Adventure in Preparedness

The last couple of days very minor hijinks have been going on at my desk while I’m at lunch, such insignificant hijinks I can only assume Winston Bishop is the culprit.


Sure, I said I was done talking for a while, but I need to get this out of me to see if it’ll loosen something up.

First, it was a sticker label from a Kroger pastry stuck to my nameplate and to the granite counter that is my desk. It took several minutes to get all of the sticky residue off the counter. Then it was my chair being raised all the way up. So tiny and insignificant. It barely matters. It doesn’t matter. To a normal brained person it wouldn’t matter at all. Might even be fun. Might start a tiny prank war.

Not for me. I don’t like pranks. When I was in high school a prank went awry, and it scared our dog so badly that he left the house less and less. Just to do backyard business. He was the sweetest dog, but it messed him up forever.

At my old office the guys loved to startle the gals. This is a craze I will never understand. Some guy would sneak behind a gal, usually the one that gave the most extreme reaction, and then laugh and laugh. “You’re so easy to scare!” They tried it on me several times. I don’t react when people try to startle me. Not because it takes the fun out of it, and they’ll stop, but because my brain and my body go into shut-down mode. I close down completely in a self-preserving mode to prepare for the worst. Because it’s usually the worst. My brain closes off so I can’t remember. My body either completely tenses to block anything or goes completely numb to remove all feeling from the situation. Even when other people are startled, those full-winded, sharp gasps put me on high-alert. My body gets ready to respond. I never know if it’s ready for fight or flight if it’s not happening to me. I only know everything within me is tightened.

One day last year my landlord came into my home or sent someone into my home without telling me. I came home to find on my bathroom sink something I’d never seen before. There were weird pieces in my bathroom trash. I went tense. Someone was in my home, and I didn’t know about it. I checked every corner of my home. What if they were still there? Maybe fixing the toilet was a ruse because the toilet still had all of the same problems it had always had. I cried. I cried for hours.

Today when I sat in my chair, it wasn’t where I left it. My body went completely rigid. My heart was racing. My chest hurt. I got so dizzy. It felt like I was doing everything in triple time. I couldn’t see straight. My hands wouldn’t stop shaking. Because my chair was moved. Because my chair was moved by someone who wasn’t me. I cried. I cried at my desk. I cried at my desk unashamedly.

And yet, everything within me felt like I was being a baby. Maybe I was. Maybe my reaction made me a baby, but my brain and body went into a very passive defensive state. My brain is constantly on edge for the next attack. Loud noises, sudden sharp sounds send chills down my spine. My whole body tightens. My senses are heightened. Not only when something has just happened, even something minor. All of the time. Some times normal volume speaking terrifies me. People who constantly yell all of their thoughts, all of their words, make me so tense.

Screw PTSD.

But like ask for consent first, because that’s how we got into this mess.


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