Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Not Getting What They Want...

Standing outside in front of a busy cafe, wondering how I ever got over my fear of crowds started to overwhelm me. I started thinking about the days when I had agoraphobia. I’d walk into a mall full of people and my equilibrium would somehow fade out on me, leaving me holding onto something or someone, and at times, be found on the floor passed out. I’d wake up to a crowd of strange faces looking down at me. “Are you ok? Can you hear me? What’s your name? What’s today’s date?” Sometimes, I’d find myself waking up inside of an ambulance. I was hooked up to the oxygen being asked the same things: “What’s today’s date? Who is our president?” At times, the simple answers to all of these questions would slip away from me.

Although through the years, I have gotten better. With CBT (Cognitive Behavior Therapy), I’ve managed to break through the vicious cycles of agoraphobia. I started venturing outside of my home. It was scary and this 'new world' seemed so different now.  I started getting a little paranoid, thinking, “Everybody’s staring at me. Everybody knows I’m having an anxiety attack.” My worst fear was embarrassing myself in a supermarket if I had an anxiety attack and then passing out. To be honest, it’s still a great fear on the back burner of my mind. And, although I still cannot work a conventional structured 9-5er, I’m content working from home doing freelance. It’s what works best for me. I’ve worked hard to get to where I am, because a few years back, I wasn’t making any money hardly - just dribs and drabs to work my way up.

I’ve had some people in my life look down on me and basically said: “Oh she’s no longer the IBMer anymore”, or “on her last day at the phone company, she was taken out on a gurney”. I know some still think that, and it’s okay. Even though I have enjoyed many days at these companies that I have worked for, I have never been happier in my life doing what I do right now. I am not able to live a structured life. I still, from time to time, get panic attacks and a touch of agoraphobia (as far as going into huge supermarkets and malls), but I am much better from years back hiding away from the rest of the world.

This post stems from a recent judgmental remark someone had said. They mocked how I was out of work for quite a spell because I was “messed up” and couldn’t work a normal job and then went on to tell me that my relationship with my wife was meaningless. This person also went on to say that I lived a “ghetto life” because I live in a condo complex which holds many people. (The horror!) On that note, this same person also wanted me to promise her that if I were to ever leave my wife, that she would be my first choice. When I told her that would never happen, these vicious comments were thrown at me.  

This is another reason why I fear the world and hide out at times. People can be vicious and vindictive. Friends have motives. People assume too much and conjure up stories that are beyond my ability to understand. Sometimes I think it’s better just to hide out in my corner of the world and let the world just do their thing. But, I refuse to go back into my 'shell of safety' and let people have that control. I’ve been giving them way too much of it all my life.

This time it’s different. Say what you want. Think what you want. Feel what you want. But in the end, it always comes down to somebody not getting what they want.