The Fall is traditionally, a difficult time for me. Every year my body remembers something that I don't even remember. This year it was triggered by an issue that came up with my Jeep. The smell of the fuel of the tow truck, the sound of it pulling up, the anxiety of hearing the chains pulling it up onto the bed, the tension in my body, and the anxiety of standing there in the cold, wet weather all came together in a very confusing and hazy situation that my body clearly remembers even though I can't pull up an image of any of it.
When I got in the tow truck the driver looked at me and asked if I was okay. He saw that I was upset, but trying very hard not to show it. He began to talk to me about being a musician. It lightened the mood, I suppose, but didn't stop my insides from trembling. I wasn't in danger, but somehow I was feeling very much like I had been and still was in danger. My rational mind knows that I was safe and that all was being taken care of, but the wrath of my post traumatic stress was telling me something altogether different.
The driver asked again if I was okay and I said kind of quietly, that I was, but that I have a history of car accidents and post-traumatic stress. "I'm just very nervous."
He replied that I am okay and that he will get me home safely. He said again, "You're safe. It's going to be okay." He then proceeded to share with me about the horrific accident he had been in and how he reminds himself to be grateful everyday because his life was spared. He said times have been hard, but that he works to appreciate every experience as a gift. He's lucky to be alive, but believes he is here for a reason. He asked me about the kind of work I do and he is very much someone who supports the troops and felt for the kind of work I do. He reminded me how lucky the troops are to have me to care about them and their journey. He suggested that I have learned as much from them, as they have from me. I nodded at him and felt the shuttering inside begin to settled down. He understood what this is like and continued to share with me what he sees in me as someone who has taken a traumatic experience and turned it around for the good of all who suffer from such experiences.
We aren't in this alone. We always have others like us out there who know how it feels. I appreciated the two hour drive home in the tow truck and was very much feeling like I met this man for a reason. He had some words of wisdom that brought perspective, kindness, and compassion to an otherwise unruly trigger. Thank you to the tow truck driver and I hope that someone is as kind to him in return as he was to me.