I already broke my writing habit in the first week by not writing yesterday. In the last 10 minutes of my day, just before my therapy appointment, things went haywire. I took a break for therapy and then I went back to work for another couple of hours. It was a long day, followed by a very severe anxiety attack while I was trying to watch tv and do crossword puzzles. I had to relent and take an anxiety pill.

I lost my confidence a little bit yesterday. I’m extremely experienced at what I do. In fact, I have the most experience and strongest track record of anyone in my group. But don’t be fooled. I am not one of those “experienced” people who believes I know it all and have nothing new to learn. When something I “touched” goes wrong, all my history, all my positive results are out the window and the first place I look at is myself. Based on my Facebook posts, I am sure you don’t wholly pick up on that. But it’s the truth. I blame myself first. I go over every step, review all my notes and data, compare my results to others and when I still can’t find it, I ask my peers for help. I am a lifelong learner and I am not one of those experienced people who falls into the trap of never re-assessing my skills. In fact, I’m one of the most change oriented and adaptable people I know. I thrive on chaos and the unknown. It’s actually when I do my best work.

That said, when I am wounded, I acknowledge it like I did last night. I made sure I alluded to my bleeder and the panic which ensued. I always do that. Most people say nothing for fear that by acknowledging, I might dare to talk to them about it further, which they don’t really want. I’m guessing there is an assumption i will have endless pity and by allowing me to have an open door to one conversation, I will move into your house and it won’t stop. What I find sad about that is how little people really understand of me all these years.

Yes, something unexpected happens and because I have PTSD, I have actual changes in my amygdala which shut off all “unnecessary” need for thought and general motor function outside of either running or hiding to save my life. It gives me the reptilian brain which is what keeps me alive. Unfortunately, my broken amygdala doesn’t differentiate the minor threat of a splinter from that of a bomb going off. I am going to have the same response regardless of the proportion of the situation and whether you feel it’s an overreaction or not. You are not a scientist. I have learned to come to terms with that and that, perhaps, you have something different which gives you reptilian brain by cutting off your empathy receptors. Just saying. I can concede your reptilian brain might be activated differently from mine.

24 hours later. I’m fine. That happens all the time. Even if you would have had to listen to me prattle on about something for 10 minutes longer than you would prefer to acknowledge my existence, it still would have ended with a good night of sleep. That’s because I’m a warrior. As much as you are uncomfortable with my problems, I’m 10 times more uncomfortable than you. I’m the one with the elevated heart rate and chest pain which doesn’t stop. I’m the one with the racing thoughts which replay every detail over and over and over again in my mind. I’m the one who won’t be able to sleep which means having these horrible sensations for at least another 8 hours. When you are a woman over 40 whose grandfather died of a heart attack at age 48, long before you were born, wondering if you are just having your usual panic attack or if you are having a heart attack, while home alone….not fun, people, not fun. I don’t choose that. How insane do you think I am? Have you seen my medicine cabinet? It’s no longer chemically possible for me to be chemically insane.

Fuck that shit! No. I make a plan because I’m not doing 2 days in a row like that. And, if I am doing something wrong, you can bet I’m going to stop that immediately so I can ensure I don’t have one of these bombs looming around for the future. By the time I started my day today, I had a strategy in place and by noon, I had my confidence back again. Not doing anything wrong. But it’s an excellent exercise to look at yourself through someone else’s lenses once in awhile just to be sure you stay on your toes and ready for the next challenge. I’d much rather be this person with the momentary freak out, open to feedback and change and committed to any new plans within 12 hours than the person someone else had to come to and tell why I’m failing at a job I thought I was doing well. Those people completely collapse and never get back up.

Thing is, when you are on a battlefield, so is everyone else around you. You’re all getting shot at. A whole bunch of you are on the ground bleeding just like me. Not unique. The difference is, I do let myself panic and probably pray to a God I’m not sure I believe in to forgive me all my sins in case I die and then I snap out of it. I rip my shirt off and tie off the wound and then figure out how to get to a medic. Everyone else is still laying there, bleeding out, waiting for someone else to arrive. Those are the people who move into your house with their problems. Those are the people who are a time suck to you. I feel the same way about them you do. I’m not them. I rip the bullet out of my stomach myself. By the time you are waiting for me to drop another shoe, I’m stitched up and wondering when I can get back out there. Believe it or not, a few minutes of compassion on your end….you might actually learn something. Imagine that.