As I sat in traffic this afternoon, my mind was elsewhere. I was looking at the grassy side of the onramp on the other side of the freeway. But, my mind was searching for a question. What exactly did she ask me that brought a tear to my eye?
This afternoon was meeting #2 for PTSD counseling. We haven’t really started yet. She wanted to ask me some more questions. She wanted to make sure that my diagnosis of PTSD was accurate. Since the incidents that impacted my life took place so long ago, my natural anxiety has mixed in with any anxiety brought on by the incidents.
As much as I think what happened back then impacted my life, if she came to the conclusion that it wasn’t PTSD and I would be better off getting better treatment for my social anxiety, I’d be okay with that. If this won’t help me, why should I waste my time?
She asked similar questions as she had the week prior. But, this time she narrowed her focus to one incident in particular. She used the incident with the highway patrolmen as a starting point and asked several questions about how I’ve been dealing with my life since that incident. I could answer most questions. But, not all of them. The distance in time since the incident blurs with the anxiety I was born with. By rephrasing and drilling down, we were able to answer each question.
She told me that if we proceed, I’m many steps in front of where others usually start. I’ve recognized my own anxiety and have been fighting against it for some time. She told me I have a very good understanding of where I’m currently at. And I want to move forward with my life.
Earlier in the session, and in our previous meeting, I had mentioned that I couldn’t understand how other trans people leave the house and don’t get assaulted. I explained that, since spending more time with trans friends, the gulf between my intellectual understanding and the long standing fear that someone will kill me if I leave the house in girl mode was widening. I’m having a hard time reconciling these two realities.
I explained that if I look back in retrospect to the time before those two incidents, I was very naive. I felt that I had a better understanding of the real world than my trans friends do. I know how nasty it can be. I felt that my trans friends were being reckless in their behavior. The next thought that very nearly fell out of my mouth stunned me. I was able to stop it in time. Just barely, though. I felt like I was choking on a very bitter meal. Did I really believe what I was really going to say? I looked out the window. Then closed my eyes and shook my head. I swallowed hard. I took a deep breathe, opened my tearful eyes and looked at my counselor in the eye.
“I almost said that I was glad that it had happened.”
Session #3 is next week.