I’m currently siting in my living room having a trauma response. Last week I marked the second birthday Willow never got to have, and tonight Meru’s bout of atypical crying while walking around the apartment her her tail down nearly sent me immediately into a sobbing fit. Right this moment, she is sitting on my lap after a fairly routine grooming session, but this doesn’t erase the fact that less than an hour ago she was vocalizing somewhat plaintively while in unusual for her places like the bathroom. During last year’s repeated frenzies over Willow, there were at least two frantic, late night, all night trips to Dove Lewis. Occurring on the heels of more than a thousand dollars in dental surgery for Willow, the stresses and strains were physical, psychological, and dramatically financial. All of it needing to be done entirely in my own (excepting the emergency financial help from others) because I have no social support system whatsoever. When I say at the start of this the words “trauma response”, I’m not exaggerating. My entire nervous system withdrew into fight, flight, or freeze and nearly crashed. To continue not exaggerating, last year’s Willow decline nearly sent me to the hospital because I was on the verge of exhaustive collapse. I’m saved now from the full trauma experience only, I suspect, by the aphantasia and severely deficient autobiographical memory precluding actually having any vivid flashbacks. But the experience nonetheless exists encoded in my nervous system in other ways. This on a day when that nervous system already is frayed from yesterday’s annual birthday depression. As she now sits her on my lap, I’m afraid to move, I’m almost afraid to breathe, for fear of setting us both scurrying for purchase that might not exist.