Actor Steve Buscemi has opened up about his 9/11 experiences in the wake of the terror attack’s 20th anniversary.
The Reservoir Dogs actor had served as a firefighter in the 1980s, before changing careers and going into the film industry.
With this experience in mind, he decided to volunteer as a firefighter after the terrorist attacks on Twin Towers, and helped for five days with the recovery and rescue efforts.
Discussing the moment he offered his help, Buscemi told Marc Maron on the WTF Podcast:
I kept calling the fire house the day before and of course there was no answer. Because I knew that they would be there. And then I eventually learned that five of them were missing. One of them was a good friend of mine I used to work with.
I was driven to the site that day, walked around for hours and then found my company, found Engine 55 working there. I asked if I could join them. I could tell they were a little suspicious at first, but I worked with them that day.
Buscemi went on to describe himself as being ‘privileged’ to have accessed the site and to be ‘in the thick of it’.
While the actor was pleased to be able to be part of the efforts, he said 20 years on from the ordeal, he still suffers with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
He explained, ‘I haven’t experienced any health issues, and I get myself checked out, but definitely… Post traumatic stress? Absolutely.’
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. 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 realise, ah, this is still a big part of me.
Following his work as a firefighter that day, Buscemi has been working for several years with the organisation Friends of Firefighters which offers free mental health services and counselling to those on the frontline, The Independent reports.
If you’re experiencing distressing thoughts and feelings, the Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) is there to support you. They’re open from 5pm–midnight, 365 days a year. Their national number is 0800 58 58 58 and they also have a webchat service if you’re not comfortable talking on the phone