I Was Diagnosed with PTSD. Here’s How I Cope in the Restaurant Industry.
This column is part of a series called “Restaurant Voices,” which features firsthand experiences and lessons from people working within the restaurant industry. Each column in the series describes a specific turning point or moment for restaurateurs that changed or defined their careers. This column is by Jon Hochstat, a Massachusetts-based consultant with years of international industry experience who was diagnosed with PTSD in 2012.
It’s hard to explain losing control of your mind. It was as if one trauma led to another. After almost being shot dead in Guatemala, I was afraid to get on the subway in New York because I thought I might jump in front of the train.
My list of traumas that I show doctors is a full page long. It started with the fact that I had a very verbally abusive father who had two kids and directed all of his anger at one. And sometimes I was in the wrong place at the wrong time. When I was working in the Caribbean, I was sitting at a bar one night with only one exit and a local came in and attacked another local with a machete. I was held at gunpoint during a home robbery in Cape Town, South Africa. I was almost killed in a drive-by shooting in Guatemala. Then I got hit by a car while walking across the street in New York City. I spent nine weeks in hospitals with a broken shoulder and a tibia plateau fracture. I had to relearn how to walk.