That day you realize your post-traumatic stress syndrome veteran has recovered and you are struggling. As the wife of a PTSD veteran, one of my concerns is that I might have or develop symptoms. The other evening, I stopped at the local Food Lion to pick up cat food for the raccoon family we feed at Evansridge. Yes, we feed a mama raccoon and her babies and that is another story....It didn’t occur to me that the full parking lot were all my fellow neighbors getting those last necessities needed for the forecasted snow storm that has, at time of this post, dumped seven inches. But, this nagging concern became more than apparent to me as my smiling and genial cashier checked my purchases. She told me about the variety and quantity of groceries she’d noticed people couldn’t live without. Mid-way through our conversations, she asked her manager who was checking groceries in the lane behind her if she could shut off her “available” light to take care of something (I couldn’t hear what), but I did see him nod his head and off the light went. I said something about being clueless of the crowd when I walked in, recounting the first snow storm preparation I experienced back in 2000 when we first moved here and we both laughed at my story. She then told a customer who came in behind me that her lane was closed. He said the light was on when he came up. I am not going to continue on the back and forth, but I got involved in the conversation because the man was rude and he was pulling the “I am the customer card” to talk to her manager, who minutes earlier had given her permission to turn off her lane light. Now, I don’t know this man or what he was dealing with at the time, but to bully a cashier who is trying to do her job, was wrong. This is a long explanation for what I realized has happened with me. I told the cashier before I said anything to the customer “you are not going to win this”, because I have been in customer service in one mode or another all my career. “Customer is always right” even when they are not, but more to the point was my reaction, my choices to respond and to engage. Respond and engage at length. Which is not like me.
Afterward, I told my husband I understood what he meant when he would say that “going off felt good”. I was no longer tired or sick, I was putting my raccoon food away and looking over my shoulder, hoping to see that guy! The fact I was doing that, verbalizing that, has been on my mind all weekend. I recognize the anger and frustration in my posts on the current state of the union. I recognize the lack of patience in my relationships. I have withdrawn from activities I typically engaged in, pleading “overextension” which is not untrue, but I am now examining my reasoning and motivation. Am i “bunkerizing” on a small scale? What I realize is that as spouses of trauma victims, PTSD veterans, law enforcement, EMS workers, medical providers, and social workers, we may need a certain amount of help/counseling to deal with the trauma of our loved ones. We may need guidance and assistance to recognize tactics and tools to manage our own processing (or lack thereof) of our loved ones trauma and issues. Self-care. A concept that is essential in maintaining balance in yourself, your relationships, your work and your life. That is all.