Yesterday I went over to Matt's to say hi. We had a good shallow conversation, and went to the store. I was looking at the puppies for adoption (of course) and absentmindedly grabbed a cart that was empty but apparently "already claimed" for. The guy was rude to me, but no big deal on my part. Well Matt popped off some comment to him about how there were plenty of carts, whats the big deal. Matt and I kinda separately shopped for our own things, got to the check out, and I paid for my stuff. Then Matt slid his stuff up there and then just wandered off. I was like Matt - you have to pay - he looked at me completely blank and said "I don't have any money". I said yes you do. He then, kinda in this daze shoved the money he had into my hand, and said I can't pay you have to. We get to the car and I am like what on earth is going on? By then he was hyperventilating and shaking. He said I don't know. I was standing in line and all of the sudden I felt extreme anger, the world started closing in on me. He said my vision was all wavy and I couldn't think, and I just had violent images flashing in front of me over and over. Instantly I knew he had a classic panic attack - but here is the interesting part - it was triggered by the man with the cart. He started ranting about if that guy had touched him he would have pounded him to the ground, and that he followed him all over the store to make sure he didn't try to take a punch at a him. Frankly I had no idea what the guy even looked like - Matt knew every detail of this man down to the color of his socks. (Hyper vigilance) Matt's anxiety kept going up and up, to the point of where he couldn't breathe or talk. (I know most of us have had these, and they are not fun.) We went back to my house to try and talk through it - and it suddenly dawned on me that this rage, this extreme anger, that is targeted at total strangers is PTSD. These strangers are triggering other people that have hurt him in his past, or victimized him, and are causing him to have flashbacks and revenge like feelings.. I asked him who the man in the grocery store reminded him in his past, and he knew immediately. So, I said, look you have to see a Dr and get help. He said "I KNOW" - yep! Unbelievable. I said right now we are going to urgent care because your panic attack won't stop, and I want you to tell them about the violent feelings and images. And then Monday, you will start seeing a counselor for this??? And he said yes - I will Mom, as long as when we talk about the people that 'F'd; me over, I can break something. I said, I am sure something can be worked out. So we went to Urgent Care, and he ended up spending 2 hours talking to the nurse about his life, struggles, and feelings. Matt walked out of Urgent Care smiling. He said I have never in life, ever, had such an intense connection with another person. Matt said this man talked to him for 2 hours on how to turn his life around in a way no one else has ever talked to him. At the end Matt said that this man gave him a hug, and told him he was a good person, with a pure heart, and that he knew he would be very successful. Matt was just shaking from pure goodwill finally poured into his spirit. Then late last night he called me to confess something that he had never told anyone. He was sexually abused by his babysitter when he was little. I won't go into the details, but the encounter has haunted him ever since, and he doesn't know what to do with the feelings. He had actually told me about this about 6 years, ago, but I guess he had forgotten. Again I said, this and the apparent PTSD you can talk to a therapist about - will you? And he said yes. Pretty unbelievable that he has been broken wide open to such pure vulnerability that he is now actually asking for help. I hope he does not rationalize himself out of it by the time he gets to the psychiatrist. I was really surprised though that he told urgent care the truth about his feelings, even the violent ones. Maybe he is scared enough to finally move forward. So that is the update. There is only one psychiatrist here in this small town, but I like him - and I am hoping if Matt will get connected with him he can also help him get a mentor, and maybe get involved in some of the other help this town offers. Please keep your fingers crossed, that all of this goes forward as I know it can, as long as Matt does not start digging in his heels again. All of this past pain seems to be exploding in him like a volcano - and he is on a slippery slope.