(part-time master of post traumatic stress)
I had a blowout on the freeway and I made it home safe. Yet, in dealing with it, I had a collapse of confidence in myself and respect for my abilities. I wanted to call myself so many names due to my disappointment in yesterday afternoon’s events.
That is the essence of what happened yesterday afternoon. No complaints were filed by me on the internet, as I gained perspective on life as soon as I plugged into Facebook yesterday.
I saw my friend and longtime associate in oath SSGT. G***, USMC, posting on FB the recruit training photos of his unit brethren who perished in battle 12 years previous tamiflu cost.
I had no encounters with anything remotely distressing enough to post outright that “my day s@cked” or ‘life is sh1t’. I did, however, have an encounter with PTSD, and I am here to talk about it, after a brief claim:
I did not suffer any stress in my military service that has any bearing on the following claims of PTSD.
My parents fought awfully when i was a wee lad. Those were the earliest traumatic events.
The more frequent and physically intense traumas came from motor vehicle accidents (as a passenger/single car in 1994, 1995, 1997, driver/two-car in 2001). The freeway accident in 1997 was an astonishing birth of an immense trauma at 430AM, 16 June. It was dark, there were no street lights along US Interstate 476 near Philly.
I was splayed the f%ck out on the freeway for about two full seconds. Landed on the asphalt after being ejected from the Wrangler, and rolling several times.
“Darkness warshed over the Dude – darker’n a black steer’s tookus on a moonless prairie night. There was no bottom.”
I was out cold, splayed the f*ck out on interstate 476 at 430AM for about two full seconds.
Throughout the last 19 years, this accident has factored into several of my daily practices.
Allow me to state that again, without yelling (picture me fixing you with a gaze)
Every physical action in my day is informed by the injuries incurred during the above stated MVA
-from how I negotiate a good sleeping position
-to whether or not she and I have coitus immediately following reveille
-even the order in which i wash my naughty self in the shower
-and most importantly, the clothes I select for training and work
19 years later and I am getting a better handle on sleep, sex, exercise, nutrition, and performance enhancement through quality practice (exercise) due to the fact that I have these traumas, not ‘in spite of’ these situations.
That sh*it all made me better, is what i tell myself. Yay, I can do it, I tells myself.
Until a blowout, southbound at 78MPH.
Got from fast lane to median/oasis no problem. Vehicle had donut and tools, no problem, I have changed tires before, no problem. But, wait: I’m scared!
As I stood there and took inventory of the Audi A4 tool kit for wheel exchange, the sound of a wall of traffic, five lanes deep and 85MPH strong rushed past me and set of my Poppa Tango Sierra Delta. That is not my dad’s dance partner from Mississippi, that is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder being touched off. The following symptoms were present:
Disorientation, or, immediate fear as soon as I turned my eyes to the task of setting the hand-jack to lift the car.
Psychomotor retardation, or, the inability to perform simple tasks with a noteworthy impairment of speech or affect.
I have changed tires as recently as two years ago, and I also provided aid to a disabled vehicle’s owner in the rain on 76 East at night, and did not freak out then. Yesterday was different. When I took my eyes away from the roaring traffic to crank the hand-jack, I flipped out.
Now you are to discover why the title of this post is ‘Watch Your Pronouns’.
“Don’t be a p*ssy! Don’t b!tch out! Be a man! You went to blah blah blah 19 years ago. . .”
These gerund phrases in which I aimed to rally my motor skills beyond a wall of scars did not place me in a quality state from which I could maneuver, or, address the situation.
Telling myself I was a p*ssy, or a b^tch did not jive with my goal- getting to a better state and fixing the tire. Instead, it reminded me of a conversation from 2009, wherein a California girl asked me “what i meant when i said ‘Don’t be a bitch’ or ‘don’t be a pussy’ “
All I could detail for her was that i meant don’t be lame, don’t be a wimp. . .
She then asked why did I not just say that? Well, I replied. . .and then trailed off. I had to think about it. While I did, she offered a final item:
When you apply the words pussy and bitch in a descriptive capacity, you are intimating that these unfavorable characteristics (being lame, being wimpy) are feminine.
Jaw agape, i tried to lift my knuckles off the floor when I walked away. Nothing in her manner or tone was condescending or scolding, yet I felt cretinous. Later in life, or, five months ago, I had an excellent conversation with a co-worker at a bar in Philly. I mentioned to him that I held the door for some customers on their way out and I said something to the effect of ‘. . .ladies have a nice evening’ and there was an individual who was clearly in transition in the small group. I did not know or care what their trans-vector was, and they turned to me with a smile, a real smile, and replied “not all ladies”, smiled again, and rolled out. I relayed the story to my mate C, and he told a tale (and provided images) that went somethin’ like this:
C’s close friend is a gay lady who , before introducing her new partner to Chris, showed him a photo. He thinks to himself “ok, she went back to men. . .”. This, however, was inaccurate, as the new partner had transitioned, and was visibly committed to adding lean muscle mass and developing a physique which aligns the physiology to their psychology. I thought it was awesome. Two people were in love and having good sex (i hope) and two people got informed. When C told me that his friend told of her partner’s transition, his thoughts were “watch your pronouns, gotta watch your pronouns these days, at work and in friendship”.
So, here I was, unable to perform on the freeway, berating myself in language i don’t even brandish anymore, on a small triangular concrete on-ramp oasis next to an interstate. Fretting, instead of acting.
I usually take the advice of my least favorite president-T. Roosevelt, and chose to “get action, be sane” when the going gets tough.
In this case I experienced psychomotor impairment due to onset of stress response due to past trauma, and then had a fastidious debate with a person in my head. F*ck my eye and call me blind. . .I was not a real adult yesterday. I had a real tough time out there on that freeway on-ramp median, though it was safe.
I called roadside assistance, thrice. There were two dropped calls, and the third was inaudible due to the interstate commotion. I bailed. Called an Uber, went home, waited for the dog daycare chauffeur to return my male 60lb. Catahoula, Riggs Balboa, or “Rocky”.
When he was home, fed, and crated after 9 hours with other dogs, I struck out in my USA assembled Dodge pickup with a socket set, WD40, a flashlight, and a giant pink lemonade to remedy the situation. I drive for money, after all, and had to be up and running ASAFP.
Went back there can called roadside, it was all good in about 45 minutes. I picked my girl up, and retrieved the car. Went to Five Guys afterward. Had a pair of double cheeseburgers with LTOP Ketchup & Mustard. Also, a malted milkshake with whipped cream. I had a black coffee afterward, and told my special lady to call me Jack reacher XXL.