Steve Buscemi Says He "Absolutely" Has PTSD from Volunteering on 9/11
"I start to get choked up and I realize, ah, this is still a big part of me"
Published Sep 09, 2021Ahead of the 20-year anniversary of 9/11 this weekend, Steve Buscemi has recalled his experience as a volunteer firefighter, explaining that he "absolutely" has PTSD from witnessing the horrors of the 2001 tragedy.
Speaking with Marc Maron on his WTF podcast [via Independent], the actor retold his story about joining the rescue missions in the fallout from the attack that saw the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City.
"I was only there for like five days, but when I stopped going and tried to just live my life again, it was really, really hard," he said.
He continued: "I was depressed, I was anxious, I couldn't make a simple decision. All those things. It's still with me. There are times when I talk about 9/11 and I'm right back there. I start to get choked up and I realize, ah, this is still a big part of me."
When Maron asked if Buscemi had any long-term health effects from working at Ground Zero, he explained, "I haven't experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out, but definitely…. Post-traumatic stress? Absolutely."
Despite his mental health struggles, Buscemi ended up being one of the lucky ones present in NYC that week. In a recent op-ed for Time, the actor shared that due to carcinogenic dust that filled the air after the towers fell, "more people are thought to have died from toxic exposure at the 9/11 site than died that day."
He wrote: "The dust? It was more of a nuisance: pulverized concrete and who-knows-what that clogged a face mask, so fast you worked better without one. Somebody'd say, 'This is probably going to kill us in 20 years.' Well, it didn't take 20 years."
For the last decade, Buscemi has been working with Friends of Firefighters, an organization that provides counselling and mental health care for first responders. Buscemi and Kevin Smith are due to host a benefit for the organization tomorrow (September 10).