Each Tuesday of the week I will post about triggers. I think maybe that will help as well as now you know what to expect rather than my random A-D-D ness in my posts.
Today’s trigger, I want to recall several years back. I was driving home from work, I was new at admitting I had PTSD, and I was still throwing a bit of the “BS” flag on everything. The drive home from work was about an hour depending on traffic. And there was really only one road that went there. Two if you wanted to drive WAY around and add time to your drive. Yet both ways there ended up out at ONE road. So I guess that means really ONE way once you get to a certain point. This always bothered me about North Carolina. Seemed no matter where you went there was one way in, one way out.
Yes, you probably know where I am going with this. If you have ever spent any time in combat or planning combat you know that one way in, one way out, means bad bad shit. This evening on my drive home there was a really bad accident ahead of me. I could not see the accident but I knew it was bad because traffic was unable to move for 3 hours as they called in a life flight. To add to this I was stopped on a little two lane bridge with an old ’62 Ford F100 long bed. There was no room for pulling a U turn at all. To top all of this off, there was construction going on at the same time, which led to less room than normal. This old Ford I had, had a bad gas gauge as well. At least at this point I KNEW the gas gauge did not work. I also KNEW when I got home I needed to gas up. But now I’m stuck.
I have my gas calculated. I know how far I can go on a tank, but I do not add in how long I can idle. This stressed me out horribly. I had a little 2 gallon gas can in the back, full of gas so I at least had that going for me. For the life of me though I could NOT get out of the truck. I had to stay in the driver seat. I had to be ready to go. I KNEW (and by know I mean my head was convinced in this false truth) that as soon as I got out they would open fire on us… or traffic would start moving… or… fuck! I could not leave, I knew I had gas, I knew we were stuck, and I knew we were in the civilized world. But my head was NOT there.
I was back in a convoy in a shithole called Afghanistan. I was truck 3 in a 3 truck convoy and I was rear security. I had to be ready at any moment. But I didn’t. I was absolutely freaking out in my head. I was going crazy, this was stupid! Where’s my guys? Where’s my team. I need them to cover me while I gas up. They weren’t there. I knew at any moment the ambush would start, and it was getting dark. I don’t have my God Damn NODS! FUCK! Well if the truck runs out of gas I will be worse off if we get ambushed. It took me 2 out of the 3 hours to unbuckle, get out of my truck, and pour a 2 gallon can of gas into my gas tank.
To this day I don’t know if I even needed to put it in or not. But I will forever remember that bridge. That moment, being stuck in two worlds. One reality and one memory intertwined and unpredictable. Many things went through my mind that today I know was not an option. At the time part of me must have realized that as well because I did not do any of the crazy things I felt would be justified. Thank God my wife had me talk to someone before that. I don’t think I could have separated the reality and not enough to not do something stupid had I not started that process of self-evaluation.
Huge Thanks to my wife for making me go, Huge Thanks to my wife for keeping me sane on the phone. Thank God I had someone to call.