Thursday, July 21, 2016

I am a victim

I never thought I'd type that title.

I've never been arrogant enough or foolish enough to believe that it would never happen to me. In my 37 years on this earth, I've worked a few jobs where it could have happened, pushing a Dickie Dee Ice Cream cart around Mount Pearl, working in a gas station, working in a little corner store. Never ever did it happen, and now it has.

This past Sunday while my coworker and I were working our overnight shift as normal, we were held up. I will not get into the details here, suffice to say that it happened very quickly, we complied with the robbers demands and no one was physically hurt.

But physical hurt is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to something like this. Once the shock wears off and the adrenaline subsides, you have to deal with the mental and emotional hurt that is left in their place.

I left work early for obvious reasons, I was ready to breakdown but me being the person I am, I cannot and will not do it in front of people. It's not fear of looking weak, it's not some macho bullshit about being a guy, I just feel very private when it comes to my emotions and I'd rather be in my apartment feeling safe, and alone, before I let myself go.

After a good cry and a not so good large helping of McDonald's, I felt better and the morning wore on. I read the news stories that got posted about the incident, made sure that family and friends knew I was alright and checked on my coworker. I don't know why, but that first morning I was famished and after the 4:00am McDonald's, I found myself at a pizza place when they opened and I downed a large pizza and small garlic fingers.

I was feeling full, and better by the minute, I thought the worst had passed.

Then I tried to go to sleep.

It was 1:00pm, not a bad time for an overnight worker to call it a day and go to sleep. I was finally tired, had a full (possibly overfull) belly, I was tucked comfortably in my bed, who could ask for more?

Then I closed my eyes.

Then I was back behind the desk.

Then he was running through the door with a weapon.

I opened my eyes and I was back in my bed, in my apartment and everything was fine and I was safe and sound in my bed. Everything was as it should be. but every time I closed my eyes, the robbery replayed in my head. My brain would not stop the virtual play by play playback like some deranged film technician put the events in a loop on permanent playback.

I got out of bed and curled up on my couch and put a movie on to try and drift off that way. Surely a movie will just make me drowsy at this point and I'll sleep. My eyes closed and the replay started again. At this point I realize I'm not getting any sleep at all so I continue to watch the movie (I forget what one at this point) and then my conscious mind starts to wander.

I have to work that upcoming night at midnight and I wasn't looking forward to it. I didn't want to go back to the scene right away, but we only have so many overnight staff and if I call in for my shift then whoever is working would most likely work alone and I didn't want that to happen. Or they'd call in my coworker who was with me when the robbery happened and I didn't want them to have to work right away again either.

I emailed my manager and explained my thoughts and how I was feeling and he replied that he couldn't tell me what to do but he'd understand if I didn't work my shift that night. Finally at about 5:00pm exhaustion took over and I slept until 9:00pm and it was dreamless, I think because my brain had no choice but to give up.

I got up, emailed my manager back that I would work and proceeded to get ready and psych myself up to go to work at midnight. The drive in that night was the most nervous I have ever felt. I had a knot in my stomach, I had the shakes and I was near tears the entire way across town.

But I did go to work and after settling back into my regular routine, it wasn't a bad night. I'm glad that I forced myself to go in. After that shift I had a week's vacation booked that was booked prior to this and if I'd put off going back for a week I might have been worse off than going back right away.

Tuesday morning I left work and I stayed up. I didn't want to sleep, I didn't want to close my eyes. I went through most of the day in a fog. I posted about what happened on my Facbook, to explain to friends what had happened and that no, I'm not okay and I know that and it will take time to be ok again but I will get there. The messages of support I got were amazing and touching and almost overwhelming, I was blown away. I love my friends and I'm so grateful to have such a support net around me.

Tuesday evening I just passed out again from exhaustion and I slept from about 9:30pm until 8:00am and it was an amazing sleep. It was the best sleep of the week and might be in the top ten of sleeps I've ever had.

I got up Wednesday morning and went to get an oil change done on my Jeep. The sun was shining, I was listening to some good music and I love to drive and it was a nice day to do just that. I got to the garage and had to wait a few minutes for my turn, and then it hit me.

Out of nowhere I start to shake. I got a huge knot in my gut and a lump in my throat. I was on the verge of crying again. A wave of panic and sadness hit me and knocked the wind out of me. Then I got more confused than upset at what was happening. I think the confusion pushed back whatever was happening to me because it passed quickly and I felt normal again.

I think it was a panic attack, from talking to friends and reading up on the subject, that may be what happened. I wanted to know why. I mean obviously I know the underlying reason is the robbery, but I want to know why I had that reaction when I did. I wasn't thinking of the robbery, I was enjoying a sunny day and some good music and all was seemingly right with the world. I can't for the life of me figure out what triggered it. I don't know and I probably won't know what it was.

Now it's Thursday evening and the day passed without any incident. I'm on vacation and going camping in the morning with some of my closest friends and some ice cold beverages of choice. Three days of that I think I think is just what any doctor would order.

No I haven't seen a professional yet, I've only talked about my experience with friends. I'm going to see how this weekend plays out and if any more incidents happen. If they do, then I'll be talking to my doctor first thing on Monday and see what she recommends or refers me to. I'll also be hearing from the police's victim services unit and I'll see who they recommend as well. I know I have options and I know I'm not alone and I will explore all avenues as needed.

If anything happens I'll update with another blog post. The reason I wrote this recap was to get my thoughts out of my head and to be able to read over them again later. If anything else happens, I'm writing it down too.

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