Exaggerated Startle


I was sitting in my car today in a grocery store parking lot looking at my Android. I’m afraid I’ve become a little addicted to using that thing. This time I was checking my various groups on Facebook to see if there was a message for me. Suddenly, there was a knock on my car window and I jumped so much, I almost hit the roof! I looked at them through the window and I couldn’t focus on who they were. When I opened the window, the couple apologized. They pointed to my bumper sticker and asked me where I got it.

This experience reminded me of the early days in my recovery. I couldn’t sit in the front seat of a car for a long time after my car wreck because that’s where I sat during the accident. Even though I have no memory of a car hitting us on the passenger side, my body remembers. In the beginning, I jumped at every tire screech or car driving too close to me. I remember literally shouting or screaming when Michael turned left and I thought we would be hit again. Of course there was always plenty of time for us to make the turn but my body didn’t think so. Michael kept telling me it made it worse when I cried out because then he thought we might really be in danger! I tried not to do it but it took me a while before I stopped.

I understand that folks who haven’t gone through an experience like mine will occasionally become startled. They may even jump when someone knocks on their car door window at an unexpected time. I think it happens to me more frequently than others but it is much, much better now. It’s been a long struggle though.

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