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Sunday, October 17, 2010

PTSD ...



That was me riding the donkey. I was twelve years old in that picture. I can't believe that was twenty one fucking years ago.


That is a perfect picture of nerdy, lonely Arizona Steve. I had thick bottle cap glasses, bony legs, dark skin, and I was deeply underweight. I had only a small handful of friends that I sporadically saw and all the kids in my predominantly white neighborhood weren't allowed to play with me. I would spend most of my days alone reading comic books, playing video games, and setting up double or triple features for myself. Airplane, then Star Wars, then Raiders of the Lost Ark. Movies were my real best friends.


Now I'm 33 years old and living in California with my wife and my two kids. I put on my tie and my suit, make the kids breakfast, drink coffee and drive in my minivan to my work. I feel so different from who I used to be.


I see pictures of me in the past, pictures like this one, and I have a hard time realizing that I am the same person as the me in the photos. It's as if I was a completely different personality as the one in the pictures. That was Esteban riding that donkey, not the Steve that lives in California.


I am vaguely ashamed of who I used to be, of Esteban.


My therapist says I have post traumatic stress disorder from the robbery I was in back in February. She says that I probably had a mild form of bipolar disorder that I inherited from my doctor-fearing, psychiatric-hating family. And this mellow, somewhat dormant disorder went into overdrive when I had the robbery.


I just had my yearly work performance evaluation, which was horrible. And it just pisses me off. I can't stop thinking about it and about how little the managers think of me.


For starters, the person who have it to me has been working here since March, AFTER the robbery. So my evaluation was essentially on how I've been post-robbery. Gee, how do you THINK I've been ever since I had a gun to my head and almost died? Not good.


Secondly, my performance evaluation didn't even MENTION the robbery AT ALL. Can you believe this? I put my life on the line for that company and almost died but due to my bravery and calm head in the face of a life or death situation I may have saved lives! But apparently the robbery "was taken into consideration" when I was given a rating that was 0.08% above "needs improvement."


I literally, LITERALLY, put my life on the line for the company ... and the company said that that wasn't good enough. I worked hard for a year and almost died in a robbery and was told that almost dying wasn't good enough for them.


I have post traumatic stress disorder from that robbery. And my job doesn't really seem to care. My company, a major company, a major American book retailer, which I have been working with for WELL OVER A DECADE, does not give a flying FUCK that I was in a robbery and, thanks to my bravery, saved lives. They do not care. WHAT THE FUUUUUUCK!?!?!?!


My therapist, Corinne, the nicest woman in the world, comforts me. She says that me being at work is like someone going to WAR, fighting in a war, getting injured in a war and coming home, only to be sent back to the war where I'm expected to act like nothing ever happened. I mean, of course I'm going to act differently. I had a gun pointed at my head. He snuck up on me. I didn't see him. It just happened so quickly and now I have to live with the fact that at any time it could easily happen again. So going to work is a constant uphill battle. But my work, the bookstore, the nookstore, just doesn't seem to care.


Fuck them.




I am cutting myself regularly with boxcutters I find in the store. I pocket them, take them home, and slash my arms and chest and wrists. I am doing this regularly now, most of the time.


I am ashamed of the slash marks on my wrist.


But right now it is mainly my job's fault that those marks are there.


And I wish my job cared about me. But they don't. Sacramento, California doesn't care if I live or die.

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