Mornings Smokes & Mayhem

mornings, smokes and mayhem

This morning at 4:30 AM I was out on the building’s amenity deck having a smoke. The deck itself is locked down during those hours but there is a little tiny smoking patio there outside the building doors. And I had my smoke. And I headed back inside. 

And there was screaming. 

Full throated screaming. Like someone was getting stabbed to death screaming. And slamming sounds. Like a body being hurled into walls slamming sounds.

I freaked the fuck out. I couldn’t tell where it was coming from. Maybe the stairwell at the end of the short hall. Or an apartment on that hall. Or an apartment on a floor above. It was so loud. It could have been a floor above, traveling through the floor. 

I was terrified. Afraid to move forward, afraid to try to get to the elevator, afraid to try to get to my floor and my apartment, I did not want to walk into THAT.

I could not go backwards though, and could not stand still, so I pushed through and

got to my place and slammed the locks home and called 911 and texted a policeman who lives  in the building. And shook. A lot. For a long time.

It was a man screaming. I thought it was a woman when I heard it. I have never heard a man make that sound before. He’s a veteran. He was having a PTSD episode. They talked him down. He went to the gym to exercise. I guess that is how he burns that off. 

People talk about PTSD a lot. Toss the term around a lot, casually. Accrue it to ourselves when we’ve been in some stress situation and so get stressed in similar situations.

We should maybe be a little less casual with the term. I get stressed out. I have been in some violent situations and shades of the similar can make me angst. But not like that. Not like what I heard this morning. Never like that.

THAT is fucking PTSD.

I’ll never use that term casually again.

2 Responses to mornings, smokes and mayhem

  1. Louie Bernstein

    What a horrifying experience to go through; terrifying.
    I’m glad that YOU are OK, and that the fellow with the PTSD episode received the necessary care to help him stabilize.
    I’m very impressed that you were able to make the 911 call, and text the neighbor/policeman for assistance, despite how terrifying it was. (Others might simply hide in their beds and pull up the covers…)
    PTSD is real, and it shows up differently for different people – depending on their own emotional make-up, and the trauma inducing incident. Unfortunately, some vets have seen/experienced situations that we are not wired to comprehend or integrate. So those traumatizing moments get “stuck” in our psyche, and they can come back to haunt us if we encounter similar environmental triggers. (For example, loud bangs or noises, may trigger a vet who has been in a battlefield)
    I hope that vet gets good therapy, since PTSD doesn’t just “go away.” There is a therapy approach called E.M.D.R. that has proven most effective in resolving the PTSD, but you need a good mental health care provider to offer that.
    PTSD may arise when a person’s physical or emotional well-being is threatened; whether for real, or perceived.
    Max, since you were in such a frightening situation, where you were truly worried about your physical well-being, I would suggest some self-care; to better understand, integrate and move thru that scary moment. Talking about the event with friends who you trust can be helpful, because each time YOU hear the story, you can peel off some of the layers that may still linger.
    Also, being mindful if you choose to go out to that deck for a early morning smoke; finding ways to keep yourself feeling safe (cell phone, etc.)
    Also, since you’ve previously shared some of the mail security issues that you and your neighbors have suffered, this frightening incident may add to the pile of feeling unsettled / unsafe in your building.
    Perhaps take pro-active steps to stay connected with your neighbors, a phone-tree, etc., so you can re-establish a sense of a safe community in your own building; with neighbors looking out and taking care of each other.
    Max, So sorry to hear your experience, but thank you for sharing this with the 5150 community. We’re all part of this.

  2. seemaxrun

    Thanks, Louie. I think war movies get it wrong. I think if they got it right we wouldn’t watch them. That screaming. That guy lives that screaming. I hope it gets better for him.

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