I know I stated as much in previous posts, but I am done letting the PTSD be the focal point in our lives. As a result of this promise to myself, we tried something we haven't tried in a while: We went out shopping at a department store. Here's how it went.
My wife needed new shirts for work so we went to Kohls. We walked in, wife next to me and Caley in the stroller. The place was packed, I mean packed. For those of you familiar with Kohls, yesterday was a Kohls Cash day. Yeah. Oops. My wife, Dani, turned to look for my reaction. I immediately turned down the aisle with the least amount of people. Dani asked me, "Isn't women's clothes the other direction?" I told her it was. She looked back at the crowds near the registers and we both started to chuckle.
Then Dani's face turned deadly serious and she asked, "are you going to be ok?" I told her I would be ok and told her that I just needed to stay out of the middle of the crowds. We went 'around the block' and avoided the mess at the registers. She got her shopping done and we headed up towards the registers. I started feeling a little nervous, because it was very crowded. I looked at my daughter, who was straining to get out and run around. I got her out and we ran around in a wide open space, while we waited for mommy to check out.
When mommy was done, we collected Caley up in the stroller and left. Dani was looking at me with thoughtful eyes. She didn't say anything but I think my reactions surprised her. Here's why:
I the past, I would have walked in, seen the crowds, become instantly super anxious, and turned right back around and back out, leaving Dani and Caley in the store. Usually, Dani would get frustrated - she wanted to do something as a family - and turn around and we'd go back home. See how the resentment builds? Well, NOT THIS TIME!
Yes, I recognized that the crowd made me anxious. The jump I didn't make was to assume that something bad was going to happen and that i was going to flip out and do something stupid.
Yesterday was refreshing. We'll have to do it again some time soon. Just not today. Baby steps, baby steps.
As I continue my life with PTSD, I will share my challenges and discoveries on this blog.