I’m over the hump now but this is what it was like for me when I was deep in to it. Everybody that has PTSD has their own reason that they have it. How they express that PTSD outwards or inwards is just as varied as there is people. So my experience with PTSD is a direct relation to how I got it. One of the things you are not supposed to do is, you are not supposed to put yourself in to situations that can make it worse. But I’m a bit stubborn and I said “I’ll decide”. The “I’ll decide” in some peoples personalities can be a bonus or a negative thing. The “I’ll decide” can put me in to a deep pile of shit but at the same time it allows me get through stuff.
I decided to go to the coffee shop. I hop in the car and I have one of those blue handicap signs because of my injuries. What I like about that particular coffee shop is right in front of it there is a handicap parking spot. That means I can drive up in to there and stop while I’m in my vehicle and I can observe whats going on all around me. I can see people on the streets, I can see other vehicles. This is going to sound paranoid and at that particular time it was paranoid. I can see anybody that could be a potential hazard to me. I pull in there and stop and look around and there’s nobody on the street up and down, traffic is going back and forth. When I get out, that puts the vehicle between me the sidewalk and the coffee shop where I’m going. More a level of safety. So as I come around and step on to the sidewalk and try to look inside the coffee shop, you can’t see the coffee shop because the differential of light. Its dark on the inside, it’s light on the outside… you just can’t see. Well that’s not good, you have to be able to see what you’re about to walk in to. But the advantage about that particular coffee shop along with that parking is the library. You can walk down the block going down to the library, go in to the main door, cross through the library and in to the coffee shop.
The library is well lit, but not as well lit as the outside so what you get is a shorter transition time before your eyes adjust to the darkness before you have to walk in to the darkness of the coffee shop. So that’s the route I chose. As soon as I walked in to the library I notice the librarian is talking to an older gentleman, he’s got a cane, jeans, wearing one of those cowboy shirts. She’s behind the counter talking to him. There’s a couple kids on the computers, one was texting and the other one was playing a game, so they were harmless. As soon as I figured that out, off to the coffee shop I go.
Just before you enter the coffee shop they got those two book alarms. I stop there and have a look inside. There are two barista’s, those nice ladies that serve the coffee and another customer, a young fellow, 20 years old around there. He’s got those worker boots on with the black toes, steel toe boots. They’re dangerous. He’s got jeans on, one of those worker jackets on and playing on a laptop. I figure he’s doing something so I keep an eye on him. The two young ladies, they’re behind the counter, so they’re alright. The counter is full of stuff, there’s no way you can get over the counter except going around to the back of it. I walk in, my eyes adjust a bit better and I go to the back of the restaurant where it goes to a sort of an outcrop that goes back to where the washrooms are. So that means I can sit with down, put my back to the back of the shop and watch the two ladies and the guy. So I’m looking at this guy, and I peek around his shoulder and he’s working on a resume. So we got him, he’s working on a resume, we have the two workers now and they are both dressed in a white shirt, black pants one has a black sweater. That’s basically a uniform so they are the servers. So I sit down and I have my stick, I have a walking cane. I’m just waiting and eventually one of them start to leave, because the two ladies were talking to each other. So one of them starts to leave she got notepad in her hand and she walking towards me. This is where the PTSD really kicks in. This is almost embarrassing. What’s my thought? Well if she comes forward and does an attack all I have to do is grab her hand, give it a yank she’ll be off balance. Once she’s off balance pulling her down exposes her neck and I can give her a good whack. Isn’t that terrible!? The effect of the whole thing and that’s terrible. But in that particular moment, at that particular time I’m not here, I’m there (Cyprus). Because I’m there, my thought patterns are for there, and not for here. That’s the snag of the PTSD, you lose it. You’re no longer in the present, you’re in the past. But you’re in the past, in the present. Does that make sense to you? In the past if you’re not paranoid to the eighth degree you’re in trouble. Being paranoid to the eighth degree in the past is life saving and good. But because it is a disease if you want to call it, in that particular time that past is the present. That’s the hard one I’m trying to get across.
She come up and says to me, “What would you like?”. I said “I would like a Chai tea and a peanut butter cookie if you please”.
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