Exaggerated Startle Response
My beloved college roommate is one of my best friends. She delights in scaring me, still does. Most of the time, me jumping and others finding it comical doesn’t bother me. But this can happen at inappropriate times. Case in point, at the gym when I’m walking around the track and someone approaches me from behind, I may “jump” or stiffen noticeably if I didn’t hear them coming (which I normally do). This is exceedingly embarrassing, and it seems like an automatic physical response that I have little control over. Even when I’m grounded and in the best of moods, it can still happen.
At times, this startle response will activate a trauma response (fight or flight) that doesn’t go away quickly.
This may leave me feeling on edge for prolonged amounts of time to where I may find it hard to concentrate and need a cool down period, usually where I would need to be alone. This more extreme example thankfully only happens for me now when I am very stressed already, for the most part.