A Thoughtful Comment Leads To Panic?

I almost didn’t blog about this.  I thought letting anyone in on my sometimes ridiculously crazy thought process would be like broadcasting how pathetic I can be.  I decided to just get it out of inside my head.  Either to analyze later, or just for the sake of not holding on to it.

Yesterday I checked my comments and received this one:

Michael, on January 21st, 2008 at 10:11 pm Said: Edit Comment
I am of the opinion we quit doing something when we get less out of it than if we did not do it to start with, If it were me, I would ask myself, what am I getting out of this behavior that makes me keep doing it?

There must be something in it for you? Oherwise, why bother…? “

I suspect that if I were a reasonable woman, this is what I would have thought – “Here’s a nice guy who took his own time to read my blog and think of something to say that he thought might be helpful.”

A reasonable woman I am not, at least not initially.  I don’t think I’d even finished reading the comment before I hung my head a bit, feeling judged.  Deep breath.  I read the comment again.  Amazingly, I was able to stop the feelings of inadequacy and shame to at least find out who this guy was that I was so willing to hand over any sense of accomplishment I’d felt from starting this blog and getting it all out.  He has his own blog at http://www.venagozar.com.

As I read his blog, I felt ashamed again.  It was different, though.  I read his blog, which he dedicates a large portion of towards helping other people through his own life experiences.  This time I was embarrassed and ashamed that I had suspected such a seemingly nice enough person of trying to be cruel to me, a total stranger.

Even with all of that evidence pointing to the fact that I had not taken his comment into any degree of rational perception, I was still torn.  Maybe I was pathetic enough for even a nice, helpful, seemingly genuine person to have no patience with.  Maybe I was the one who could make a monk on a vow of silence curse me.  And in the spirit of complete honesty, these types of thoughts sat with me for a good couple of minutes.

After that, though, I somehow came back into the real world.  Who did I think I was anyway?  Even in my weak moment, I somehow needed to feel special.  Special enough to make that monk curse.  But I realized I didn’t want to be that way.  And no one else was forcing me to feel that need.  So, for at least that moment, I let it go.

I also realized that poor Michael who had no idea being helpful would create a tailspin of crazy in my head, had asked a pretty valid question.  I am not used to writing for audience, so I suppose I haven’t really answered that question directly.  And to remind you without having to scroll up, the question was: “…what am I getting out of this behavior that makes me keep doing it?”

Of course I’m getting something out of this behavior.  I get a feeling of safety.  I can manage my panic attacks.  No panic stimulus = no panic attack.  I feel more in control of myself, so long as I’m within the safe confines of my home.  I don’t have to deal with uncomfortable public situations.  I don’t have to worry about whether I will get lost on the way home or crash my car.  I don’t have to worry that I’ll start sweating and choking in a full fledged panic flip out and have someone think the paramedics need to be called.  I don’t have to worry that my son will start screaming in the middle of the grocery store and people will stare at me like I’m the worst mother in the world.

So, there are a few of the major things I get from my behavior.  But is that it?  Case closed?  I’m not giving up that easily.  While I am benefitting from “playing it safe”, I realize that this is all naive thinking.  I realize that while I may feel better now, I won’t feel that way in the long run.  I don’t want to have to explain to my son why Mommy can’t come see him in his school play or piano recital or chess tournament or whatever he gets into.  I don’t want my son to think it’s OK to live this way.  I don’t want to depend so heavily on my fiance, and on the occasional day where I feel the need is great enough for me to go out.

I am benefitting, yes.  Absolutely.  It’s just that I’m realizing that I’m also sacrificing things I’m not really willing to sacrifice.

That’s kinda where I am right now.  Taking the baby steps to move from realizing the sacrifices to doing something about it, and eventually being free from it.

I wanted to apologize to Michael for assuming bad things about you because of my own insecurities.   I know you/he didn’t know I had done anything of the sort, but I feel that an apology is owed regardless.  I also wanted to thank Michael.  While your words weren’t exactly what I needed at that moment, my reaction to them was.


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