Unappreciated . . . Unwanted . . . Unloved . . .
The child in me cries every time those emotions erupt. They come too often for me to ignore, and I finally meditated and traced my “anger” to its source and saw a truth: I felt unappreciated, unwanted and unloved when the latest PTSD explosion occurred. And maybe now, after looking within and seeing how those feelings may have surfaced, I can cope with them better .
From what I learned, my mother nearly died during my child-birth. The baby Michael was shipped off to a “farm” in Mays Landing, New Jersey, where the grandmother raised the infant.
The boy’s father had been quoted as saying he would have preferred to see the son dead, and not see the pain such a birth caused his wife.
Could any of this have been absorbed by an infant, and more importantly, could those long suppressed feelings affect the man in middle age? Could they have contributed to events experienced in Vietnam and now mingle with fears, anxieties and a sense of loss I feel?
That’s my struggle with PTSD. I learn more about myself every day. Like today, I stopped at an “outlet” bread store for rolls. Picked up a dozen in a bag and walked to the counter. An older man was standing there, waiting for an order he made the day before. The young man, behind the counter, appeared rushed. It was the day before Thanksgiving, and the store was crowded, even before noon.
I placed my bag on the empty counter, hoping that I could quickly pay and get out to complete some other chore. But the young man did not look at me. He simply said to “wait a second” when I moved my bag closer to his line of vision. No luck in getting quick service here.
The clerk left the counter. Returned and said something beneath his breath, only to leave the sales area a second time for the bakery in back. Other customers had walked up behind me with multiple bags of breads, rolls, pies and what not.
When the clerk returned, he lay two big boxes on the counter. I had to remove my bag and place it behind the cash register. The older man paid for his goods and had trouble getting them out of the door some eight feet away.
“Here, let me help you,” I said, opening and holding the door for him to get by. I felt good to have provided him service. But when I returned to the register, the couple that were behind me were now being waited upon. Their order seemed to go on and on.
My patience, however, did not!
“A good deed never goes unpunished,” I said, loud enough for the cashier to hear me. Either he did not, or worse, he ignored me. The woman in line, however, did hear and offered an apology. “I’m not mad at you,” I said to her and the man accompanying her.
“I mad at this asshole,” I barked, my anger rising as I still was unable to get the sombitch attention. He continued to look toward the register, ignoring my challenge to his lack of courtesy.
As the man and woman looked at me, I knew I had done wrong. “I’m sorry,” I said, and added . “I have PTSD,” as if that could explain my rude behavior. I threw the bag of rolls to the floor and walked out of the store, blowing all other chores I had intended to complete.
“God, why am I hyper-alert, hyper sensitive?” I asked. Please make me calm, mellow. Just don’t make death the only way for me to find that peace.