I realize for most people, being normal is ‘overrated’. The same cannot be said for those of us with PTSD. For us, the very notion of ‘normal’ is something we fear we may never experience again. We often mourn the loss of what others take for granted every day and in the same breath feel guilty at the thought of our brothers and sisters who lost their lives…so what right do we have to complain?
Today was going rather well, but then it was a day that I didn’t have to leave the house…or so I thought. It’s amazing how something so seemingly trivial as a grocery store can ruin my day. No, I didn’t have to deal with a rude customer, an inept cashier or an uncaring manager. I simply had to go inside, pick up three items, pay and walk out. Seems like a pretty ‘normal’ thing to do, right? Well for someone with PTSD, it’s anything but normal.
Imagine for a moment. Think back to a time that really had your adrenaline pumping. Perhaps a near-miss car accident, loosing track of your child in a crowd, that sudden unexpected clap of thunder. Think of how your heart pounded in your chest, your muscles ached to either swing or flee, your every sense heightened. Remember that feeling? The scent of burning rubber as you slammed your foot on the breaks, the way your hands trembled for an hour afterwards. Now…imagine feeling that way for ABSOLUTELY NO REASON. That is what a person with PTSD goes through every day.
For us, there is no ‘normal’. Walking through the grocery store (for those of us who can actually leave our homes) causes the same reaction. Our hearts pound, our hands shake, our senses both heighten as well as ‘scope-lock’. We become hyper-aware of our surroundings which only causes everything else to become even more overwhelming. All this from simply walking through a grocery store. What could be more ‘normal’ than that?
Days like today have me counting down more fervently to June 4th…the day I start my training with my new service dog. Thank God there are groups like K9s for Warriors.