Well, hello there, anxiety attack. It had been almost a whole year since I'd seen you.
Read this book. Read "On Killing" too.
Thanks for coming back to bite me in the ass.
I really wanted to write something light and funny - I don't want to give the impression that I am always angsty and worried and thoughtful. But that was before I realized that I had screwed up colossally, thereby putting myself and my family potentially in a bind.
I've mentioned before that my last employment contract was terminated without reason (which is BS - I know exactly why it was terminated. I told my boss that I found her hard to communicate with [this after her big speech at a staff meeting about how she was so open to talking with us, we could tell her anything, blah blah blah], and immediately, she apparently began to write things she didn't like about me on my file. Heaven forbid she come to me and talk to me so that I could correct my actions - I was somewhat new to the position, and open to guidance - no, she just stockpiled and stockpiled until she had a nice little chunk. And then I made things so much easier for her by getting sick [primarily due to the stress of working for her. I felt emotionally abused at that job. My co-workers agreed that I was], and so she got to haul me into the office, pretending to care, and announce that my contract was terminated and that the job just wasn't right for me. You know, because that was totally her choice. Anyhoo). Because I was dismissed without cause (gag me), I was able to get EI. And because I am a huge idiot, I counted wrong, and thought I had benefits coming in until the end of March. But, the other night, I was lying in bed, unable to sleep, and the women's intuition that only works when it wants to throw me for a loop told me to get up and go and check my claim. And so it was that, at 1:07 am, I ran back into the bedroom, crying, sweating, hyperventilating and in the first full blown panic attack in almost a year. Because the benefits run out at the end of this month.
I woke my husband up and he did his best to calm me down, and although I am mostly functioning as a human being right now, the puppy is freaking out right beneath the surface.
Puppy, you ask? What puppy? I thought you guys were cat people? And we are (well, to clarify, Chris and the girls are), but I have a puppy all the same.
In his book "On Combat", Lt. Col. Dave Grossman likens the panic attacks the come from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as "getting a visit from the puppy" (p.282). This puppy represents the unconscious mind, and when the anxiety or panic occurs, that is the puppy rearing its head with stress induced conditioned reflexes (p.286). I am not suggesting that I have PTSD - no matter how awful my experience was - but when my husband first explained my panic to me in these terms, it made sense, especially because some days I feel like I can physically feel the puppy thrashing around inside of me. I can hear him howling. I feel him trying to get out. Right now, he is butting his head against my defences, just like my brother's dog used to but his head against the shop door, thus escaping into the dark night. The difference is that, with my brother's dog, I could laugh and help him chase the mutt down and put it back inside. If my puppy gets out, I lose my ability to feel like a human being. I need to train my brain (my puppy) to act differently. I need to find things that make it happy and confident.
Confidence is something I am sorely lacking right now. This makes it rather hard to sell yourself when job hunting. Last night, while I was browsing all of the employment websites, my daughters were suggesting various things I should apply for. They have all the faith in the world in me. How do I explain to them that they are alone in this? That I do not have near the faith in myself that they do in me? That I am so scarred from my last job, I am convinced the same thing will happen at any new one; that the boss will take a dislike to me and will squirrel away any little bit of poor performance they can until they have enough to get rid of me? That I fear no one will ever see their mom as being competent at anything? Their faith in me breaks my heart. I don't want it misplaced, but just the fact that I made this mistake makes me feel like the biggest failure ever. Marin, my five year old, caught me crying yesterday, and just threw her arms open and said "Looks like somebody needs a hug." She grabbed me in a huge hug and just held on. Sometimes she's a little tyrant (I fully expect her to have her own island dictatorship some day. Which, as long as she has good looking cabana boys for her Mama to look at, I am totally cool with. Totally), and some days she humbles me. My almost ten year old, Maeve, is more introspective, but she'll quietly offer to get her Dad to make me tea. They're good kids. And I have to make this work for them. I have to.
And I just need to retrain my brain and my puppy to believe that things are going to work out. I will make them work out. I will choose to not crawl back into bed and cry when the kids leave for school in the morning. I will choose to keep plugging away at this stupid computer sending out stupid resumes. I will choose to forgive myself for making a mistake. I will choose to try to love myself as much as my daughters and husband do. I will choose to breathe deeply and to remember what is good about me.
But right now, I choose to make banana bread. Because that, I am awesome at.
/verbal barfage. And one of these days, we'll discuss funniest ever Simpsons moments. Or something. Really.