I don’t talk about it often anymore. It doesn’t rule over my daily life as it once did. But it’s always there, just beneath the surface.

The flashes of that day when a fire truck drives by and a lump forms in my throat and my eyes well with tears. The nightmares that come less frequently, but still haunt spasmodically sleepless nights. The feeling of my left eyebrow not being quite right. That spot on my right arm where I whacked it on the banister, dashing out of the front door while escaping an explosion with two toddlers tucked under my arms sometimes still gets itchy, even though there are no visible scars.

All of it, smoldering just beneath the ashes…

I’ve gone to therapy to discuss it at length. I take daily medication for depression in hopes that my brain will rewire itself back to the way it was before, knowing that the medication will probably just be part of my forever now.

And most days I’m fine.

My sense of humor is still intact, though there are still jokes I can’t utter aloud out of fear of complete misunderstanding and judgement. Like when I’m grilling and it flares up and I want to sing at the top of my lungs, “This! Grill! Is on FIRE!” in my best Alicia Keyes voice. I mean, c’mon! That’s funny! But also, no…

My ability to deal in reality over irrational fear has never wavered. The attention and care I am able to provide my family with has remained strong throughout this whole ordeal.

And then I open my email… “How to stop wasting money on one-size-fits-all insurance. Only pay for what you need…”

What I need? What I NEED? WHAT. I. NEED?!?!

I think you mean WHAT. THE….$&?!!!!!

In an instant, the smoldering ashes explode, ripping off every layer of protection I have carefully regrown over the last decade.

How many times must I unsubscribe or mark as junk? How often must I call and politely request that you permanently remove my email and street address from any and EVERY list you have other than your DO NOT CONTACT EVER list?!?! Seriously, who the HELL is in charge of THAT list? Because he should be FIRED.

The thing is, my criminal case was DIRECTLY tied to the civil side, which is a HUGE RED BURNING FLAG in my non legal opinion.

Eight months after the fire, insurance denied our claim. We prepared a lawsuit and filed it within the 12 month statute of limitations. Three weeks after we filed our civil suit, I was indicted for arson. The timing is more than a little suspicious and we had to stay our civil suit and focus on the criminal injustice.

After 5 years of purgatory, and 6 years post-fire, the deal made with the Passaic Country Prosecutor was that I would to have plead guilty (to a crime I didn’t commit) and neither Brian nor I could ever ATTEMPT to recoup anything from insurance in order for me to receive probation, a chance for expungement, and a promise that insurance would not sue us.

I should have requested that they not be permitted to HARASS me.

So…. What do I need?

I need for them to stop contacting me through any and all forms of mail. I need my TV and radio/pandora to automatically skip their false advertisements. I need for them to NOT exist in my hard earned peaceful reality.

I need a lawyer to represent me pro-bono who will light a match under the injustice system and demolish Big Bad Insurance for harassment, mental anguish, and punitive damages…

…Or a million dollars post tax (plus interest on full amount for 10 years) because that’s the estimated amount our home, property, and all of our belongings probably equalled but we’ll never know since they NEVER FINISHED investigating, adjusting, and itemizing OUR CLAIM!!!! That would be nice too.

And then I take a deep cleansing breath of fresh air, put on my smile, and start regrowing all over again…

#whatineed #burninhell #ptsd

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