SPD, PTSD, Auditory Processing and Fight-or-Flight Response: 3 Vignettes
Most of the time, sounds cause my auditory processing to send me into fight-or-flight mode. So before I know it, I'm dropping everything I'm doing to fight or to flee.
As one would assume, this can be quite disruptive to a daily routine. Here are three vignettes describing such occurrences.
Victim to the Sound
It was bad. They started drilling into the ground in front of my house. And I had no warning. No idea that the noise would be coming. It took me by surprise. As if it was an assassin.
I was working and tried to block it out, but given the nature of my week, I should have known an explosion was coming. I ran much too thin. I was at my breaking point.
I went into the bathroom, turned the fan on and tried to breathe. But it was no use. The sound was too loud. Too shrill. Like it was screaming for me. The murderer chasing me. I was but a victim to the sound.
And scared for my life.
I went onto the back porch to try and escape it. I plugged my ears and sat down and rocked and sobbed. Asking, Why, to no one. Then I screamed so deep it hurt my chest.
I went back into the bathroom. It was safer there. I looked into the mirror, but I was not there. Fortunately, my instincts told me to medicate, so I was able to get some marijuana. After a few drags of my vaporizer, I could think again. I put my earplugs in and my headphones on and listened to chakra-balancing music. Tried to sit down and work again, but I was too drained. So I had to lie down.
I can't believe they're still doing construction on my street. Having to possibly be gone any morning this week has made me feel like I'm preparing to escape. To flee. Packing bags, gathering food, making sure I have all my belongings. For when the construction starts, I have to leave immediately. The last time it happened, I waited too long and became so disoriented I couldn't even drive.
Feeling like I'm not safe is something I’m already accustomed to, so when I feel the need to flee, you know it’s bad.
And trust me, I know I’m fortunate enough to be born a citizen of a safe country (by comparison). Because we see what happens when people who are not born citizens of safe countries try to flee. So I know it could be much, much worse.
Image by Ian Lindsay from Pixabay
I felt the ground vibrating. It was the second day of the city shredding trees across the street. There were men in brightly-colored shirts tossing tree parts into a machine. Nature’s hitmen.
I was working when it began. I could feel the vibration before I could hear the sound. Like a stampede on its way to run me down. Hysterical, I opened the door and glared out, pleading like a captive to my captor, Why, why are you doing this, as if someone could hear me and would respond by shutting down the machine.
After, I rushed around the house, frantically trying to find ways to soothe myself. I put the fans on, my earplugs in and my headphones on, but the sound had already gotten to me. It was in me. I was possessed.
I had to sit in the bathroom where the sound is the most isolated. My own sensory-deprivation chamber. I rocked until I calmed down. Then, I intermittently sobbed throughout the day until it finally left me. Leaving me drained.
At least now, I know what is happening to me. Before I knew about my sensory processing complications, I didn't even know I had been triggered.
Like one day, I came home ready to sit down and write when a construction crew began chopping up the cement on my street.
I flew into a rage and ran around the house alternating between screaming and burying my head into my hands and sobbing. Opening the door and yelling at the noise. Trying to frighten it away. Fighting. Pleading.
I lost the entire day due to bouts of anger and despair.
If I lived in the wilderness as a cave woman or a lioness, my acute sense of sound would be a good thing. I could hear the stampede coming. I could warn others and protect myself from harm. And flee before it got to me.
But because I live in a suburb and work from home, it just makes me feel like a caged animal.