I need more therapy. A car just backfired and I hit the deck ready for a shootout, embarrassed halfway down at the misinterpretation. 

Misinterpretations. That’s the key. Mine, theirs, everyone’s. 

I have processed a lot of grief, but this … it’s something new. Trauma messes with you. I had no idea. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder is real. I rarely sleep through the night. I woke up five times last night. My nervous system is on high alert 24 hours a day. It’s exhausting, not sustainable. 

I read possible danger into the innocuous, the inconsequential. Did that guy in the red hoodie in San Francisco walking towards me have a gun in his pocket? It sure looked like it. Why did he turn around and say “shit” when I doubled back and he saw me in an unexpected place? Mind games. 

A guy at my gym said loudly to a workout buddy after both looked in my direction pointedly with puzzled expressions, 

New backpack. I wonder how long until this one is stolen.” 

WTH? Are more people reading my blog about my stolen backpack than the 20 or so I imagine? 

Paranoia. I’ve long had the leaning. I’ve calmed it before. I can again. I will.

To take my mind off of me, I’ve been watching a show on Amazon Prime called Mr. Robot. The acting is great, but this is about the worst show anybody with PTSD could ever watch. Jesus, I mean it. It’s twisted, a high dose of fear porn. It replaced Alex Jones for me. Now I’m addicted to the adrenaline rush, not of political fear of nuclear war with North Korea, not of conspiracies, not of horror movie monsters, and not of researching UFOs and potentially annoying the government, but to just the rush of situational fear of the characters in the plot of Mr. Robot. There’s an element of Clockwork Orange to it, a kind of chaotic psychotic and neurotic instability, unsettling twists.

Just stop, right? The thing is, it’s working. It’s filling a needed role. Turn off the show, and the fear stops. It’s an exercise. 

At least until my next misinterpretation.  

I know what to do for PTSD: Meditation, yoga, relaxation, nutrition, therapy, service to others, and so on, but if your mind actually believes you are being messed with by an unknown entity, none of these is a logical action. They are each “peril sensitive sunglasses” that turn pitch black at any danger in Douglas Adam’s Hitch hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy books. 

Last night without knowing it, I discovered I had been holding my hands in a prayer position for 10 minutes. I was so wrapped up in anxious thoughts I had no idea what my body was doing. Tunnel vision. 

A security guard friend said I’m living a movie life.

The lasting fix, game change: Research only things that do not make me annoying to anyone. Take to heart no accolades or complements. Follow the rules. Drive the speed limit. Listen more than talk. Master the ego. Be cool. Be ready.

Habits gel with time. I need time, time to tend to my business, to work on my music, time in nature, time with friends, time with nothing to misinterpret as a threat. Can I ever learn to relax?

I found a new therapist for PTSD. Free the mind. Settle the nerves. Help people. Perhaps some day, find love again. 

When the time is right, I will stop writing incomplete sentences.

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