Like I had done hundreds of times before, I reached out and pushed the start button — and that’s when it happened.
I remember a bright blue flash of light, a searing pain in my legs, and the image of a lightbulb winking out above my head, and then everything was black.
I am not sure how long I was unconscious, but when I sat up in the dark basement, legs throbbing, I was about five feet away from the dryer I had just been standing against.
I didn’t know it then, but the force of the flash of lightning lifted me up off the ground and threw me back. I had landed on my butt and then fell back and hit the back of my head, which knocked me out.
I was scared, in pain, and alone in the house.
I remember a long, slow scoot up the stairs on my butt, because both of my legs below the knee were on fire with pain, and I couldn’t feel my feet.
Just as I reached the top of the stairs and fell back into the hallway, my mom arrived home from work and asked me what was wrong.
“I think I got electrocuted,” I told her.
It was one week after my nineteenth birthday.
I had just gotten hit in the legs with some energy. I would be bruised and numb, but I would walk out of there with no lasting effects.
That’s what they promised me when they sent me away with a clean bill of health.
No lasting effects, my ass.
My legs healed.
My brain didn’t.
Now, I am afraid of everything.
Years ago I was diagnosed with a long list of disorders — depression, anxiety, panic disorder, PTSD.
I wonder, did the lightning break my brain, or was it only the fact of the lightning striking me that broke it?
I ask myself all the time whether I would have all of these mental health issues if had I not been struck, and the act of asking makes me angrier every time.
Why did this happen to me?
And if this happened to me, what other horrible things can possibly happen to me?
Well, all of them, of course.
I am the jumpiest bitch you know.
A car honking has the ability to give me a panic attack, the sudden assault to my ears stopping my heart and then making it race like it’s trying to beat right out of my chest.
When I hear a plane flying overhead, I expect it will crash into the house.
Why shouldn’t it?
It happens all the time.
Whenever I’m driving down a two lane road, I am always expecting a car to come crashing head on into me, because why not?