Today — Patriots Day, 9-11 — is hard on my PTSD.
I woke up this morning feeling extremely anxious and like I just wanted to crawl back under the covers. I forced myself to get up and get going anyway, telling myself to stop being such a big wimpy baby. 9-11 happened 17 years ago, and I did not personally know anyone who was killed that day. I wasn’t in New York City at the time, or in Washington, DC. I was in eastern Pennsylvania — miles away from Shanksville, where the last plane went down. So I really don’t have any valid reasons to feel anxious, triggered, and re-traumatized, simply because the calendar says it is September 11.
And yet, anxious, triggered, and traumatized is how I have felt, all day. And I still feel that way, although it is now very late in the evening.
I belong to the local VFW auxiliary. A few days ago, the auxiliary president called me and asked if I could help out with the lunch they were having today, in honor of Patriots Day. I said that I would, and I also volunteered to bring dessert. But, because of my severe anxiety this morning, I got there almost two hours later than I had intended to do. Instead of getting there three hours early to help set up, I walked in just a little over an hour before the lunch was scheduled to start.
I dropped off my pies and ice cream in the kitchen, and asked what I could do to help. After being told that there wasn’t anything left for me to do, I felt very guilty for not getting there early enough to do any of the work. As I felt my heart begin to pound, I slipped out the door, hustled to my car, and drove straight home. Where I did, indeed, crawl back into bed.
WHY does this day trigger me so bad? I don’t really know… except… the sudden, unexpected nature of the attacks. The horror, and the vicious evil nature of the attacks. The randomness, and the innocent victims, who just happened to be in the wrong place at the worst time. This so closely mirrors the worst of my traumas. Random, sudden, horrific, and EVIL. And for many of those traumas, I was just a kid, born into the wrong family, in the wrong place at the worst time.
And I never knew when, where, or how the evil was going to strike again.
*This post started out as a comment I posted on Cynthia Bailey Rug’s blog: