Sparkly Shiny Noisy Things


So Joan and I decided to go to the casino close to her home Saturday. She made arrangements to meet at a gas station near the casino, and God bless her! I had to drive 45 minutes to meet her, but it is getting easier. I didn’t start hyperventilating at all this time, and my vision didn’t get distorted on the drive. Only 3 times on the way did I feel like I needed to pull over to vomit. But I pushed through, knowing she was at the gas station waiting for me.

I made it fine, and there was Joan, standing beside her car with the door open, facing the street. We left my car at the gas station, and took hers to the casino. Oh my God! That place is HUGE! I have a freaky fear of big buildings, which kept me from going to college for years, and I still don’t know why I am afraid of them, but I am. In the parking lot, my fingers started tingling just because of the enormous size of this place, but it passed.

We went to the buffet, and had to wait in line for a while. Joan must have sensed my anxiety, because we stuck together like glue through each trip to the buffet. She was actually going to sit with her back to the entrance, but I wouldn’t let her do that. I knew it was just as hard for her as it was for me to do this. I had wanted to go to the casino for a couple of years, but was too afraid, so I was so happy when she suggested it.

We did have a wonderful time, no rushing, just talking over dinner for like 1 1/2 hours. Then we hit a slot machine, lost a couple of dollars in a couple of minutes, and it was time to move on. She talked me into playing blackjack. I have never played blackjack at a casino before, so it was a new and scary experience. But we got through it. A guy sat down next to Joan, and I think she about came unglued, but she made it through. I just kept looking up at all of the cameras, and knew that no matter what, we were going to be safe if he tried anything, although he might not have been. I would have climbed over her to kill him if I had to (seriously). But he was actually helpful to Joan, taught her how to double down, and she won. And she won and she won and she won. I lost, but it was all good.

Even though we were having fun, I think we were both having issues with the loud slot machines, bright lights, and the tons and tons of people there. She told me that her therapist said that people actually go to the casino, and don’t feel any fear or anxiety, and I just looked at her like she was crazy. Really? There are people who aren’t afraid to go there? I have heard about people who do that, but to me, it is like make-believe to me, like Santa or the Easter Bunny. I don’t think Joan or I will ever fit in that category, no matter how much therapy or meds they have. But we will always find a way to function.

After we gambled, and I lost, we went to the lounge to see all the old folks out there dancing away. Joan and I have the same mind sometimes, and everything she thought, I was saying, and everything I thought, she said. I was thinking, oh please say we will not be like that in 20 years, and a second later she said just that. I thought the casino had all the shiny, sparkly things, but there was almost just as much in the lounge. Gold lame, skin-tight pants, heals, hair 5 inches in the air. What a sight to see.

We left after the lounge, and wound up talking for at least 30 minutes more at the gas station, under the big, bright street light. Joan kept talking about us being survivors and that yes, we function, but we don’t really live. After the third time she said survivors, I finally got it. Yes, we are survivors, not victims. I will never be a victim again, and neither will she. And yes, we do function but still have our serious issues that will trigger those panic attacks and flash backs. Unfortunately, we are stuck with them, but we survive and drive on.

This week we think we will finally be filling my claim with the VA. When that is over, either way, we are going to find a way to help other survivors, and also try to help victims learn to become survivors as well. From everything we have been through, finding a way to help others is one of the things that might help to make sense of why all of this had to happen to us. But in the meantime, Joan and I are going to have anxiety girls night out every 4 to 6 weeks, and I am looking forward to it.

Thank you Joan for everything you do for me!

Brigid

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One Response to “Sparkly Shiny Noisy Things”

  1. enemyinthewire Says:

    Brigid,

    You do as much for me as I do for you….maybe more. You inspire me everday to live on in courage.

    Love ya!

    Joan

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