Thanks, everybody. I'm experimenting with the idea of putting my wish to be "normal" with PTSD on hold. Instead, I'm shooting for "functional," functioning at work a little, functioning at play a little. Not being too demanding of myself, letting myself be when triggered.
Last night I went to a concert with friends from work. I'm kind of a PTSD hermit. It was the first time I'd gone out with coworkers like that in the 5 years I've worked with them. So it as kind of a trial run for me.
We had a good time at the concert. It was in a large nightclub with tables and waiters that brought your drinks. I didn't even have to ask for it, but my friends got a table for us all against the wall. That is good for my PTSD hypervigilance to dial down. When I sit in the middle of a crowd, my PTSD hypervigilance radar turns on and swivels for threats. So this was a good place to sit, the music wasn't too loud, I was in good company. The trial run was going well.
Then the singer shocked me. He sang a sad song about a famous musician of whom I was a fan in my youth. He was killed back in South America in a military coup. He was killed the very same year that I got PTSD. That was when was tortured at age 15 by a military patrol right after that same military coup.
It triggered me hard. I couldn't stop the tears from streaming down my face. I kept my sobbing sounds to a minimum there in the dark. After the song was over I composed myself. Once the concert was finished, on the way out of the nightclub one of my friends mentioned they'd heard my crying. I acknowledged it. They asked me if I knew about the singer whose martyrdom was the subject of the song. I said "yes," that I was a fan, that his murder shocked me and my young generation, and that he was murdered the year I got PTSD from torture. They were kind in listening, and then we went on with the evening and had coffee after the show.
It seemed OK after the show, and it seemed to still be OK this morning. I had breakfast with those friends, and they didn't mention anything about my triggered moment last night. They just said they had a good time, and that we should do this all together again. They were serious, we discussed a few future dates.
One of the group lost his wife to cancer a year ago. I performed his wife's funeral a year ago. Since it's the 1st year anniversary of his loss, he wanted for me to listen to his thoughts about working through his grief in the past year. He also wanted to plan another memorial for her and told me he'd like for to be a part of it. I was able to be his listener, and as for being part of the memorial service, I said yes.
I just want to ask you now, my friends with PTSD who get triggered, too: given this report of my evening and its aftermath today, do you think it's really OK? Is this how to stop being a hermit, go out to entertainment with coworkers, talk to them about my feelings, listen to theirs, and cope with being PTSD triggered out in the world? Is this how we do it?
I'm really asking, I'm not protesting nor complaining. If this is how we do it, I think I can manage going out again with coworkers maybe once a month or so, like they discussed. If I missed anything, please let me know. It's been 5 years of being a hermit for me, so I'm learning. Thanks for your support, truly.
Does anyone struggle with health anxiety? This is new for me (although I've had other anxieties in the past) and I'm looking for someone feeling the same things as I am.