**Possible Trigger post***
Anymore I had difficulties remembering what last year was like, or even the year before. I know we had a profound loss of the matriarch of our family, I know I had to take my long time 'browned out' drug/protection dog to be put to sleep and I know that some terrible things happened in addition to this.
Most of all I know the response I have when things get tough, get too crowded. It was only a few months ago that I had a session that set off a series of responses to stress. I'd left to go to the grocery store because I'd said I would. The worst time of day to go, busy, first week of the month, it was very crowded.
On my route to get the first 3 items I was bumped into no less than 5 times. My inner alarms bells started ringing, "not safe, not safe", then my hypervigilence kicked in. I noticed a man who appeared to be following the same route through the store and kept attempting to make eye contact. I get to the checkout and do self checkout again. The loud speaker on the checkout machine says "card rejected" whilst accepting my card and charging it, spitting out a receipt. Everyone seems to be staring at me and whispering. The employee comes over to use her key to make sure all is in order. By this point I'm sweating profusely, trembling.
I get moving quickly to my car, cwap where did I park again? which entrance did I come in? Okay, I'm okay. I've parked close to the cart return to make things easier. I notice yet again the same guy that was going through the same route in the store is walking my direction. I get my items put into the truck, loudly slam the lid, shove the cart to the back of the return.
Then 2 things happen, a car back into a car waiting. Car alarms go off, someone shrieks and runs towards the car that was backing out. The man who appeared to be following me in the store talks to me saying "omg! did you see that?"..My stress level is way beyond a 10 and I want to run, run far away back to the safety of my 'safe zone'.
I am frozen though. Stuck to the spot I'm at. Everything seems to stop, slow down, become very very crystal clear. I look at the man, scan him head to toe, checking for weapons and possible threat. I look at the accident, is anyone hurt? No, all are out of the car, security is outside now with them. Fast response there. I scan my immediate space, start moving purposefully to my car. As I approach it I begin scanning the outside of my car and slowly move around it checking it before I even think about it. My hand goes automatically to my thigh pocket to pull out my extendable mirror I no longer carry and which isn't there. What am I doing? What am I doing? Stop, stop this, just get into the car.
Check my mirrors, I back out slowly, move to the street, checking checking. Driving I get into "hot mode" and start moving in and out of lanes, hyper focus again. The light is RED that means STOP at the intersection. STOP. I stop, looking over and over in my mirrors. I can do this, I can get home.
I pull into the drive, breathe, breathe, open the truck, get items out. My daughter opens the inner door and the new dog jumps up to open the storm door for me so excited I'm home.
"mom, MOM, are you okay? what happened?"
There is no way to explain this so I simply say... "it was really crowded at the store."
The worst part...by the time I gotten in the door I'd forgotten why exactly I was sweating, shaking. The memory had just lost itself in the fog of my TBI brain.
When we connect with each other we ease each other's plight, if we keep each other beyond that fingertip reach? we lose out on healing. Let us all hold that line TOGETHER. It's time.