As you all know by now, I spent the 8th down in DC attending a panel discussion. The hardest part of the day I knew was coming in advance: Riding the DC Metro. I don't do well in subways. Too many people to watch, too many points of ingress and egress. It sets me on a very dangerous edge most of the time.
Knowing that I was going to be riding the DC Metro to and from the National Press Club meant I needed to prepare for the ride so that I didn't paint myself into an anxiety corner. The panel discussion was too important.
What I decided on was taking my new sleep apnea machine down with me to DC the night before and getting a REALLY good night's sleep. That thing works like a dream. I may sound like Darth Vader when I'm breathing, but I woke up very well rested and better equipped to face the day. It was pretty amazing. It was my first night sleeping using the apnea machine and I felt like someone had flipped a switch in my brain. I felt a whole lot more stable. Regardless, I took an extra dose of anxiety medication to ensure I didn't freak out or get irritable on a morning when I couldn't afford it.
Then it was time: I got on the Metro car and stood next the the door with my back to as few people as possible and a good view of the rest of the car. It was rush hours, so there was no chance of putting my back against the wall. I got a little jittery but the DC Metro is nothing like New York. It's clean, quiet and comparatively efficient. On the way back it was even easier. The ride was off-peak and easy.
I felt incredibly proud of myself. I recognized that the PTSD could cause a problem, identified ways of coping with it so that it wouldn't keep me from doing something I really wanted to do. It was refreshing and a major step in the right direction. Let's see what tomorrow brings.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.