My life has forever changed since Feb. 14, 2018. The experience of returning to school has been peculiar compared to previous years. Since then, even normalized aspects of my everyday school life have shifted for me, especially my reaction towards typical fire alarms and drills.
For me, the sound of the alarm will never be taken lightly again. A cloud of doubt would always overcast and cloud my mind in terms of the validity of the alarm. Upon hearing that obnoxious siren, I am bombarded with a sudden sense of anxiety and adrenaline that overflows through my veins.
My instincts and common sense battle for control over my body, contemplating whether I should exit the classroom or hide in the corner. Tears jerk out of my eyes, against my will, as I am reminded of that horrid day. My friends always try to comfort me and tell me that it’s nothing, but it never helps.
Monthly fire drills are constant reminders of the fact that danger can be anywhere. My mind hurls itself into the worst conclusions. ‘If we evacuate, someone might be out there. If we don’t, the fire might spread into our classroom.’ My mind ponders. When the fire alarm is pulled during lunch, my heart raced ten times faster than it does when I’m in a classroom. The uncertainty of protocol and the exposure of my surroundings add on tremendously to my nerves.
As fire alarms may be as routine as bell schedules to other students, for me they are another trigger that affects my mental health in various ways. A blaringly obnoxious reminder of a tragedy I do not wish to remember.
If there was one thing I learned, it was that no matter how much you think something won’t happen to you, anything can happen.