I've been in California the past couple of weeks visiting family and friends starting with friends in Antioch, San Francisco then Sacramento and finally, down to Los Angeles, where I am now. I'll take a train back to Houston leaving on Fri nite. I'm actually in Santa Monica to be exact, where i was born, visiting with my best friend from 6th grade. Over all its been an excellent and very healing experience. I got through a couple of assignments my last Vet Center head doc gave me before she relocated.
One was to participate as a volunteer at the Sacramento Stand Down for homeless veterans. I did it last year and loved it. I work at the Community Service desk, and I trust the Marine who runs it. He knows what happened and assured me I'd be safe. I knew this, and certainly trusted him to look after me, but my breakdown happened after that, and I've had a lot of difficulty being around many veteran since then. This was 99% good. I did have a couple of triggers, and had to work to hold my boundaries a couple of times, but that was good too. Before, I would have caved to any 'Commands'. A defining moment came the first morning when one of the tent leaders told me I needed to get on the camp microphone and call for the 'community service' folks to show up for a work crew, but we didn't have the assignment for it yet, and I was in charge of the Community Service desk and was supposed to make the decision. I told him I wouldn't do it till I got the job assignment. He pushed me to do it again and I got sorta mad and told him no again, and that part of my therapy for my PTSD was to hold my boundaries, especially with other veterans. He said something about being disabled from being shot in the leg in Viet Nam. He asked if i was a combat veteran, I said no, I got my PTSD from MST. Well.. his eyes got huge and his entire demeanor changed in a flash. He said "Oh my gosh.. I'm sooo sorry. Right.. you DO have it worse then me for sure!". And after that, he became something of a protector. He'd come around and make sure I had cold water, and got food when the lines were going. I was first, surprised that he KNEW what that acronym meant... (I dread explaining it to folks) and deeply touched by his brotherly and protective attitude during the 3 days in camp. My friend Marion went with me, and it helped a lot to know she was near by too.
Over and out,