I LIVED IT: I Turned on a Garbage Disposal Thinking It Was a Light Switch

I Lived it:

Trauma takes on many forms, but when your own hand is responsible for utterly betraying your trust and sense of security, the wound created is a harder one to heal. I should know; I accidentally turned on the garbage disposal thinking it was a light switch, and I’ve never been the same since.


Shock, horror, “fight or flight” – what do these common words and phrases really mean? Most people will only ever guess at the answer. These people are lucky in their sweet ignorance, and I was one of them once, but that all changed when while standing at the sink in my parents’ house I flipped a switch thinking I was going to illuminate the countertop, but instead awakened a furious mechanical beast, screaming out with its grating and desperate bellows for prey.


Yep. I turned on the garbage disposal without any water running or any food in it, and I still hear the echoes of that metallic grinding in my nightmares.


Before the incident, I liked spending time with friends, reading historical fiction, and flipping light switches without fear synapses taking over my brain and sending my body into a painful and rigid lockdown.


But that’s all changed now. Actually, I still like the first two things, but I can only read while it’s light out because I’m too scared to turn on a light.


A lot of people will say I should “get over it” or “be more careful if it bothers [me] so much”, and to that I respond, how fucking dare you? And how exactly am I supposed to be more careful when our fucked up world makes garbage disposal switches and light switches look fucking identical, which is insane?


I’m not sure I’ll ever recover, but at this point, all I can do is protect myself. That’s why I’m moving to New York where the plumbing is too sensitive to have garbage disposals, and you just throw your food waste into a bag, then put it in the street for communities of rats to feast on. I’ll just feel more comfortable.


So for any others who have recently shared this experience: Welcome to hell. There is no known cure for unwittingly hearing the worst noise in the world when you expect a silent light to turn on, especially when you are the one who triggered it all while simply trying to turn off the dark.


Just remember: Our stories are valid. Stay safe out there, and put some tape over the garbage disposal switch.