Wednesday, December 14, 2011

To Carry, Or Not to Carry

Living with PTSD, you develop a certain... shall we say paranoia? Walking down the street, through the crowded aisles of the grocery store, in your own living room when someone knocks on your door, you are surrounded by perceived threats. As I have become more aware of my PTSD, those feelings of being threatened have become more intense.

Recently, a friend invited the hubby and me to go out to a shooting range and fire off a wide array of guns, from the very humble handgun to the very high-tech sniper rifle. It reminded me of shooting rifles at camp as a kid, but there was a greater sense of power and control, looking down that scope, knowing I could hit the tiny metal animals that were so far away, I couldn't see them with my naked eye. That got me started daydreaming about carrying a gun for protection.

Now, before anyone goes crazy on me... I don't own a gun. I will not own a gun. I will not allow a gun in my home or near my daughter. I am not anti-gun, but I wouldn't feel safe with one in the house. Accidents can always happen, you know. That aside, I'm not exactly mentally STABLE, so arming myself with a deadly weapon just doesn't seem like the best idea. So what was I going to do to get back that sense of power and control in my life? What's a girl to do to feel safe in the world if she's afraid of the risks of carrying a gun?

My therapist supplied the answer yesterday. He told me that he felt protective of me, almost fatherly... And that I should pick up some pepper spray right away.

Pepper spray! Now, why hadn't I thought of that?? I shared the suggestion with hubby.... who supported it 100%.

After confirming that pepper spray is legal to carry in all 50 states, and, more specifically, legal in containers of 2oz or less in my home state, I started browsing the internet and found a cute little keychain canister--pink--for under $10. Perfectly legal, will provide a sense of self-protection, and is cute, to boot. Who would've thought--aerosol weapons as a fashion accessory?

I'm going to wait until after Christmas to order it. Goodness knows I've spent far too much money online in the past six weeks, preparing for Christmas! I may not ultimately go with the pink one (although the real appeal wasn't that it's pink so much as that it claims to support Breast Cancer Research), because I really don't care what it looks like. I don't intend to ever use it. I just need something for those *just in case* moments, something to make me feel like I can protect myself, like I'm not entirely helpless or at the mercy of another.

I actually struggled with this decision. It's not something I took lightly, and obviously I'm not jumping into it. I looked up the laws first, I took hubby's input and my therapist's input and weighed the pros and cons of carrying any sort of weapon, and I decided that this is something that I need in order to regain control of my life--a control I haven't felt for over 8 years now. This is a good thing. It scares me a little, but it's a good thing.

So I'll be ringing in the New Year by arming myself with pepper spray. I feel good about this.

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