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Question
Posted by: TLC | 2010-03-30

Attempted robbery, doubting details

Hi, When i was leaving for work yesterday morning i saw a guy jump over the wall to try and ambush me at my car. He hadnt realized i had seen him so i had a few moments to think even though i had no where to go. Everything i needed was at the bottom of my bag(house keys, cellphone, pepper spray) and i only had my car keys in my hand, i set of the car alarm then got the house keys out and escaped through a side gate into the neighbors yard where i called our security service. I was very traumatised. Shaking and the ocasional tear. I couldnt drive straight away but within an hour of the incident i was at work. the whole day the details of what happened played over and over in my head. I was sure of every movement i made, what i thought, what i saw, what he did, what he wore, how long it took our security service and another security service to arrive, what they said, everything.

The problem is less than 24hours later i was already questioning myself. It started when i arrived home and saw the flashbacks in the environment it actually happened. Did you really see this? did it really happen like that? you sure? was his shirt definately grey? i even went so far as to repeatedly ask my boyfriend if i am in a dream.

Is this normal? Noone has questioned what i saw or what happened? To everyone else my version of events is very plausible down to the detail. How could i be so sure of everything the whole day until i got home?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Maybe one lesson is the value of organizing one's bag ? Maybe a small bag to sit on top of the debris, containing the stuff you might need to urgently put your hand on.
From your description, you handled the sitation wisely and effectively.
Now, the symptoms you describe are typical and NORMAL - indeed, not to have some such reactions would be odd. Fortunately, while these are common reactions, they usually fade in the first couple of weeks. If the flashbacks and distress continue, do see a shrink for assessment and some counselling.
As for the details, actually, eye-witness testimony is far less accurate than most people expect it to be. And the sort of growing uncertainty you describe is also normal.
Uncomfortable though it is, currently you're sufering an attack of Normal.

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2
Our users say:
Posted by: Angie | 2010-03-30

First thing would be to talk to a chaplain which is normally provided for free by the security company or SAPS, just to calm you down and perhaps get some understanding of the situation. it is natural to question and second guess yourself, you had an instictive reaction, some people would just sit and do nothing as they would feel immobilized by the fear. Next thing is dont speak to to too many people about it, first thing would be to give your statement to the correct authorities, reason for this is that you can give a fearly accurate description and details of what happened, because once you start to talk about the situation to others you will start to see that is where you are second guessing yourself and the story may change a bit as you are trying to recall events, others may have input and because of the shock you may insert their information of what why who and when into that without even knowing it, for eg. someone could say couldnt his eye''s have been green and your head is not too clear so you think, yes that could have been it and then it jumble''s the information up. After this perhaps seek some councilling for what has happened, you may not feel affected now but later you might feel a litted affected by what has happened, even if not, its not always a bad thing just to let it out.
Keep strong.

Reply to Angie
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010-03-30

Maybe one lesson is the value of organizing one's bag ? Maybe a small bag to sit on top of the debris, containing the stuff you might need to urgently put your hand on.
From your description, you handled the sitation wisely and effectively.
Now, the symptoms you describe are typical and NORMAL - indeed, not to have some such reactions would be odd. Fortunately, while these are common reactions, they usually fade in the first couple of weeks. If the flashbacks and distress continue, do see a shrink for assessment and some counselling.
As for the details, actually, eye-witness testimony is far less accurate than most people expect it to be. And the sort of growing uncertainty you describe is also normal.
Uncomfortable though it is, currently you're sufering an attack of Normal.

Reply to cybershrink

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