I have spent the day at my local coffee shop, and what a day it has been. I do this because of my PTSD, agoraphobia, and high anxiety. This is what the doctors at the VA call exposure therapy. I have Scrubs, my PTSD service dog, at my side and my back to a corner or to the planter when I sit outside.
I am watching the new employee learn how to wash the tables and get the speech about trash and picking up after messy customers. She is doing such a good job.
I am enjoying this environment. How bad can it be when there is coffee involved? I don’t drink much coffee now that I have started training for my cross-country bicycle trip. But today I feel like having a coffee day.
I can’t believe how much my life has changed in the past year. I could not have predicted any of this in my wildest imagination. My PTSD has attacked my life, my family, and my friends leaving all of us in this wake of devastation and wondering what we do now. Over the past few months, I have accomplished so very much, gained some amazing new friends, and really strengthened some old relationships.
The biggest message for my readers suffering with PTSD symptoms is this: PTSD is treatable. It just doesn’t feel that way all the time. Actually, for the longest time I would have bet money that it would never get any better. The truth is that nobody can help you if you try to keep it a secret. Letting people in was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. The embarrassment, humiliation, and the overwhelming feelings that I had at first kept me hiding in my room for several months.
I have come a long way in the past six months surviving with PTSD. This journey, or transformation if you will, is scary but I am doing it. I have my ways of coping or, as I call it, “hiding in plain sight.” With all the new people I have coming in and out of my life, I can actually feel the change and the people in my life actually see the healing happening. This journey I will be taking on my bicycle in the spring has just been a dream of mine, and as I let people in and talk about my treatment with the doctors and about my emotions with my friends and family, I can really see this cross-country trip happening.
I had a great conversation with a major PTSD organization today, and it was really exciting to hear their enthusiasm for this Awareness Adventure bike trip. That was a definite upswing on the daily up and down of my roller coaster.
And this has definitely been a roller coaster, a battle that I was not willing to lose. The PTSD symptoms I have been dealing with had been getting the better of me the past few days. Hours of crying in my room. Lies I was trying to convince myself were true so I could stay home and not feel guilty about it. All just another bad reason not to leave the house. I looked at Scrubs, and she seemed to be on her game today. Sometimes when I put on her vest, she has this look in her eye like, “let’s do this.” This morning she was a superhero with me for coffee. This afternoon I had some high anxiety and started crying in the coffee shop. Scrubs started pulling me and being a royal pain in the . . . Well, she was doing her job. I ended up at another store buying a gift for my soon to be Ex Wife that does not want anything to do with me. Why did I do that? I miss her. Now back to the coffee shop and my safe corner. Then, as quick as Scrubs started wagging her tail, I made a new friend and had a conversation that ended way too soon.
This has been a great coffee day, indeed.