I’ve made it no secret that I have C-PTSD from sexual assault trauma and emotional abuse. I’ve also made it no secret that it’s difficult for me to deal with people -namely men- even sitting next to me on the train or bus. Touching of any kind. My heart rate skyrockets, I go into a panic mode/attack, and -depending on the type of touch- I either zone out or I freak out.
The freak out route isn’t as obvious. It involves me trying to pull myself away from the touching. Early today, I almost lost it completely.
I’m in Portland, OR and I ride public transit. I do not own a car, even though I can drive. Portland has always had more than its share of -interesting- people. Good and bad. Today I dealt with one of the bad. I’ll try to not swear TOO much, but I am in Dragon mode, so … yeah. (oh, who am I kidding… swearing galore!!)
This drunk-as-fuck dude got on the MAX Yellow Line at the front of the front car, where I was. At first, he was being just loud and talking to this young black dude sitting nearby. I was in the Priority Seating in the center-facing seats with one dude in the backward facing seat near me and then the black dude, who was really pretty laid back, across from me in the other rear-facing seats. This drunk motherfucker turns his attention to me, trying to engage me in conversation… which, honestly, didn’t make one damn bit of sense. Then he turned to the guy near me. At which point, he sat down between me and the guy… on my purse and partly on me.
You can see where the problem is here, right? He’s not only touching me, but he’s partly sitting ON me.
I pulled my purse out from under him, and started mumbled swear words worthy of Merchant Marines. He turned back to me and started bumping my shoulder with his. If I had remembered I had my mothers scissors in my purse, they would have been in my hand by then and threatening the motherfucker to get away from me. But I didn’t.
He got up, started chatting up the black dude again, and then others, eventually stumbling further down the MAX car to the other Priority Seating area. By this point, someone had pushed the button to alert the operator, who alerted the supervisors/police.
We were stopped at one station waiting for them to show up. He was utterly fucking clueless that we were waiting for them to come remove his annoying ass from the train.
By the time they showed, he was back up closer to me, harassing and then sitting at the last seats before where I was sitting (doors between those seats and mine). Now, I’m likely leaving SOME details out, like how many times he tried to get my attention (at least three), and some of the shit I could understand him saying. The supervisor arrived and I looked at him and pointed the asshole out. He helped him up and off the train. The ease of that exit tells me he’s a repeat offender on Trimet.
Then someone else was being a dick and the supervisor had to go retrieve that person. Yeah, what a night, huh? And it was barely dark.
I had many moments during that whole exchange where I wanted to shove him, kick him, hit him, knock him to the floor… something. Maybe the fact that I didn’t is a sign that I haven’t been pushed too far down into the hell of PTSD yet.
The guy sitting nearby who was also harassed by the drunk helped me calm down (the black dude got off the train before this). I told him I was about ready to shank the SOB with my scissors, but he said that if the guy came back over, he’d step in and help keep him away from me. I closed my eyes at one point and tried to take measured breaths to calm my heart down. He assured me it would be okay. Don’t know his name but wherever he is, he has my gratitude.
My heart rate was probably around 120 or so, as I could feel it pounding.
As the doors closed and the supervisor was back on the platform, the drunk asshole was in the street yelling at people in cars and pounding the hoods of their cars.
It’s been a few hours now, but I’m still a bit wound up. This was the closest I think I’ve come to a total breakdown in a long time… and the time I do recall snapping at someone, I didn’t realize I had PTSD.
I honestly have no idea how people with PTSD are able to deal with being on public transit. Seriously. It isn’t like I can put a vest on that says “Don’t fucking touch me or you’ll end up in the ER” and I can’t get a PTSD dog just yet. No moula for one and Portia-kitty doesn’t like dogs. Besides, I don’t want to get a Dobie that’s already docked and cropped (ears and tail). I kinda want to wait until I (hopefully) get to Germany where that practice is illegal and get a dog there… train her there. I want a floppy-eared Dobie girl.
I kinda want to get a stun gun for the time being. I think Trimet would frown on me carrying around scissors.
I feel like I’m getting worse. The breathing helped. Getting back to the house and snuggling Portia helped, as did the hot shower. But I’m getting more and more wary of people on transit.