Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)


A few years ago, I had just turned 18 and landed my first job in the local express supermarket facing my home. Initially, I loved it, the thought of being independent and earning my own money. The first few months were pretty good apart from the odd idiot who would want to make your life difficult and constantly come in to cause trouble or shoplift. I only worked part-time but whenever there was over-time I would normally accept it not for the money but because I enjoyed work.

I found myself working 7 days a week and on some days I'd have to work 2 jobs, one in a school then straight to the express store for the night shift. On one occasion I accepted some overtime on a Wednesday night oblivious as to what was going to happen on that shift. The store would close at 11pm and as I lived in the house facing the store I'd always go home on my break. I returned from my break and began facing the shelves, it was around 10:50pm and in the last few minutes I stood behind the till casually cleaning ready for the following day.

The next thing I knew there were people coming at me in balaclavas with axes and machetes. As stupid as this sounds, initially I thought it was some sort of joke as it was close to Halloween. The men jumped the counter and began hacking at the cigarettes with the weapons right next to me whilst one guarded the door on look out making sure no one entered or left. I was ambushed , there was no way for me to get out from behind the counter, I frantically glanced up into the security mirrors hoping to see my colleagues but no one could be seen.

I stood there for a few seconds which felt like hours debating whether to jump the counter and run to the warehouse for safety but as I couldn't see my colleagues I wondered whether I'd be walking into a trap maybe someone was in the warehouse holding them hostage. I took the plunge though, sunk my fingers into the panic alarm and ran to the warehouse, my team leader was there and I told her what we happening I ran back out into the danger and ushered the customers into the warehouse and locked us in keeping us safe. Believe it or not, throughout the ordeal I wasn't scared because it just felt surreal, it's the thing you see on tv and never expect it to happen to you.

It took a while for it too sink in and a few days later I began to have nightmares, I didn't help that so many people formed their own theories of the event saying how the robbers had been stalking the store. It made me paranoid thinking they were after me. I felt trapped everyone else that night left in cars to go home but my house was 10 meters away leaving me feeling as though I couldn't escape. I knew something was wrong but didn't think I was ill, I booked in with the doctor to get a sick note I just needed some time away from work. To my surprise, I was diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder, I had no idea what it was but my feelings defined it perfectly.

The next few weeks, I found myself staying in my bedroom the reason behind this was it was my safe zone as it was the room furthest away from my workplace. I'd squash myself against the wall in my room wanting to be as far away from it all as possible. I was young and my workplace wasn't supportive, my manager didn't even get me a card or knock on my door to ask how I was. I needed support and it wasn't there at work, I remember having a meeting at work with my manager and area manager who basically said to get over it and told me how they had dealt with worse situations in their life. I was heartbroken, I expected these people to support me instead they had horrible attitudes to the event and I was told if I had anymore time off work then I'd be facing the sack.

The event has had long lasting effects and  to this day I won't go to the store at night on my own for a snack, if I'm honest I wont go anywhere alone at night sometimes I won't even go out with people at night. The reason being I associate the night with the events of that night, I feel nothing but danger in the night as if bad things will only happen to me at night. Post traumatic stress disorder is one of the most horrible feelings in the world, it controls your life, it takes your life from you. Everyone's PTSD affects everyone in different ways, I was in a bubble all on my own, my own little world full of fear and stress.

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