Pissed Once More
If a scream is silently captured within the convolutions of your brain is it not still a scream?
If your face lacks the plasticity of emotional fiction does it then belie the feelings within?
None of her treating experts had been able to answer these questions, but she could. Better than most, Fiona knew that locked down emotions required a communication detour to be effective; a more difficult route, but eventually achieving the same destination.
Post-traumatic stress disorder was the label that validated Fiona’s condition and allowed access to government funding. It was a psychosocial condition, so of course, was invisible to most, but was just as life limiting as any physical paralysis.
She had run the corridor when she heard the gunshots and screamed when she opened the door to her classroom. And her psyche continued to scream for fifteen years as she slowly and painfully found her way out of the depressive fog. Dying with the children would have been preferable to the loss of her emotional being.
However, she could now function well enough to seek employment. Her therapist hoped the control of a work environment would eventually give her the confidence to also take control of the anger and sadness within.
Although physically functional, she was mentally locked in and so emotionally mute that she was unable to participate in any environment that required interactions expected and congruent with social norms.
But Fiona wasn’t devoid of feelings, in fact she had too many. Unfortunately though, like an uncontrolled exit from a burning building, her feelings trampled on each other, piling up short of the door and remaining trapped inside.
So, with her side of conversations mostly occurring in her head, she was often labelled as being aloof or anti-social. Limited in her ability to communicate, dialogue was utilitarian and restricted to the essentials required to complete whatever task lay before her. Her remote behaviour won her few friends, tears perhaps may have elicited some understanding, but alas like words, they were not always accessible.
Fiona was tired, she had little inclination or ability to pretend. Social segregation was less complicated and easier for everyone.
She had tried a number of jobs, anything that didn’t involve children. But despite her best efforts, her attempts at gainful employment resulted in a trail of disasters. It wasn’t the skill set that challenged Fiona, but the personal interaction and expectations of people. Her literal interpretation and inability to filter responses often resulted in complaints. “Yes madam, you do look fat in that dress” apparently didn’t promote sales. Unfortunately, the emotional robot within her had limited battery life and if people went off script, she was left behind.
However, vocational failures aside, each encounter seemed to remove a twig from her neural pathways. The movement towards re-connection was almost imperceptible, but enough to convince her that given the right situation she could recover; and she now knew what that was. She’d need a rigid environment without emotional demands; no grey areas, just black and white where she didn’t have to pretend, say nice things to strangers or even smile.
She eventually found a job that met her criteria.
Fiona sat at her station in the airport customs area, smiling and nodding thanks as her colleagues walked by and congratulated her on passing her probationary period.
Batteries no longer necessary, she was again self-actuated.