Fire Fire

Really Real Mental Health Post

This morning the smoke alarm went off for less than 30 seconds, then it stopped.  It was 5am, and I had just gotten up and was in the bathroom.

We have one of those talking ones that yells “Fire Fire” in this computerized voice that I will always hear in the back of my head.   When it goes off, especially when I’m half asleep.  I panic.  I see smoke, I smell smoke, I feel smoke.  I taste smoke.  The smoke is just a trauma memory but it’s so vivid and real that all of my senses are involved.

It’s the same smoke alarm we had at the old house.  That same voice.  “Fire, Fire”  In the back of my mind I can see the flames in the bedroom of the old house.

Most of the time there’s a good reason for the alarm to go off.  Someone  cooking is the normal culprit, our layout here sucks and for a long time the alarm went off constantly.  My neighbor is great about texting me whenever she sets it off cooking so that I don’t freak, and I do the same for her since they are connected.  This time I waited, and no text.  I texted her, she said they were in bed.

My mind is racing as I’m brushing my teeth.  What makes a fire alarm go off for 30 seconds at 5 am.  This is the kind of thing most people can let go.  I’m waiting for the flames though.  And even worse, I’m seeing flames in the back of my mind still.  I’m still smelling the smoke and while I’ve finally gotten to the point after this many years that I know the smell isn’t real and is just a phantom it’s so hard to calm back down when I’m fighting against all of my senses.

I climb in bed with Wonder Woman for a few minutes and curl in against her.  I’m safe there and I can relax against her and let it go.  I can focus on the whys of the smoke alarm another day after the flames and the smoke die down.

Some days I try to tell myself that there’s no reason for me to have PTSD.  That I didn’t go through that much and that others had it worse and it wasn’t like I was at war and it wasn’t really that bad.  But then something like this happens and reason or not, I know how real this all felt.

I guess there is no reasoning behind this.


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