For the past couple of days, I have been wracking my brain thinking about what I was going to write about this week. Then, I almost got in a car accident yesterday and I’ve been a wreck since.
I have found my topic.
I hate the rain. Detest the cold, wetness when it soaks into my clothes and dampens me through my skin, straight to my bones…instantly.
Yet, somehow for some reason, I was energized by the rain and decided to do some adulting. So, I did the dishes & laundry, then went to the grocery store.
Everything went perfectly at the store, even though I forgot my grocery list at home. I did my best to remember what I needed, and, thankfully, remembered the most important items.
Loading the groceries in the car and putting the carriage in the corral went smoothly. Even getting gas went off without a hitch, and usually I end up having to go in because my card hates the gas pumps.
Something was very wrong, and I had no idea.
When I got up yesterday, I wanted to stay in bed all day long, but I didn’t want it to lead to another battle with depression. So, I forced myself to get dressed and live life, instead of letting it just pass me by.
I wish I had listened to myself.
On my way home, I went the same route I always do. I wanted to avoid the highway because, you know…accidents.
I drove past the police station, high school and nursing home, then turned left. Drove by the church, the run down building I want to turn into a book store and the tavern right next door.
I was almost home…about five minutes away.
There was a car in front of me, and another car at the end of a side street on my right. It was a goldish/brown Oldsmobile, with a white male wearing a hoodie, and a beard. He looked my way, looked right, and then started to pull out to make his left turn right as I was approaching him. Before I knew it, he wasn’t stopping…he continued to make his turn as if my car didn’t even exist.
No one was in the oncoming lane of traffic, so I swerved as hard as I could. In my mind’s eye, I felt the impact of his front passenger side colliding with the rear passenger side of my car. I saw my car spinning, possibly flipping over, and my son being lost and left on his own until someone figured out what to do with him…how to contact his father. I saw our lives flash before my eyes and I began shaking uncontrollably.
I couldn’t breathe.
It wasn’t from my asthma. It was my anxiety, and it all happened in the blink of an eye.
I pulled over right away. I couldn’t regain control over my breathing, my mind was racing, I was crying, and my hands…my whole body…would NOT stop shaking. I tried deep breaths. I tried redirecting my thinking. I even tried changing the music on the radio to something more calming. Grounding myself didn’t even work.
Then, it dawned on me.
I was fine. My son was fine. No one got hurt…thank God.
So, I took a deep breath (still shaking), put my blinker on, checked if the lane was clear, then I pulled into traffic and drove home.
I couldn’t afford to get myself some weed this month, so I had no anxiety medicine. No way to calm down my nervous system and stop the shaking, other than riding it out.
That was the worst part about the whole thing. When the situation is completely over and all of the disgusting feelings linger longer than is necessary. When just the thought of getting in my car makes my heart race and my hands shake.
Now imagine feeling that a million times every second of every day for almost twelve years.
That’s just a glimpse of what CPTSD can feel like.
Imagine adding visual flashbacks of every traumatic event you’ve ever experienced in your life to the physical symptoms I described above. Imagine what that must be like to live with every time you even see something as simple as a cauliflower in the grocery store.
That’s what happens when I’m triggered, and that’s what I fear every time I walk out the door of my comfy home.
I should have stayed in bed yesterday, but I didn’t let that stop me from leaving the house today.
The fear will never leave me, but I will never let it stop me from living my life.