A Moment of Peace

I’ve noticed that with this job there are horribly stressful time periods. And then, with no warning, it turns a corner for an unknown period of time, anywhere from an hour to a spate of a few days, where the work feels somewhat manageable. It is during these moments that I start to question my desire to leave this job, and I tell myself, “I can do this. It’s not so bad.” Inevitably, bad times come, the kind that keep me up at night or wake me up from a fitful sleep. Or, have me working until 3:24 a.m. with a full day of work ahead starting at 8 a.m. And no one cares you’ve only had 3 hours of sleep, except for your wife.

I like peace and routine, the peace of not changing jobs, and the routine of knowing how to do a job. As a trauma survivor I crave these elements, and when I have these elusive moments in my current job they lull me into a feeling of “it’s really not that bad.” Earlier this summer I spoke with a friend of mine who described a similar experience she has with her job, that it’s like we get to these periods of relative peace that make the job tolerable. For me, it’s hard to discern when something is truly bad, or if I am having trauma responses not based on what’s going on in the present day. It is so hard to know what reality is. I know my feelings are real. But, what is the reality of the situation around me? I know it’s a matter of time before some new work drama has me contemplating quitting altogether. For all I know it could bite me in the face first thing tomorrow morning, such is life in this vocation.

For now though, I had a weekend where I did not work and did not feel bad or guilty for not opening my work laptop. I sat around the apartment with my wife, and was present and happy. We ate at the same Chinese restaurant twice because we liked it so much, and  I would love to have every weekend not be a recovery from a wretched week.

It was lovely to have a trigger free weekend. I would love to have more of these. I know it’s not a trigger free world, but it was a nice change not to have any. I know the challenge for me is handling those inevitable triggers that come my way.

The boring diner

There’s this diner near my apartment that I love. It’s actually a very pedestrian diner. The food is okay, not great or bad, just fine. The service is probably the best part of the place. The staff are always friendly. There’s one sweet girl that remembers I like tea, and today she asked me, “What kind of tea will it be today?” I chose iced tea since it was hot outside. Even as I chose it I knew that the hot tea was a better choice, but I wanted iced tea. So, I prepared myself for what was coming, and this is what I got.

As you can see, I am guilty of starting to drink it before I remembered to take a picture. Yes, I was thirsty. I needed to quench my thirst. But, this was instant iced tea! I know, I know, such things should be outlawed. However, because I know their iced tea is instant my taste buds were prepared for it.

Then I ordered the pancakes with nutella and bananas with bacon on the side.

The pancakes are likely from a mix as they don’t have the buttermilk tang that they would possess if they were made from scratch. But that’s why I get them with the nutella and bananas. They hide the bland pancakes, and give them flavor.

Every time I decide I’m going to go to the diner to eat I tell myself that I should choose a more exciting restaurant, one with a better menu. However, there’s a comfort I have in eating here, and I always feel welcome. I know exactly what I can expect every single time I dine here, and they never let me down. It’s always over air-conditioned in the summer, and I need to carry in a cardigan. So, I’m always prepared with one.

As a person with PTSD it’s nice to have things I can count in life to be the same no matter what. My diner never changes. The iced tea is instant. The pancakes are from a mix, and the place is too cool in the summer. And every weekend I eat here.