NomadicWandererSeptember 18, 2017 at 10:20 am #33904
You guys are the first people I’m sharing (some of) this with. I am not sure what to do. I will start by saying that I think I need to talk to a therapist. However, I live overseas, in a non-English speaking country. So, I don’t think that’s an option right now.
I’ve had some bad experiences with men while living here. When I’m alone with men I don’t know well, I tend to get panicky. What’s happened to me isn’t anything super serious like rape. But, one night about five years ago, I was out walking home late. A group of men wouldn’t let me walk past them, and they put their hands on me. After about thirty seconds (I don’t remember how long it was), they let me go. But I think that moment has affected me.
Then there was the incident that happened about 9 years ago. I had a guy come and drop off a propane tank (it’s how I got gas to run my stove). Before he left, right after I paid him, he leaned down and kissed me on the cheek. I never thought this had a lasting impact on me – until today.
Today I rode home with a new driver. After all the students had been dropped off, and it was only me and the driver, I got super anxious (like I usually do when I’m in a taxi or driving with a male I don’t know). I had to stop my lesson planning that I was doing up until that point, because I was so anxious. I just sat there, so on edge. Thoughts went through my mind. As I sat there, anxious to get home, a thought occurred to me. I thought back to the time the propane guy kissed me. I realized that that situation is possibly why I get so anxious when I’m alone in cars with men I don’t know well. I realized that the same vulnerability I felt when I was all alone in my apartment with a man I didn’t know, I feel when I’m in a car with a man I don’t know well. I just made this connection today.
After I got out of the car, I had an anxiety attack. I breathed really hard/fast, and couldn’t calm down. It takes me a few minutes to walk to my apartment. After I got home, it took me a good five or ten minutes to calm down.
This isn’t the only time something like this has happened. The past couple of years, sometimes I’ll be walking down the street and I’ll see an innocent guy walking down the street. And my brain will go into “panic” mode and think they’re going to do something to hurt me.
I know no one is a mental health professional on here, so I guess I’m just sharing my thoughts, cause I don’t know where else to share them right now. I wonder if I have a mild case of PTSD. I just made the connection with the propane tank guy today. I wonder if it was the Holy Spirit bringing that up, or if I just pulled that theory out of the sky. But it just popped into my mind today. It makes sense. Something clicked when I thought of the propane tank guy and how I feel when I’m in a car alone with a man. I wonder if PTSD can show up years later. Then again, I wonder if I’m just trying to label myself so I can make sense of how I freak out when I have to walk outside after dark (even if it’s just 6 PM in the winter), am in a car with a driver, or see a random guy(s) walking down the street in broad daylight.
I also know that this won’t just magically go away if I move back to America (even though my bad experiences all happened overseas). This past summer I was at a park in America. I had wanted to go for a relaxing walk. However, that walk became not so relaxing after I had went down a short path, and had to make my way back. There wasn’t anyone else around, and I had to take a short (maybe like a three minute walk) back to my car. There was a middle aged guy that had gotten out of his car, and probably had just come to enjoy himself at the park. He walked around a little, and finally went to sit on a bench. Oh. My. Gosh. I sat there and watched him like a hawk for like five or ten minutes. All sorts of things went through my mind of what he might do to me. Finally, after what seemed like forever, I made a mad dash for it, and RAN all the way back to my car. I was flushed with panic.
I know this isn’t normal. My brain just constantly goes to all the horrible things that could happen to me when I’m all alone. I know that some of this is common sense. As a woman I need to be vigilant. But, the way I can’t even go for a casual walk (sometimes) or ride with a driver is not normal. And it’s seriously impacting me.NomadicWandererSeptember 20, 2017 at 10:26 am #33942
So. Much. Anxiety. You would think it’d go away once other people get in the car. But, it doesn’t. I get to school, and end up going to the bathroom and crying (and more, but I’ll spare you the details). The past two days I have barely been able to focus on helping my student and do what I need to do for him. On edge, anxiety/panic coursing through me all day. I get home, and anxiety remains. I stay up late until I am really tired. I know if I try to go to bed sooner, anxiety will keep me up anyways. I know it’s only been a couple of days, but the way things are going, I don’t know WHEN this is going to let up. I can’t live like this…ashandisSeptember 20, 2017 at 11:38 am #33946
This does sound like PTSD. PTSD has many many different forms and how it shows itself. In this case I believe it very likely is a piece of PTSD. I am in training to be a licensed professional in mental health. I know I am in the middle of my degree but PTSD is one thing I have studied because I have it. I wanted to know more and learn more about it in order to understand what it was that is effecting me. You may just be as you said a mild case but learning to overcome that will be the same as it is for me who has a very strong PTSD but really there isnt a lot that is different between us. I am the same way I panic around people in general because both men and women have hurt me. But I will say that I panic when it is just me and one other person or I am with a few people. So you are not alone in this. Please know that. Also having what it is may give you access to help.
You mentioned being in a country where they dont speak English have you considered an online counselor? There are many that do speak English and you can be sure to tell them I prefer English. It also helps to have that access as away to get help.
I hope some of this helps.
AshNomadicWandererSeptember 22, 2017 at 1:53 pm #33975
Thanks for replying. It took two or three days, but I am doing better. Not 100% but way better. I’d say my anxiety level is what it’s usually at when I’m alone with a man in a car. And it’s only when I’m in the car, not all the time. So, I’m so grateful things have eased up.
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