Michigan Rep. Dan Kildee opens up about PTSD after Jan. 6 insurrection

Violent attack on U.S. Congress left 5 dead

DETROIT – The deadly Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol Building will forever live in the history books as a dark chapter of the United State’s story.

It’s a much more personal trauma for those who were caught in the violence that day, fearing for their safety.

One of those victims is Michigan Congressman Dan Kildee. He spoke with NBCNews Sunday about that day and how it changed him.

“I went home. I thought it was fine,” Kildee recalled. “It was after I got home, when I started looking at some of the video from the event -- I had thought it was a few dozen people. It was hundreds and hundreds of people, of violent people -- and that triggered an emotional, physical reaction. I had a lot of tension in my chest. My breathing became difficult. I became really irritable.”

A friend in Congress suggested Kildee meet with Dr. Jim Gordon, author of “Transforming Trauma.” Gordon had worked with doctors, nurses, first responders, military veterans -- all suffering the lingering effects of severe trauma.

“I’ve worked in warzones, post-war, post-disaster situations, with school shootings, with war-traumatized veterans and what Dan was experiencing, he talked about it is what those people experience.” Gordon said. “All the symptoms that he just described to you, these are all fight or flight responses that have been prolonged.”

Kildee said he wanted to talk publicly about the deadly siege so that others dealing with their own life trauma don’t feel they should hide their feelings or try to work through them alone.

“Most people who experience trauma don’t experience it in real time on every network across the world,” Kildee said. “They do it privately, quietly, painfully, silently alone. So if I can speak to them, that’s what I want to do.”

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