October 20th, 2005


No seriously, don't.

FUCKING hell. A coworker (secretary) just forwarded me this. First off, not only do I have a bad startle reflex, but also my stomach is very touchy today (I couldn't go to work yesterday due to stomach cramps that strained an internal muscle; it's mostly better now, but not all the way). Yeah, perfect, adrenaline will make it better. Especially given the accompanying text:

Subject: This is freaky!!!

Check this one out!!!!
I hope you can hear it :)

See if you can see the ghostly figure in this commercial. Creepy!!!!!!

Like a moron I put on my headphones and listened to it. Really should have known better, but nothing like that has ever been forwarded to me via work in the two years I've been here, so I didn't expect that.

I HATE that I get startled so badly. I can't help it, or stop it. Antidepressants have helped a little, but I think it's a basic neurological thing. For the most part it's sound-based, though naturally visuals (or, god forbid, someone actually sneaking up on me to startle via touch) don't help. Sometimes I can smother it, IF I know something is coming (i.e., a movie I've seen before) and buckle down for it. But that is difficult, and doesn't always work. I still jump sometimes at Jurassic Park, which I saw seven times in the theatre, and is one of my favorite movies ever.

I don't always get that horrible rush of fear and adrenaline (followed by self-recrimination for being a pussy, yeah, that helps), but my threshhold trigger seems to be set much lower than other people's, with ratcheting levels of severe response. Something that wouldn't startle a normal person makes me jump; something that would startle a normal person gives me a gut-deep fight/flight response.

I can't, unfortunately, expect people to know, so I forgave the culprit and asked her not to do it again. I didn't explain everything, only said that I didn't like being startled; I didn't want it to seem like I was trying to put a guilt trip on her, or being a drama queen.

Unfortunately most people simply don't get it, even after I tell them to Seriously Don't Do That. Having a friend sneak up behind me to startle me gives me the equivalent emotional reaction that a normal person would feel being suddenly attacked by a large dog. To then have someone brush off your reaction or treat it as if it is all in good fun is like having the owner pull the slavering dog back and grin, "hey dude, can't you take a joke? He wouldn't have hurt ya..."

Asshole, yes? But this is part of what normal people in a casual social environment do. Yet there I am, surrounded by people whose normal acceptable behavior provokes in me an extreme neurological reaction. It's no one's fault I am this way, but I'm still the one stuck picking up the pieces of my sanity, every time.
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