PTSD Sucks

Anxiety is kicking my ass.  I’m trying to ignore it because I know it’s from pre-trip jitters.  I didn’t sleep well last night.  I got 2 hours, but after my cat stepped on me to change positions, I awoke and spent a good hour imagining all the things that could go wrong tomorrow.  It’s semi-productive in that I brainstorm ideas to cope with potential disasters.  But it also makes my anxiety skyrocket, and if I entertain it for too long, I’ll chicken out and stay home.  I’ll be bringing my Apple Watch, even though I rarely remember I have it.  It has a feature that makes it vibrate briefly to remind you to stand up if you’re seated for too long.  It annoyed me at first, but now I see that it might be the best feature for me to avoid getting too focused.

I’ll be sure to set some alarms on it while waiting for my return flight.  The 1 hour early rule for security is a bother.  I worry I’ll get too absorbed in a game and lose track of time.  When I was half asleep, this was a potential disaster.  Now that I’m awake, I recognize the fact that it wouldn’t be a big deal.  I could just purchase another ticket and go home later or the next day.  Probably the next day, as there aren’t  a lot of non-stop flights between here and Denver.  If this happens, I’ll go back to the hotel and get a room, run on the treadmill until the pending meltdown goes away, and then carry on like it’s not a life and death situation regardless of my fight or flight kicking in.

That’s probably the worst part of PTSD.  Having minor situations turn into fight or flight physiologically when it’s not at all a reasonable reaction.  A sudden loud noise.  Someone bumping into me.  No reason I can decipher.  It sucks.  It feels like I’m about to be pushed off the top of a skyscraper, and I can’t do anything to prevent it.  This is not how a person should feel when someone coughs loudly.  It makes you want to curl into a ball and cry.  I’m past telling myself I should be “over it” by now.  I’ve accepted that this is life for me.  I do what I can to avoid situations I know will cause this reaction.  But I also know it will still happen sometimes, and that even though it feels like I’m dying, I’m not.  It’s just my body being out of sync with reality to due to trauma that my mind couldn’t process in real time.

When I break it down like that, it makes it less overwhelming.  I’m tired and wired, but that’s okay.  I’ve mastered functioning with sleep deprivation and anxiety.  Yes, I rock in public like I’m listening to hip hop on steroids.  Yes, I walk around like I’m trying to physically escape anxiety.  It makes me feel like I have some control.  So I do what I have to do to be okay, and am okay because of it.  Fair trade.  The occasional person asking me if I’m lost, or need help finding a bathroom, are people who probably recognize that I’m autistic and alone, and just want to help.  They don’t know that their attempted assistance makes it many times more anxious for me, and mean well.  Headphones help with that.

Yesterday, when I was at the county clerks office to re-register as a Democrat, some asshole sitting across from me in the waiting area started rocking with me and laughing.  I flipped him off.  I was so not amused.  He’s probably a Trump chump, who figured it’s funny to make fun of other people who are different, because their chosen idol behaves this way, and gets lots of attention for it.   And *I’m* the one considered socially awkward.  Go figure.

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