Becky Mannel, director of Lactation Services for University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, was never a sports enthusiast — until the Thunder came to town. Due to her newfound interest, three years ago she realized she was suffering from PTSD. Becky’s husband, Dr. Robert Mannel, head of OU’s Stephenson Cancer Center, agrees she is definitely in distress.
PTSD is commonly recognized as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but in this case it stands for “Post Thunder Stress Disorder.” Becky described her “Thunder pathology” to me over dinner last week.
PTSD — Type 1: Post Thunder Sleep Deprivation. The inability to go to sleep after wins, even when it is midnight or 1 a.m. on a weeknight, followed by difficulty staying awake at work the next day.
PTSD — Type 2: Pre-Thunder Stress Disorder. Extreme anxiety, loss of appetite, inability to watch critical moments of the game. Also nightmares about strangers named Dirk, CP3 and Birdman.
CTOD — Chronic Thunder Obsessive Disorder. An ability to recite and understand statistics like Game 7 triple-double. Daily obsession with sports news, even ESPN postgame shows. Changing out of her business suit at DFW airport during the series against Dallas, just so she could put on her Thunder shirt.
Recent manifestations she has observed in herself and others are:
PTSD — Type 2 variant. Inability to watch the entire game until the outcome is known, then watching it from start to finish as soon as it’s over — if they win.
CTOD — Genetic variant. A friend reported her daughter, a new bride on her honeymoon in the Caribbean islands, said mom didn’t need to send Thunder updates because she had a Thunder app and she was sure she could find somewhere to watch the games.
PTD – Post-Thunder Depression. Sadness and loss of interest in any further NBA games, which Becky first identified in 2013 when the Thunder’s playoff run ended prematurely.
Becky admits, “As with other syndromes, it helps to learn I am not alone. It was comforting to know some prominent figures also suffer at times from Thunder pathology. (KD could not watch Westbrook’s last-second, game-winning free throws in Game 5 against the Clippers.)”
Thunder pathology can vary and increase in frequency from year to year and is especially severe during late spring. Becky and I are considering a support group for fellow sufferers next season.
Charlotte Lankard is a licensed marriage and family therapist in private practice. Contact her at email@example.com.