In the days and nights immediately following the shooting I had moments when I was sure I was going crazy. Every time I closed my eyes I would see the shooting happen again. It was like a movie that would play through and then skip back to the beginning and replay. One night as I tossed and turned, trying to fall asleep, I could actually hear it happening, not just in my head, I could actually hear it around me. The weird thing was all the things I heard weren’t all sounds I had remembered hearing at the time of the shooting. Not only did I hear things but one morning as I woke up I could actually see the shooter looking in my window at me. I promptly withdrew under my covers, took some deep breaths, and reminded myself that my bedroom was on the second floor and the shooter was in police custody so it was impossible for him to be looking in my window. There were other times that I was absolutely convinced he was hiding in the large pine tree in my front yard.
Following these events I started to feel quite concerned about my mental well being and talked to my mom about it. I soon had an appointment to talk to a professional about the things I had been experiencing. He was casual and relaxed and talked to me like I was a real human, which wasn’t something I had experienced with some of the other professional types I had talked to. He told me that the reason the shooting kept replaying in my mind was because, “Our brains are like filing cabinets, with different folders to store different things in. Your brain is trying to find a place to file the shooting and can’t. It is going to keep replaying until your brain has created a place to store it.” “OK”, I thought,” that makes sense, I can accept that”.
Next I had to admit to hearing things. Yet again he had a perfectly good explanation. In a state of shock and in order to protect itself ,while witnessing the shooting, my brain only processed a portion of the information being hurled at it. It hung on to the other stuff and processed it later. This is why I was literally hearing things but didn’t recall actually hearing them at the time.
Last but not least seeing the shooter and fearing his presence even though I knew he couldn’t be there. For this ,I don’t remember so much of an explanation as to why but, he said that it was not abnormal to experience those things for a little while but if it continued for too long I should talk to someone about it. I left feeling so much better. I left feeling like I wasn’t going insane. I came to the conclusion that as long as I could recognize crazy things as being crazy then I wasn’t as crazy as I thought I was. Oh, and that it helps to find someone worth talking to about it so you don’t really go crazy thinking you’re crazy. I really have sympathy for people who suffer from different mental diseases that cause them to hear and see things, that aren’t really there, on a regular basis. It can be frightening and upsetting especially if you know that they aren’t real. I’m glad that these were symptoms that didn’t last too long for me.