A Christmas story about my PTSD

In the past on here, I have been open about my PTSD and anxiety that goes with it. This entry about is a little window further into it.

On Christmas I didn’t get any cards but I did get an ‘IOU’ and a gift card to buy cards. Like anyone, I couldn’t wait until the day after when I could cash those in. So on the 26th, I headed to my favorite card shop, Valley Sports Cards.

I rarely ever can afford to buy a box of cards but this time I was able to buy two. Sure I was buying two $50 boxes and not a box that cost $70 to $150 but this was a big deal to me. Even though I ended up spending $110, this was by far my biggest card purchase ever at any retail shop. This combined with buying a chase pack and winning, was enough to make my head spin and trigger my anxiety.
I have covered the chase packs that I buy from Valley Sports Cards before: here. In the past I have said that I have grabbed the thickest pack so I went with the opposite this time; I grabbed the thinnest. I wasn’t expecting to win a prize, and am not sure that I really wanted to. It is when you aren’t expecting to get something that it usually happens. The odds say 1 in 16.6 on the front but I have probably had much better luck than that. When I saw that I won, I was kind of pissed. I didn’t want Alex and Lona to think that I was cheating the system. I know part of this thinking is normal but it is magnified even more with my anxiety. This combined with buying 2 boxes was too much for my head. I picked a Kurt Rambis autograph as my prize by the way.

I drove with my brother. Going back from Tarzana, where the shop is, to Simi Valley, where I live, is a 30 minute drive because they are not freeway close so for 8 miles or so I am on side streets before I hit the 118 freeway. For the first half of that span, you could hear a pin drop in the car. I didn’t turn on the stereo or say a word.

A huge key to getting through is anxiety is getting through destructive thoughts. Destructive might be too grand of a word to explain this as I am functional during this thinking, but you get what I am saying; it was unhealthy. The key is to identify destructive thinking so you can reverse it and put a positive spin on it as fast as possible. After 15 minutes, I apologized to him and told him what was bugging me. For a high school sophomore, who I don’t see all the time, he was cool about it. We talked it out and came to the conclusion that this purchase was a huge anomaly and if I got the boxes yesterday then I wouldn’t be feeling this way; after all this was from 2 people. With regards to the chase pack, I will just have to accept that Alex and Lona know that I am a good person who would never cheat them; plus good things deserve to happen to me: a fact that I need to come around to.

I was going back and forth about whether to share this. Ultimately I decided to share my thoughts because I know that these depression and anxiety is more common than it should be. As a great person on Twitter said, we should break the stigma of mental health issues being a problem. I am not sharing this for people to feel sorry for me, I am sharing this to add to the rhetoric that needs to be growing.

By the way my purchases:

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20151227_141933The contents of the chase pack.

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This is what’s great about the hobby #9

As someone with PTSD, there are very few places where I can find peace when I need it. Since I am not coaching this season, I have 3 places that I can go. One of those places is my favorite card shop.

I have covered in the past how I hate mystery packs. They never give value and a lot of the people selling them are unethical. Fortunately not everyone is like that, because my favorite card shop has mystery packs that have really paid off for me.  Here is how Alex at Valley Sports Cards does it. He puts together packs for 10 bucks from one sport. Each pack includes 2 relics, several rookie cards, a raffle ticket, and a board of death.  On top of that, he has cards in his display case that say 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. Right now for basketball there is a Scottie Pippen autograph as 1st prize for the basketball packs. The thing with that board of death is that in a handful of packs there is prize message on there saying that you won 1st prize (or 2nd or 3rd). He holds about 2 raffles a year. They are like big parties where he celebrates his customers and rewards them. He raffles good stuff like Jordan, Kershaw, and Magic Johnson autographs. There are customers that come acting like they are entitled to win everything, but Alex (and his wife who is just as amazing) take such good care of his customers that the appreciation is a 2 way street for 99.9% of the customers. I won a Pau Gasol signed basketball from one of the raffles, thanks to all the tickets that I had compiled from his mystery packs.
I love buying these packs because Alex does not put junk in there. Among the highlights of cards that I have got in the packs alone: Bobby Doer autograph, Wade Boggs jersey, Sam Bradford dual jersey, piece of a Super Bowl pylon, etc. Not all are great, but that is very rare. There are days when I walk away thinking that I got a dud pack but those days are pretty rare. I have bought so many packs and won some good stuff: Bob Griese autograph, Steve Young autograph, Alex Rodriguez booklet, etc.

As a low end collector, I hate walking into his shop with only dollar bin items so I try to buy one every time that I come in as reciprocation for how well Alex and his wife have treated me over time. I am not going to lie, I look at the prizes showcased to see if there is anything good; but very rarely is buying those my single reason for buying one of the packs.

So let’s take a look at how I did from my visit over the weekend:

Pack 1
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The Isiah Thomas autograph is numbered to 25

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I hit a choice of 3rd prize from this pack and chose something good…

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This is what’s great about the hobby #8

A couple of weeks ago, I came across someone who was spreading the word about mental health and giving away cards in the process. As someone who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder – no, I was not in the military – and suffers from mental health issues as a result of that, I helped spread the word. I didn’t win the contest but the amazing person behind the account insisted on sending me something. After some back and forth where I refused to accept anything, I conceded – I have dealt with a lot of stubborn people in my life and Tom wasn’t going to back down from this.

Continue reading “This is what’s great about the hobby #8”