“The day I finally decide to grow up is the day I’ll surely die.” ~M
Photo credit: pixabay.com
Photo credit: pixabay.com
I have to admit, when someone asks me if I’m fine or okay, I start to get a bit defensive. I immediately begin to wonder if I’m starting to look weak or somehow flawed. I’ll come up with any number of excuses to convince the person that I am completely okay and that they need not worry about me. But 9 times out of 10, when somebody asks me this, I only go on the defensive because they are completely right. I’m not always fine and somehow it seems they’ve noticed it. I’m terrible at being able to hide my emotions and I’m drawn to people who are really good at reading them. So with that combination, I am always sure to be found out.
Today, I was thinking all of this over and began to wonder why I am so set on having people believe that I’m okay, when in fact I’m actually not. I think part of it stems from my upbringing. I grew up in a home where I was taught to “suck it up and drive on.” If I ever had a problem, I was told that it was inconsiderate to speak of it and burdensome for others to hear it. I was told that there were plenty of other people who had worse problems, so my problems were not important enough to speak of. I’m almost thinking this was a generational thing because I see a lot of people my age who were told the same thing. We weren’t allowed to complain or voice our opinions like people are nowadays. Everything was a certain way, and whether we liked it or not, that’s just the way it was. We didn’t have many choices or options, we were just told to do what we were supposed to do, and not ask questions or complain.
I had my first and only panic attack when I was 18, and I still remember it like it was yesterday. I had just started a new job, in a new state, and was living with my biological father for the first time. I didn’t know anybody and barely even knew my dad. I had no idea I was feeling anxious at the time because I had grown accustomed to the feeling of anxiety and usually just tried to brush it off as if nothing were wrong. But for some reason, that day, my body wouldn’t cooperate with me just brushing off the anxious emotions which were welling up inside of me. I was completely alone, facing the world for the first time on my own, and uncertainty and fear began to overwhelm me.
Well, that first day on the job only lasted about 20 minutes, before the anxiety attack started. Everything began to turn different shades of gray and I could barely stand due to the sudden dizziness I felt. All sound became muffled and it seemed like I had gone into a dark tunnel where sounds just echoed off the walls around me. I could hear my breathing, which was raspy and strained, and the pounding of my heart, a sound I had never heard audibly, was now the only other sound I could hear. I could no longer speak because I could no longer hear my own voice. It was probably the scariest moment of my life, and I had no idea what was happening.
I remember somebody leading me to a storage room and making me sit down on some boxes. I remember sitting there thinking that I might possibly be dying, but I had no idea what to do about it. After being left there for what seemed like ages, finally, somebody came back for me and tried to ask me what was wrong. I remember not being able to explain to them what was wrong and so eventually they seemed to give up and just drove me home and left me at my apartment.
I don’t remember how long I was back at my apartment before I was coherent enough to call my dad, but after he got home, I remember trying to explain to him what had happened. Since I had never experienced something like that before, I couldn’t really explain what had happened to me. Looking back, I think everyone at that store must have thought I was on drugs or something. I never did end up going back to that place and I don’t think I ever contacted anyone to tell them that I wasn’t coming back. It was years before I ever fully understood what had happened to me that day. I haven’t had another panic attack since then and I really hope I never do.
I’ve since become a master at hiding my anxiety and rarely admit to anyone that I am often depressed. The only time I really confide in anyone is after my feelings of anxiety have subsided. I feel like it’s safer for me to talk about it then after the suicidal thoughts have left me, and when I can control my emotions better. I always have this fear that if I actually tell someone how I’m really feeling that they will lock me away somewhere, for fear that I may otherwise harm myself.
I’ve seen my own daughter end up in a mental hospital and so I know what they are like. The place she stayed at did her absolutely no good and actually made her mental state worse. She became like a prisoner while she was there and we had no say in anything that happened to her. The psychiatrist there told my husband and me that he had complete control of our underage daughter and that he wouldn’t release her until he wanted to. I wouldn’t wish a place like that on my worst enemy and it breaks my heart every time I think of my daughter having to have been there.
It all started out with our family physician insisting that we take her there, and once we did, we lost all parental rights and were only allowed to visit her for about an hour each day. We drove the two hours there and back every day, all in order to be able to at least see her and tell her how much we loved her. But I would never allow it again for any of my family members, no matter what the situation, and I certainly never want to end up in a place like that myself. So even though I struggle with anxiety and depression, I do so without medication, without therapy, and without any sort of outside help. I “suck it up and drive on.” It’s the way I was taught and the way I’ll forever remain.
Photo credit: pixabay.com
A conversation with my 15 yr. old daughter, who had just returned from the next door neighbor’s house.
Brianna – “My friend Jenny sure is turning into a teenager.”
Me – “Oh really? Why do you say that?”
Brianna – “Oh, you know… she’s just growing up and acting like the typical kind.”
Me – “Well, you are fifteen yourself… do you think you act like the typical teenager?
Brianna – “Who me? No, not really… what do you think?”
Me – “Oh Absolutely not! Lol….”
Brianna – “What about you mom? Do you see yourself as a fully grown woman?”
Me – “No, not at all… What do you think?”
Brianna – “Oh mom… not in a million years!” As she laughs uncontrollably.
Guess even my children can tell that I refuse to grow up. And she’s taking after me! Lol…. ~M 😉
Continued from: Tales of the Dark Side – (Part 1, The Broom Incident)
It was actually quite comforting to be back home. Five months of military training had worn me out, and I was excited to have a few weeks off, before having to report to my first permanent duty station.
As I readied the kitchen to steam the spice broom, I began to daydream about a guy I had recently met during AIT. He had the bluest eyes of anyone I had ever met, and I loved the way they lit up whenever I caught him smiling at me.
Mom didn’t know it yet, but I had actually gotten a tattoo while I was in AIT, and this guy I liked, (Kyle) had actually forked over the money to pay for my tattoo. He had even told me that he wanted to marry me and had begun working an extra job, in order to save for our future together. And yet I was still surprised to see twenty-four long stemmed roses delivered to the house earlier that day. I wondered… could he really be the one?
After becoming lost in my thoughts of Kyle, I soon realized the pot of water had begun to boil. Grabbing the spice broom, I carefully held it over the steaming pot of water. The rich spicy scent of cinnamon soon enveloped the tiny kitchen, and I stood there patiently steaming the broom, entranced by thoughts of Kyle and reveling in the euphoric smell which now engulfed me.
All of a sudden, my day-dreamy eyes caught sight of a wisp of smoke, which seemed to be curling up from underneath the broom. Then, not even a second later, the entire broom burst into flames. I couldn’t believe my eyes, and for a split second, I had no idea what to do. I began to panic, shaking the broom violently, hoping this would somehow put the fire out.
I had just been trained on how to: throw a live grenade, operate a machine gun, set up a land mine, fire a grenade launcher, shoot an M16 rifle, survive in a gas chamber, fight off a person using hand to hand combat, stab someone efficiently with a bayonet, and yet for the life of me, I had no idea in this moment, how to put out the blazing fire which was now right in front of me.
Then suddenly out of nowhere, instinct kicked in and I knew what I had to do. So without another thought, I held onto the broom as tightly as I could and raced to the back door. I pushed open the glass sliding door as far as it would go and then threw the broom down onto the concrete patio. I began stomping out the fire as best I could and then ran quickly back inside to get a bucket of water.
The broom was still smoldering when I returned, and yet the water did the trick. The broom hissed and steamed at me as I doused it with the entire bucket of water. Looking down, all that was left, was the tightly woven handle of the broom, the rest of it had completely disintegrated into a pile of ash.
Breathing a huge sigh of relief, I went back into the kitchen, where a thick haze of smoke now lingered near the ceiling. I knew my parents were sure to kill me when they returned. My stupidity had almost cost them their entire house, and I felt like a complete idiot. So much for the courageous soldier, I thought I had become. It turned out, I was still the same foolish girl I had always been.
The Daily Post prompt – Instinct
Now that you’re all grown-up, tell me… What did you want to be when you were younger and did you eventually achieve your goal?
My parents told me that I wanted to be a singer and dancer when I grew up, although I have no recollection of ever saying such a thing. I only remember thinking that I wanted to be a marine biologist. And the funny thing is, I really have no idea what exactly a marine biologist does. So if you’re a marine biologist… do share!
After graduating high school, I enlisted in the Army, and worked as an Intelligence Analyst for the next 5 years. Once my enlistment was up, I decided it was time for a change. I still had an interest in the science field, and so I pursued a degree in biotechnology. I ended up working at a biotech company and stayed there for 7 years. So I guess in a way, my dream of being in a science type field, did eventually come true.
The thought of being a singer or a dancer scares me to death, so I have no idea why I would have said such a thing. I suppose this just shows how much we really do change over time. Our ideas about what we should do with our lives, fluctuates all the time, and it can be frustrating when certain things we thought we should do, don’t turn out the way we had hoped.
Anyway, this was just something I was thinking about today. Leave me a comment and tell me what you wanted to be when you grew up, and if you haven’t grown up yet, what do you still hope to become?
My fear of being humiliated started as a young child in Elementary School. It developed over years of being harassed, teased, embarrassed, and sometimes even physically hurt through the abuse of other kids my own age. The humiliation I endured as a child was never realized by either of my parents and even if it had been, I doubt that they would have done much to stop the incidents from happening; not because they were bad parents, just because this was normal school behavior that was commonly accepted back then.
The humiliation that I lived with never ended and only got worse as I got older. The kids I went to school with tormented me to the point that I considered suicide as a teenager. At that time, I tried to reach out to my parents for help, but they didn’t seem to understand the severity of the situation and I think they were almost afraid to even try to help me. I believe it’s by the grace of God that I am even still alive.
I still have a very deep fear of being around people, especially people who I don’t know very well. I get extremely nervous, especially in small group situations where I am forced to answer questions with the rest of the group. Because I had always been shamed in most of my attempts to speak as a child, I feel the same thing will still happen now, and sometimes it still does. Sometimes I find that I even feel panicked enough that I want to run from a room. I find myself always needing to sit near an exit or as close to the end of a table as possible. I always need an escape route, just in case a situation arises that I can’t handle.
I doubt this fear will ever go away. I have hid my fear so well, that I don’t think my own family even realizes how much I still do struggle with it sometimes. I have not overcome my fear by any means, but I think I do a really good job of keeping this fear of being humiliated under control. I often avoid situations where I know I will be vulnerable. I have learned what types of situations to stay away from and which ones are okay. I deal with my fear of being humiliated on a daily basis and jump hurdles as they come.
For some reason, just writing about this has been therapeutic for me. Maybe I have just been trying to bury this fear of mine for too long. It’s best to discuss the things that bother us. It helps us understand why we do the things we do and why we are the kind of person that we are.