Observation number one:
Having a moth fly into your ear and not be able to get out is quite unpleasant.
Observation number two:
But what’s so much more unpleasant is not knowing that it’s a moth and thinking you have gone crazy.
Completely and irrevocably.
Crazy? Oh, yes. There’s no way back now.
It’s very late at night. Dark.
There is this frantic whirring and whooshing in what feels like the center of your head. But you’re the one who is frantic.
It starts and stops. It’s like having running water in your ear and cabin pressure at the same time but you’re in bed and anyway, there’s nothing in your ear but your ear.
You wonder for a moment if it’s possible for a hundred bats or thousand butterflies to be trapped inside of you… and then deciding that this is extremely unlikely, you jump to the next obvious conclusion.
You’ve finally fallen off the edge. Obviously.
Observation number three:
My triggers are not your triggers.
While I am preemptively mourning the loss of my sanity and preparing for a new life in which there will always be this awful, terrifying sound in my head, my gentleman friend is being shockingly sensible.
In fact, he’s going all scientific method on my ear.
Investigating with a flashlight: nothing seems to be there. A tentative q-tip search: nothing seems to be there.
Flushing out the ear with water at first yields nothing. But then there is a weird, uncomfortable, squooshy sort of sensation. And then there is a moth in the sink. Tiny and practically invisible. Poor little moth.
My trigger: something happens that I do not understand.
Therefore (says my fear), I must be crazy.
My gentleman friend’s trigger: something happens that he is trying to understand.
Therefore (says his fear) it’s probably something understandable. And horrifying. Like what if it’s Tinnitus? What if it’s a bizarre neurological disorder and he’ll lose me forever to ear-weirdness?
He is not even slightly worried about me being or going crazy. I love him.
Observation number four:
My stucknesses are not your stucknesses. My past is not your past.
My fear of the crazy has to do in no small part with the fact that my family fears the crazy and spent many years teaching me — both directly and indirectly — to always be on your guard so you can catch it when it happens.
My gentleman friend’s past has taught him that unexpected things happen and that you can lose people you love.
We got fogged over by our stuff. We are covered by our stories.
Observation number five:
Knowing what your stuff is like and what it says about you is useful.
Because even if you don’t catch it right when you get triggered, eventually you remember that none of this is real.
My gentleman friend and I have had a few years now to practice separating it all out. We’re a lot better now than we used to be at stopping and saying hey wait a minute!
Actually it’s more like this:
“Whoops. That’s my stuff. Looks like it just set off your stuff. Okay. Mine. Yours. Mine. Yours. Yup. We’re cool.”
Ah, yes. As Tigger might say … freaking you out is what triggers do best!
Observation number six:
I feel better now.