Smoke Detector Induced Anxiety Gaaahhhh!

NOTE: Please check your smoke & CO detectors regularly, leave your home (remember your pets!) & call 911 when your detectors signal danger.

So I love when it’s 2:49am & I hear 2 piercing beeps from “somewhere.” Silence. Then 3 piercing beeps from the same somewhere. Silence. The mind starts jolting the body awake … I must be dreaming … this can’t be happening at 3am, right?

The 3 beeps sound again. Silence. My mind bolts my body up out of bed & down the stairs … Do I smell smoke? No. What is going on? Gahhh! BEEP BEEP BEEP right above my head …

Then my naturally low blood pressure takes over as I get a little lightheaded from getting up too quickly. For God’s sake … Ok, slow down & breathe.

Rationality takes over for a moment … Change the battery. Ok, search for batteries. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Turn the f*** off!

Ok, batteries found, new battery inserted. Test. BEEP BEEP BEEP. Ok, done.

Back to bed. But the heart rate is still trying to recover, mind racing. What if it’s real? What if it wasn’t THAT detector, but a different one? What if it was CO detector? You can’t smell CO … Ok, get back up.

Check the basement, the kitchen, etc. Nothing. Check the CO detectors. Check the other smoke detectors. They’re good.

Meanwhile, Baxter is following me around wearily, ever my shadow šŸ¾.

Back to bed. Mind still thinking, over thinking … Stomach churning.



OK, calm down. Now I’m awake, & thinking, well, it’s 4:30 … They say the yogis woke up before sunrise to meditate … It’s also the full moon … A good time to reflect, release, move forward. So maybe this is a serendipitous thing.


Serendipity. I don’t think so.

So after over an hour of this anxiety loop … Including entertaining the idea that I have ghosts in my house … googling “why is my smoke detector beeping 3 times” & freaking out about the answers offered … watching youtube videos about how to reset the detector … which, by the way, I resorted to because First Alert makes REALLY difficult to find answers on their website at 4am … Heading to the bathroom for an anxiety BM (c’mon, I can’t be the only one who’s GI tract kicks in) … Going back to bed & hearing the BEEP 3 times, then 2 times again …

After all that, here I am typing the saga on my phone at 5:30am.

BTW, after that 3 beep, 2 beep combo, the detector has been silent since. Maybe that’s the sign it’s reset? I’ll have to remember this the next time it goes off at 3am … which my anxiety is already preparing for this evening.

So, in sum, now that I’ve had some tea & am coming back to myself … this was a pretty fascinating scenario of how anxiety works in me, in my body (activated muscles, blood pressure, digestion) how the rational mind tries to get in there with some logic, but has a wicked challenge in getting the flight/fight response to calm her sh** down.

The pause was key for me, yet I’m still dealing with the adrenaline/cortisol rush 2 hours later. Before I began my yoga/meditation practices 10 years ago, I’d be chastising myself as weak, not able to handle this “small” thing, & trying to “get over it” in any way possible.

This morning, I still chastised myself … Yet was able to pause that inner voice for moments here & there … & instead make some tea, soothe Baxter & Tortilla, & just decide to begin my morning routine a bit earlier. Progress on my path? I think so.

I also learned more about smoke detectors — that dust, changes in temp/humidity, or even a spider crawling into the detector can set it off. Who knew? (You probably did! I’ll call you in a panic next time ;).)

Maybe you can identify with parts of my experience with anxiety. Maybe you’re thinking, My God, this girl has issues (you would be correct). And maybe you’re finding a slice of compassion for yourself or those around you that have freak-out moments, hours, or days.

In any case, I’m so thankful you’ve read this post. A little more compassion in this world is a monumental thing, a change-the-world thing.

Thanks for reading. Now go check your smoke detectors …

P.S. Here’s the anxiety-inducing smoke detector. Quiet for now. It needs your good vibes. Because if it goes off again at 3am for no good reason, this detector may not survive. Just sayin’.

P.P.S. It’s been 4 hours … Silence. I hope I get a nap this afternoon šŸ˜“.

P.P.P.S. June 18th – Update – This one beeped twice, then 3 times at 1:45am this morning. Needless to say it did not survive.

Published by ericaengel42

I practice & share Hatha Yoga for a simple reason -- it works. Hatha Yoga in the Himalayan Tradition is a holistic system of philosophy & practices passed down through an unbroken 5,000 year lineage of Himalayan sages. What Hatha Yoga is not: trendy, bendy or one-&-done. What Hatha Yoga is: a systematic approach to uncovering the real, authentic YOU in body, mind & spirit. Hatha Yoga cultivates well-being, stability, clarity & ease in modern life through traditional, time-tested practices. I also recognize both our shared humanity & our differing privileges & barriers -- I am a cis-gendered white female with a graduate degree, who has dealt with family trauma & an eating disorder. My goals in my own practice include to cultivate awareness of my own privileges & social conditioning, unlearn & re-learn in order to be mindful & take compassionate action toward a more beautiful, just & peaceful world for ALL humans, creatures & our Earth. I'm making mistakes daily, & hopeful that I'm falling forward toward these goals & vision. I hope we can walk our paths & support each other along the way.

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