If you have a strong memory then you'll know that I've had a pretty up and down year so far. In May I lost my best friend. In June I lost my unofficial grandmother. In early July I lost my house. If you're a true fan of my
To recap, I was coming home from class one night and was pulled over in a podunk small town. A crooked cop wrote me a ticket for going 13 MPH when I most certainly wasn't.
I decided to exercise my American Rights and fight it in court. That didn't go well at all. It turns out that I wasn't the first pompous citizen to think it was wrong to be charged with a crime I didn't commit. The defense attorney had his trusty spiel ready and explained that I could just pay the ticket or I could fight the courts and end up paying the ticket anyways.
At this point I was pretty upset, but I decided to pay the ticket and get this nightmare out of the way. I drove back to that small town, spoke with the city clerk, wrote her a check, received a receipt and bid them farewell. Or so I thought.
One morning in July I woke up to this:
|Minus the guy knocking the door in|
I had no idea what was going on. They said the warrant was issued by *Podunk Town* for a failure to appear. "Failure to appear for what?" I asked. They didn't know. The warrant was halfway filled out by the *Podunk Town* city clerk and signed by the judge. At this point I was having a full-on mental breakdown. I was 75% sure I was still asleep and that this was a very vivid nightmare. My ticket was paid weeks prior, I received a receipt in person and again in the mail. There was nothing I could do accept go along with the humiliation. Next thing I knew I was in jail.
After the processing, mugshot and hours of waiting, I was allowed to call family to come bail me out. The hell was only beginning. Words aren't good enough to explain the anger, fear, helplessness and every other feeling that went through me. How do you tell your family that you were arrested for something you didn't do? It's not easy, especially when they don't believe you. How could they though? Have you ever heard of something this backwards? It's like a bad movie. After a few hours of tears and talking, we all realized that this wasn't just a nightmare, it was real life.
The next day I contacted *Podunk Town* and told them what happened. The "them" I spoke with was the director of city zoning. The city clerk was on vacation. She directed me to the chief of police, who promptly ignored my calls completely. Bureaucracy at its best. I retained a lawyer and fought tooth and nail to find out what in the hell happened. After two weeks I was told that "Whoops, looks like we made a mistake. Sorrrrrryyy bout that."
Wait, what? After all this all I get is a sorry? As the days went on depression fully enveloped me. I had been humiliated for literally no reason other than a "clerical mistake". There was nothing I could have done to prevent it and nothing I could do to fix it. I could start to tell that I just wasn't myself. My brain had two modes: sadness and anger. At night I stopped sleeping. I would go up to 72 hours without sleep. My brain simply wouldn't calm down. Every ounce of self-confidence and pride was gone. Once I was finally able to sleep, I'd be subject to the most vivid nightmares you could imagine. Nightmares so real and sickening that it took me hours after waking to believe they weren't real. During the day I was afraid to leave the house or talk to anyone. Sirens and cops sent me into uncontrollable flashbacks.
I needed help. I sought out a therapist and it was the best thing I ever could have done. After a few sessions she diagnosed me with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
It's been over two months since the arrest and I wish I could say I'm all better now, but I'm not. The nightmares are still there, leaving the house scares the hell out of me and my life is in pieces. Meds keep the depression under control and allow me to sleep most nights, but life inside my own head is chaos.
The point of writing this isn't for attention. In fact, I'm scared to have people read this. Four people (outside of my therapist and doctor) know that I have PTSD. Talking about what happened is so incredibly hard for me. Tonight I'm taking a big personal step and telling all of you. I consider you all to be friends, yet the worst thing that can happen from you reading this is that you decide not to read my blog anymore. It's a small step, but it's a big one. Next I need to build the strength to tell the rest of my family and eventually my friends. PTSD doesn't just vanish overnight. Who knows when I'll be able to function semi-normally again. I pray that's soon so that I can put my new MBA and 4.0 GPA to use and get back to being the happy person I used to be. Unfortunately it's not that easy. All I can do is take it day by day.
If you've stuck with me and read this all, I can't thank you enough. You've joined a select group of people that are helping me get better simply by caring. That means more than you can imagine. Thank you all for reading this post, the 149 that came before it, and the hundreds to come.