I really hate ptsd. Had a pretty bad, very public panic attack yesterday that drew a small crowd. I thank God no one approached or called 911, they just stared at me hyperventilating and screaming in the car. For ten whole minutes at least four random people stopped and stared at me!
When I was finally able to slow my breathing down I overheard one woman on her phone (talking the whole time she was staring) say, “Yeah, having a total panic attack, remember how *muffled*…yeah, no she looks better now..*laughs*” So glad it was entertaining for you all.
I haven’t been triggered that bad in a long time. The residual numbness and brain fog lasted over an hour. I barely slept last night, still jumpy, my muscles are still tightened, my brain still feels threatened.
All because some random idiot Dr decided it was his place to come over and accuse me of trying to kill people with my driving. It was bad enough I was already triggered by having to drive to a hospital in the first place, then I got verbally attacked by a stranger!
When I said I had PTSD and he needed to back down, he got worse!! Threatening to call the cops because I apparently ran a crosswalk (didn’t see any lights flashing!). I was so panicked I was screaming obscenities at him.
When he finally got out of the way and let me drive away (stepped in behind me when I tried to back up!!), I was so panicked I started driving down random streets completely lost, shaking so badly, my teeth were chattering.
I ended up in the parking lot of a park and that’s where I was safely able to stop the car and let the trigger run its course.
You know, some people ask me why I’m not working, say “it must be nice” to be (forcibly) retired from the job so young. It’s not. This was a Big trigger to a small incident, it’s been almost 24 hours and I’m still recovering from it. My heightened nervous system will likely take days to come down from this. I will be extremely sensitive to repeated triggers for days and it could happen all over again at the slightest incident. So no, it’s not fun and I’m unable to do my job because of this. And no, I can’t just suck it up, shake it off and get over it.
The wonky biological reaction doesn’t bother me so much anymore, I know it has to run its course – except when people decide to stare – but the negative thoughts, depression and feelings of worthlessness that follow are pretty hard to combat. I will often get suicidal thoughts afterward because it’s so demeaning to feel completely at odds with your own body, feeling like your mind has no control over your brain, being unable to reason and acting like a maniac when you’re normally an intelligent, reasonable, kind and gentle person.
Untreated, ptsd can become a monster hiding in your backpack, and consider this, the average forcibly retired first responder is unable to afford treatment, so there are monsters lurking in the shadows out there. So as a PSA, please be careful when (out of your lack of recognition of your own stress response) approach a random stranger and decide to take it upon yourself to angrily “educate” them on their perceived mistakes, you could be provoking the monster in their backpack.
When I was in treatment I never believed the panic instinct could lead to violence but I almost got out of that car yesterday, the urge to escape was that strong. This random stranger should thank his lucky stars I wasn’t an untreated combat vet.
Today is an “inside safe” day for me today. I hope you’re all having better days.