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 side...it 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.