Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Another shock to my system

December 23rd... A time for merriment, preparing to leave our homes and journey off to destinations near or far to be with our families for the holidays.

Unfortunately its also a time ripe for those who commit crimes (whether because theyre poor or because theyre hateful people). News stories have been rampant this year telling people to beware of criminals staking you out when shopping or leaving your own home for a few days. Its the perfect opportunity for thieves to strike- to grab your packages out of your hands, your vehicle or your home while your back is turned or youre hundreds of miles away.

One of my friends got robbed in DC on the 23rd. He was packing his truck to head down to his mothers. In a good mood thanks to the holiday, but as he checked his house one last time and picked up the last of the things he was planning on taking with him there was a loud crash from outside. He came out the door just in time to see a man running down the street with his backpack, looking back at his truck- the window was smashed... among other things, his brand new laptop with his Masters degree thesis paper was in that backpack.

Even scarier? This isnt the first time its happened to him. Last time, they broke in the back window of his truck- grabbing a few things including a rather costly triathalon bicycle.

It gets worse.... I was supposed to have gone to his house the night before for a Christmas party. (I skipped it because I had been up late the night before, been busy at work, and had to deal with a bit of holiday cheer of my own- Someone pulled a hit and run on my car just a week previous while I was in class). His house is also only 5 or 6 blocks from where I take classes, Ive been there many times because we used to do dinner regularly... I never felt unsafe there before- despite having seen a car with a broken window there on a previous occasion. At this point with my history, Im not sure I can go there again... and im certain to be even more nervous each time I head into the city for class.

Things seem to be getting worse rather than better... and the more people I know who have such events happen to them, the more nervous I get about going anywhere near DC. Im very glad I live in VA again... The problem being I used to love exploring DC... and now even despite the elapsed time (almost 8 months) and because of other isolated incidents, Im no where near getting over my fear of the city.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

JAWS

Just when you think its safe to go back into the water....

December 8th 2011.... April 16th 2007.
Tragedy, heart-breaking, terrifying and a step backwards in my fight against my potential PTSD.

It started as a normal day, got to work late cause ive been sickly did some stuff in the lab, worked on my lab notebook, then decided to goof off for a bit because our holiday party was due to start soon. Had a lovely time chatting and playing with the co-workers children. Really cute kids with really great personalities.

And then I get a text message. "Reports of shots fired at VA Tech"

Start nervous breakdown/hysteria/terrible memories being dragged to the surface.

I left work early cause I just couldnt handle being there. Not that im doing that much better being here at my apartment since im all by myself. Just sitting here, freaking out, wondering when the next blow may strike. Remembering Stack and Mike killed in the 2007 shooting. studying for classes, joking back and forth at circle k or over aim. Thinking of little Dustin (sorry kiddo the nickname has stuck even after all these years since high school) who Im starting to wonder if he will ever graduate. Thinking of Katrina, my college roommate through all four years, a wonderful kind woman with one of the cutest little one year olds youve ever seen. Both of whom may or maynot still be staying secure in place in buildings on campus while the lockdowns continue.

Blacksburg was my home, is still my home in many senses of the word. A place I always felt safe- whether it was walking across campus in the middle of the day, or stumbling back from the bars at 3am. I remember a campus where I used to walk around in the dead of night when I needed to think- without any worries about who might be out there.... I cant even do that in the day time around DC anymore.... it makes me wonder if I could still do it in Blacksburg.
It makes me wonder- with the idea of a shooting happening today, and a police officer being shot (after how secure the police made me feel after my robbery)... am I going to be even more nervous when I have to head to DC this evening for class? Is every little step or feeling or someone behind me going to make me jumpy? and god forbid someone accidently scares me, or touches me without warning- will I have a panic attack? I am even further removed in both distance and time from the shootings today than I was over 4.5 years ago, and this incident (so far) is no where near as heart-breaking... but my psyche wasnt as damaged back then either.