Monday, October 31, 2011

The Ejection From My Ivory Tower (an introduction)

My name is Nina and I think I have PTSD.... and its just now really hitting me.

Almost 6 months ago I was involved in a robbery.
As I was getting out of my car after parking in DC's Eastern Market to go into the house I was renting a room in, I heard footsteps running towards me. I turned around to find a gun pointed directly at my face. It was 3pm in the afternoon
I didn't scream, or even panic as I would assume would be normal in those circumstances, but instead ducked to the ground, trying to make myself as small as possible, even though there were two of them surrounding me. As one man pointed his gun towards my face and told me to hand over my things I could feel the muzzle of the other directly behind my head.
I did exactly what he asked, and in a natural reaction I looked up as I was handing him my beautiful, pink & blue coach bag, and in doing so incurred the wrath of his partner who slammed the butt of his gun into the back of my head. I was dazed sitting there on the ground, until I realized they were making for my car, My beloved Roxie- the first car I ever bought for myself, my beautiful convertible that I had been enjoying on the drive home not 15 minutes prior. Anyone who knows me knows I have an unnatural addiction to my car.
I lost my mind in that moment-- I got to my feet immediately in front of the car, begging these people not to take her, I didn't care about the rest of my stuff, just don't take my car. Of course criminals with guns do not listen to the begging of a tiny little girl, they pointed at me again and told me to get out of the way or they'd shoot. My brain seemed to come back to me in that instant and I full out ran down the street towards my house as they took off in my car.
5 seconds later a car- someones company car by the look of the stickers covering the outside came driving down the street and unworried about myself I ran into the street, banging on the man's window to get him to stop. I was out of breath telling the man over and over that I had just been car jacked and please call 911. Im not sure what his MO was but he told me to get in his car- which I staunchly refused- no way was I getting robbed and kidnapped in the same day. He pulled over and called the police- but immediately left as they were arriving- which makes me think again he was up to something nefarious.
Describing a crime to police has got to be one of the most annoying things EVER.... second only to the stupid questions the EMTs ask to make sure you don't have a concussion. Doesn't help that Im a smart ass and was in no mood to deal with people. At least the cops were nice enough to suggest that I take a couple shots or make myself a drink once we managed to break into my house (I didnt have the key because it was with the stolen car key)- which of course I didnt waste any time before taking their advice.
The rest of the day flew by... more questioning, more reliving the experience, emotional calls to my mother, my former roommate and my boss, Facebook posts and messages, my mom and brother picking me up and taking me home for the rest of the week, and of course lots of crying.

My mind was running a mile a minute the whole time, I was exhausted but afraid to fall asleep- scared of reliving it for real- in my nightmares. I kept wondering if the two men I saw walk by my car as I was parking were the same two who robbed and assaulted me? If I had parked on the street instead of using the parking spot my landlord lent us for the week would it not have happened? Was there anything that I could have done to fight back? and more seriously- wow was I lucky they didnt shoot at me when I got in front of my car or while I was running away.

My car was found the next day, although I was not informed of it until a handful of days (excruciatingly long days of waiting) later after many harassing phone calls to the police department, and more having to relive the experience for the insurance company. When I finally got her back she was unharmed- minus the layer of black finger print dust. After a quick checkup and detailing she was better than new, I felt like it was the first step to healing.

So why now am I starting to feel more afraid when I go out instead of less, why does the event plague my thoughts now 6 months later? Some might call its delayed PTSD- apparently this can and has happened even up to 2 years after an event if theres a trigger (an emotional event). Im not sure thats it, but im considering the possibility. So what would be my trigger? my mothers surgery- it was minor and she's fine, the bad emotions i'm dealing with regarding a silly boy- I don't see how the two would connect, the rash of crimes in DC- maybe but this news hasnt affected me before now.... I don't know but recently I haven't been able to get it out of my head.
Last week leaving my apartment I heard a loud noise and something flew at me, I gasped and ducked back into the doorway- it was only a flyer and the wind. Thursday walking to Starbucks a man (in a business suit) crossed the street and came within half an arms reach from me, I jumped and ran to the edge of the sidewalk away from him until he passed by. Im jumpy for no reason in the parking garage at school, and got freaked out walking across the military base I work on. Something is throwing me off recently, and i've got to figure it out. I can't live in a constant state of panic.

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