents of Windsor share a small town atmosphere.  People are generous and welcoming, they smile and wave when they recognize a friend on the street. Our Mayor John Vazquez compared it to “Mayberry.”  Close neighbors and friends support each other and welcome newcomers and strangers into their oasis of serenity and safety.  Those who live here call it home and are proud to do so.

At 10 am on May 18th, an ordinary day in Windsor would change into a day of disbelief and shock, as the news broadcast that an unknown killer had taken the life of a beloved Windsor citizen, John Jacoby.

A murder?  Not in our town!  The last one happened eight years ago.  A homicide effects everyone that it touches.  Lives are changed forever.  The countless people who loved and were involved in John Jacoby’s  life — families, friends, acquaintances, employees, search and rescue, physicians and EMTs  — feel the pain that resonates. David Jacoby, John’s brother, was a first responder at the scene.  His burden is unimaginable.

John Jacoby was a Windsorite.  A simple man with a heart of gold who gave back to his city.  He  defined who he was by his continued involvement.  This included his involvement with K99’s 28 Hours of Hope to help fight the battle of child abuse in Northern Colorado. His brother David shared a memory of John, who liked to be called “Johnny,” writing a letter to Paula Woodward, anchor of Channel 9  news when he was in the 6th or 7th grade,  telling her he loved his life, his family and Windsor.  A friend, Shelly Jamison, who went to high school with Johnny, smiled as she shared memories of her friend, who lettered for four years as a water boy and never missed a day of school. Over the years, the Windsor Fire Department made him an honorary firefighter, because he would often beat the fire department on his bike, to a call in progress.

sadness and griefThose who were not acquainted with John — “Johnny” to his family and friends — were introduced to him in the cruelest of ways and were impacted by this senseless tragedy . It made an impression on our thoughts and our minds.  People who live in Windsor are speaking of it at the grocery stores, the cleaners, during book clubs, and at Starbucks.  His community did not let him down.  They stood tall and proud as they planned his funeral and gave from their hearts and pocket books to honor this wonderful man. What a celebration of life as hundreds of our community filled Faith United Church and spilled over to the high school.  The killer took away his life, but Windsor gave it back in memory and celebration. John was hearing impaired and faced many adversities and overcame them.  He was honored by the Mayor of Windsor as an “icon.”  What an achievement. Windsor is part of this story.

What can we do as a community? This community is still frightened by this uninvited intrusion. We are still angry.  Our lives have been altered. We are more cautious. One person told me that she is afraid to walk in her neighborhood alone. One mother is asking her children not to ride their bikes for a while.   It will be some time  before this tragedy and the emotions surrounding it are relegated  to the past.  The police, FBI, family, friends and the rest of us are waiting for justice, and for healing.   As a community we will lean on and help each other through this time of grief, mourning, and loss.  We persevered through the tornado of 2008.   We rebuilt.  This time we are rebuilding our hearts and that is a long and difficult process.

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Anxiety and The Fear of Flying

plane_flying_sky_610According to “Wing Tips,” February 2013, more than 53 million air travelers passed through Denver International Airport in 2012, setting an airport record. If you were one of the airline passengers, you were among a daily average of 145,633 passengers who traveled by air at DIA. When traveling, most vacation passengers are excited about their trip. They may be visiting a fun and exotic destination or simply visiting family or friends. Even business passengers have some fun. There is a population of travelers however who are plagued by the fear of flying, “aviophobia”. Research is minimal. One of the studies dates back to 1980 when two Boeing researchers found that 18.1 percent of adults in the U.S. were afraid to fly. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) states that 8.7 percent of Americans have a fear of flying so intense that it qualifies as a phobia or anxiety.

“Specific Phobias,” classified under anxiety disorders, is an unwarranted or irrational fear of something that poses little or minimal danger. They are recognized as phobia of animals, blood, heights, travel by airplane, being closed in and thunderstorms. These patients may worry about what they might happen if they have to confront what they are afraid of such as fainting, losing control or having a panic attack. Specific Phobias are twice as common in women as men (NIMH). Phobias may be the result of trauma, parental impact on childhood, or observing something traumatic.

Debbie’s Story

Debbie, a woman in her 40s, was healthy and fit. She had seen her primary physician 3 months ago and was given a clean bill of health. In her presenting statement, Debbie said “I am afraid to fly”. Debbie’s anxiety symptoms were initiated by the prospect of flying to Dallas to visit her mother for the holidays. As Thanksgiving 2012 approached, she feared flying even more intensely, and stated she had not flown for 2 years. She stated she had flown from Colorado Springs to St. Louis in 2010 and her plane had circled the field for nearly an hour due to thunderstorms. She also reported that the flight was unusually bumpy, the plane was full, and many of the passengers were airsick. There was no one to help as the flight attendants were strapped in their seats. They finally landed safely, but it was the last time Debbie had flown in an airplane. She reported even the thought of driving to the airport made her feel short of breath and sick to her stomach. She came for help because she recognized this fear was unreasonable and it was embarrassing. She did not want her fear of travel to interfere with her personal life or become disabling. She stated she did not want to take any form of medication while flying. Debbie was diagnosed with Specific Phobia, Situational Type.

Treatment

Treatment choices for anxiety depend on the severity of the problem and the preference of the patient. Some of the treatment choices include medication such as an anti-depressant, or anti-anxiety drugs as well as psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy to change thinking patterns and behaviors that support the fears, and hypnosis. Research has shown that hypnosis is used as a complementary therapy by therapists to help eliminate phobias or reduce their strength.

In discussing a treatment plan with Debbie I suggested we use a combination of psychotherapy, cognitive behavior therapy, and hypnosis to introduce positive life changing suggestions into her sub-conscious. Consequently, Debbie was able to identify and reframe the triggers associated with her fear of flying. She successfully flew to Dallas to visit her family for the Thanksgiving holiday in 2012 and after a 6-month follow up had no recurrence of symptoms when flying.

Let me know what you think, or ask me a question by e-mailing me at squiggylpc@hotmail.com. Until next time, light and blessings to you.

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