First you'll need to apply for a "buyers permit" at your local Sherriffs office, and depending where you are in NC and how "busy" they are it could be a quick as 24 hours to do your background check. I know here in Rowan I had mine the next day. Also if this was at work you'd have to check Company Policy on employee's being armed. I'd also look into a CCW Permit, and get the right weapon for you. Try a few different handguns out before you make the purchase. What works for some may NOT be good for you. Also try different types of rounds, some kick more than others. If you can't control it, it's not gonna help.
Glad you still around to talk about it though. I know you're gonna be a bit edgy for awhile. That "paranoia" can or will work with or against ya.