Sun, 31 Aug 2003

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pathetique

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OK, this is somewhat sad and pathetic, but I figure I need to get it out of my system. As I mentioned, I got mugged at gunpoint yesterday morning. Now being the fatalist that I am, with a latent death wish to boot, it didn't really phase me all that much at the time. I didn't piss or shit myself when the dude pointed his gun at me. In fact, I was a little pissed, and might have done something really stupid if Y wasn't with me, since I didn't want him getting shot on account of my own stupidity.

Of course, since I have done a psychiatry rotation, I am concerned about developing PTSD. Apparently, it is more likely to occur in people who repress their emotional reactions to traumatic events. Instead of processing things, they just hold back, until it bites them in the ass sometime in the future, and then they can't help but feel that Charlie is waiting with a grenade just outside their garage door out in the suburbs, despite checking every half hour to make sure things are all clear.

Now, I recognize that getting mugged is not like fighting in Vietnam, but still, PTSD has been recognized to occur in victims of violent crime and in car crash victims, just to name a few non-combatant sufferers.

So I made it a point to talk about it all day, telling anyone who would listen what had happened. So that helped a lot. I find it funny that everyone commented on how well I was taking it. My take on it is that, well, there was very little I could do. Me and Y were being loud and stupid, walking around at 5am, down a dark street, without being aware at all about our environment. We were, in technical terms, sitting ducks.

But I still got shaky eventually. It didn't really hit me until sixteen hours after it had happened. I was literally trembling, and I could feel the adrenaline in my veins. I think the trigger was nightfall. I didn't want to go out. I totally developed the whole hypervigilance thing. Every little sound, every little movement in my peripheral vision would freak me out.

Talking to BS, though, he had really good advice. Having been mugged at knifepoint himself when he was a kid, he had practical tips. Mainly, don't let it stop you from doing what you would normally do. So I forced myself to walk down the street that I got mugged on and go to the Walgreens. It wasn't bad. I was a little hypervigilant, but I felt at ease that there were so many people walking around.

As an excursus: while BD suggested that maybe this was a sign to get out of Chicago, I countered that, well, you know, in the neighborhood we grew up in in L.A., it would probably be a very poor idea to go wandering around at 5am. While you could get away with it in the parts of Chicago that I usually wander (and, for up until this point, my friends and I had), in L.A. (particularly the parts of it which I tend to wander), well, it's definitely an invitation for trouble. Who knows, scientifically, what the actual crime rates are, and maybe it's just naievete, but I actually do feel safer here, even considering yesterday's incident.

But what struck me was how horribly alone I feel right now. I mean, I've obviously been feeling that way for quite a while now, what with me looking for love in all the wrong places, but nothing brings out the stark truth of the matter like a traumatic event.

It doesn't help that pretty much all of my friends are out of town right now.

Yeah, this actually get me right in the left-side of the chest.

Especially when I was all shaky, you know, I started wondering what it would be like to have someone special who cared about you. You know, like when I was feeling all shaky and not a little scared, someone who would hold me close and make me feel safe, at least for that short while. Someone who would comfort me.

Instead, I have no one.

I mean, I have some really good friends, and they did talk me through a lot yesterday, but, well, for one thing, they are almost all literally thousands of miles away, or they were at work, or they were thousands of miles away and at work.

I have never felt so utterly, hopelessly alone.

The thing with despair is that it implies a little hope. You wouldn't despair if you thought that things were completely impossible. It's really that tiny glimmer of possibility that kills you. You are reduced to asking the universe "what if?"

But this feeling I have right now, on the other hand, is beyond despair. It is desolation. The understanding that whatever it is you want is never again going to happen to you, and that while it sucks, there's absolutely nothing to be done.

Wow. This is making me really sad.

I am told that it is possible to be perfectly happy on your own. Despite what popular culture says. I suppose there are much more sublime things to aspire to than romantic love. Yeah. That actually does get me by. Even if I completely X out this concept from my life, there are still actually a lot of things that I want to experience.

Here's to hope. And as they say, loneliness is really not the same thing as being alone. And learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all. Yeah.

10:42:02 31 Aug 2003 > /soul > permalink > 3 comments

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