I want to explain that just because I write this does not mean I am a well-adjusted person who has managed just fine. That would not be true!

Friday I went into our small town hardware to buy a sack of bird seed and thought to buy another small item-picking it up from a section where the price was under ten bucks. The purchase should have been under twenty dollars but the little lady clerk says forty-five? My head said “no way” but my stress made me very nervous and I paid the forty-five.

I went out to the car and sat there looking at the receipt and the store is right there in front of me and the entrance is in view and it was very obvious the item I purchased had to be in the wrong spot because it turned out to be quite more expensive…my mistake! Any one would understand-I know that. And I sat there in front of the store afraid to go back and correct my mistake. I cannot get it! I do not have that ability-and I know why…I have known why! This is not some tiny unusual moment, it has happened many times over the years! The real stupid part is that deep in my mind I know an exchange or a refund would have been as simple as pie-but I freak out at the thought of confrontation! In the back seat of my car is another item-I purchased it weeks ago, it was the wrong item still packaged…it sits next to another brand new item.

I am trying to explain this to give an example of myself and the way stress and fear afflict me. It is hard for me to comprehend that I am a grown man and still afraid of an encounter with the young cashier!

I even looked at the receipt again when I was parked a mile away in the Winn-Dixie parking lot-this to assure in my mind that I was correct and did pay for the wrong item. My solution to the problem was to discard the receipt and get further away from the situation, grin and bear it-so to speak.

It gets worse-now I am feeling a sensation inside of my body which is nothing that I can describe easily except to say that my nerves are on such an edge that I am not walking steady and am fearful of entering the Winn-Dixie, all of this pricked by the trigger of buying a wrong item!

I try to explain these things to others, to friends as to why I can’t join them in certain activities, or my psychiatrist-and get some understanding “uh ha” but I know they don’t understand! The psychiatrist has some too easy to be true remedy for it to adhere as an answer, and many just laugh because they think I’m just kidding around or being silly. I try to explain why it is not as easy as it comes to others-but it is not an easy thing to explain.

What is more interesting about this is if it was you I could defend you without hesitation! I am always amazed at that pitch in the fact that I quiver in my knees at trying to return a simple nothing, but if you were to say you bought an amazing big thing and decided it was wrong for you and needed it returned…give it to me!??

I hate public buildings! Specifically any large building where there is a crowd of people-even a church, they all freak me out. It is actually one of the main reasons I refuse to enter a VA hospital-clinic. The noise freaks me out!

It has been several years ago a circumstance which fits this description occurred. The road I have lived on the end of  (now 37 years) a long time had finally come up for discussion on paving it-this was then considered the worse road in the county-a dirt road that was heavily traveled. A lot of families lived on the end of this road and we all had dreams of having it paved! As anything of this magnitude there was going to be hurdles-a battle, I guess you would say!

I began the fight! And the reason was how this road paving proposal was completely unfair to many families and was only left for a few of us to determine if the road would ever be paved!

I defended them!

It was unbelievable-the meeting at the county was over run with people. The crowd was so large that the county had to get permission from a judge to use a courtroom. The place was huge-and it too had standing room only. My nerves are racing three hundred miles a minute-I took a place in the rear of the room. I really do not know what I said! I know I went up and spoke to the county commission and remember seeing them, but it was all a blank to me. I turned and walked to the rear of the building to the exit and the Sheriff of the county took my hand was happily shaking it…”what just happened?” I ask him. He replies “you won, you won-they are going to pave that rotten road!”

It is now paved-all two miles of it! I get credit for it all the time-so many people are happy! But it always blows my mind as why is the mind I have so broken that I can’t do a simple transaction for myself with out getting flustered up, and yet-I can stand up and do the exact same thing for somebody else?

I am glad that I can, please don’t misunderstand…but I wish at times that I could…do you know what I mean?


4 Responses to “”

  1. Mike E Says:

    hmm..but you did yourself want the road paved, yeah? so in a way you were standing up for yourself. but maybe you needed to stand up for others, at the same time, in order to justify going to bat for yourself.

    try this out: whenever you stand up for yourself, you are in fact standing up for the rest of us, by proving — as you just did, with your story about speaking at the county meeting & getting the job done (you’re full of surprises by the way) — that it is possible for the rest of us to stand up for our own selves.

    every time you stand up for what is right — and you are right, jay — your doing so serves the greater good. so, go on & return those items and for it i thank you!

  2. jayherron Says:

    yes…I wanted the road paved too-everyone living out here did, except a very small group…but-it still weirds me out as why this is?? I buy an item by mistake and freak out about returning it – I have no nerve for speaking in public, but what ever I said got the road paved and (so I am told) a law passed that county road paving goes as on the list and not by which big-shot has the pull.
    A funny story about the road-this is very rural here-and a lot of older residents in the tri-town circle know each other by face, if not by name.
    I was at a small town near here and saw a deputy friend of mine, he was talking to the county sheriff (we were all at a gas station)-and I had to be polite and say hello to my friend-trying to say hi and bye real quick like-and the sheriff takes my hand and is shaking it and saying how good it is to see me.
    My friend asks the sheriff-did he know me?
    Sheriff responds – and his response threw me off guard- this man is a hero!
    I’m thinking…what?
    My deputy friend too, but asks…and the sheriff says “he’s the man who got the county line grade paved!”

    You’d have to know this road-it was so bad that the local Dopler Radar would callibrate its accuracy on the local TV weather station by the road-most seasons it was pure dust!

    I feel the need to explain these things-the phobia of being intimidated by going in a store to return something and yet yelling at a bunch of county officials…and times I justify not going to the grocery store-or some other place of need, because of blank excuses I talk myself out of going…the phobia…and then how is it I climb on a ship for three months at sea?
    I can’t figure these things out!

    And-to me-it is important to give these comparisons to explain the
    diversity of what the illness of PTSD does to us.

    I really am glad to hear from you Mike E.

  3. enemyinthewire Says:

    Hey, Jay!

    I’ve missed you, brother!

    It is so funny that you posted this today – I am the exact same way when it comes to helping someone else vs. helping myself. I guess I feel that if I am fighting for the “greater good” I can be a real charging bull – but if I am at a point where I feel that I am in danger or that I am being threatened, I fold like a house of cards. If I have to fight for myself I am useless!

    Many blessings!


  4. jayherron Says:


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