I feel that this is the saddest post of all. David wanted to go to the grocery store in Toronto. He wore his leather Vin Deisel coat that his good friend, Josef, had given him because David had returned from Israel without any winter clothes. In that coat, my David looked so sexy. Rrowr. He walked fast and smoked his cigarettes fast, and I skipped along beside him to keep up. We walked very far. I was wondering where he was taking me, when we finally arrived at the No Frills grocery store. He got a cart and we started walking down every aisle. David was talking, talking, talking about really serious stuff: feelings of abandonment, sexual abuse, rape, childhood trauma, PTSD. As he was talking, I noticed he was whipping himself into a frenzy. I could see what he was doing but I didn’t know how to circumvent the storm. He seemed to be having a discussion with me. He stopped talking when I was talking, and he replied appropriately. However, I began to realize that he was having some sort of open-eyed nightmare. He started upsetting himself about abusive scenarios that I knew did not happen to him. He was talking about ‘What Ifs’ as if he had actually experienced those traumatic events. I did not have a clue how to make him stop and I wanted to get out of the grocery store before he created a scene. I was having my own PTSD flashbacks of my ex-husband and I fighting loudly in a restaurant while all the ‘good people’ whispered about us. I wanted to get out of the store. Thankfully, David arrived at the same feeling at the same time.
We left the store and stood out front with our grocery cart full of bags. David immediately started smoking. “How are we going to get all these heavy bags home?”, I asked him. He said he would call a cab after he calmed down because he couldn’t possibly sit in a cab feeling the way he did. He said it would be too claustrophobic. I suggested that I could take the bags home in the cab and he could walk because I was still freaked out that he was going to blow up in public and I wanted to run away from him. The whole time, he was spinning outrageous and more outrageous yarns about his childhood and his family that I knew were untrue. I was sadly unprepared to deal with his PTSD, but I did not aggravate his condition. I did the best I could have, with no prior training. I was used to dealing with people in grief, so those skills helped me. I assumed that David’s nightmare would simply run its course and then he would recover. The cab came and we rode home together. I unpacked the groceries and he settled himself down a little. I don’t know how he did it. Later, I wanted to point out to him that, “You know those things didn’t happen to you, right? You know your family did not do that to you, right?” He wasn’t so sure. He thought that maybe he had had some sort of insight. I had to drop it because I coudn’t win. I couldn’t force him to be reasonable. At that moment, I regretted that I am not a toker. Maybe a little pot would have helped me to relax.
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