Thursday, January 15, 2009

I had a bit of a panic attack yesterday. It was the first authentic one in a long time, and I am still in recovery mode ( as evidenced by the 3 a.m. blog posting).

If it is not yet obvious to the four of you who still hang around to read my ramblings, I am HARD on myself. Far harder - usually - than others. I am the person who hears "I was expecting you earlier" and it becomes a referendum on my chronic tardiness. Or "Hey, let's meet and discuss the project" which becomes "Hey - Come to my office and I will list all the ways you have personally disappointed me with your lack of dedication and progress on the research project."

Yeah. I know.

I take a small statement and extrapolate it out into the most terrible thing it COULD be, for which I then plan - because when you expect the worst you can't be shocked when it happens. At the very least, you will know you deserved it.

This lingering mental conversation is one that is very tough for me from which to break away. Often, the loop closes and I become a mental hamster - spinning faster and faster in my own internal dialogue - until I either burst into tears ( rare in public) or I run, run away and hide...then burst into tears in private...and hide some more in shame for the breakdown.

This is where I was this afternoon when I started to cry. Then ran out of work to my car -for the very shame of being human and feeling overwhelmed necessitated my leave taking. Which led to a frantic email to my supervisor as to why I was in the process of having a panic attack for not being good enough.

I sometimes joke that there are two distinct Dawns. Not in a "Hello meet my other personality" way, but more so in the way that I can hear the two distinct Dawns in tandem having a running dialogue about my choices. I call them "Emotional Dawn" and "Logical Dawn". Logical Dawn thinks Emotional Dawn is a bit weak, and Emotional Dawn thinks Logical Dawn is a bit anal and cold. In Freudian terms, we are talking pure id and super ego here. I just gave them names.

Balancing myself between the two extremes is occasionally very hard work, for when the balance shifts to one inevitably swings back to the other - and rocks me both ways until I can regain control and shift it back into the middle of the fulcrum.

These are the nights I wake at 3 a.m. and write this all down.

7 Baleful Regards:

Anonymous said...

While I personally can't relate to depression quite like this, I do have panic disorder and know how awful you must be feeling. I hope you get a break from these feelings soon.

Anonymous said...

it sounds like you an i are a lot alike. i automatically assume the worst, am easily troubled by innocent things, and often think what people say/do is a negative reflection on me when often it has very little, if anything at all, to do with me. i was recently diagnosed (FINALLY) with something that made sense. a rare form of atypical depression called "rejection-sensitive dysphoria." do some research and see if any of the symptoms make sense to you. i spent my whole life being told things like "bipolar" or "ADD," none of which made any sense.

this finally does.

Justin said...

It's very hard to have to restart life every time I fail to be perfect. I struggle with that too.
Hang in.

Amanda said...

I had a day much like yours yesterday. I was so upset my boss called this morning and suggested I "could take the day off if I wanted to." I took that as, I don't want you here today if it's going to be anything like yesterday. So, here I am 3 children running around and cuddling up with the laptop.

Mitzi Green said...

"when you expect the worst you can't be shocked when it happens"

i have lived by this creed for the past 36 years...

maybe some day we'll both figure out differently?

Astrogirl426 said...

Oh, add me in to the pile too. Depression and anxiety are my own personal roller coaster rides. And I, too, get hyper-sensitive, even to the point of creating negativity where it doesn't exist (with strangers, too).

When you mentioned the ruminations, it made me think of the DBT (dialectical behavior therapy) stuff I learned during my visit to That Place last spring. They taught me some really good techniques for getting my brain off the hamster wheel, and stopping the circular thinking. Do I use it? Ummm, sometimes? but it does help sometimes. As does the Effexor :) Good luck hon, and feel free to email me anytime if you need to talk.

Nell Escalante said...

Thank you so much for being so honest. I am new to your blog and can't tell you how much I need it at this point in my life. I too have two people inside of me and hope that I can strive to live in the middle of my two Nellies.

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