Sometimes I think I have reached the top of a mountain when I haven’t. Sometimes I think I have defeated my demons, or at least mortally wounded them and I haven’t.
Right now my grown up, psychologist, mind is curled up in foetal position behind a psychic door just like the door I held closed a year ago. It is listening to five youths trying to break the door down to destroy me just like they did a year ago.
I feel exactly the same way I did that night when I realised no neighbour was going to come and investigate why my alarm was wailing or why I was screaming for help. The same cold hand of terror and despair is gripping my heart that gripped it that night when I realised the police were not ever going to come in answer to my phone call for help.
I want to cry but despair is lodged in my throat like a gag stopping the sobs from getting out and all I can do is redirect my panic, my despair, down through my fingers and out onto this page.
Something happened again. I had a run-in with someone at work. I had a problem with how he handled things so I talked to someone else about it to get an objective opinion on the issue but we didn’t have time to finish the discussion.
Today I found out people have been talking about me behind my back. I held onto my composure but my anxiety and paranoia were triggered and I started having deja-vu.
Everyone experiences deja-vu and I do too but sometimes I have a lot of these flashes and they usually come just before something important happens in my life. The more frequent and longer lasting the deja-vu experiences, the bigger the event tends to be when it happens.
The deja-vu flashes triggered a higher level of anxiety in me because of this belief they are a warning of something important coming my way. I had more deja-vu on the way to dinner with my daughter and then a big one. This one was actually just a little deja-vu episode but it was accompanied, for the first time ever, with a feeling of premonition.
I felt like I had dreamed this exact thing — telling my daughter about the bad day I had whilst believing everything would be all right only I was wrong. I told myself it was all going to be all right but the next time I went to work they sacked me!
Panic threatened to overwhelm me but I’m good at keeping up appearances. All my insides simply freeze up and I don’t react until I am alone where it is safe to react.
(Punish a child often enough for displaying emotion — for crying, being afraid, getting angry — anything and they learn to accept the most horrendous things without even blinking if someone might be watching. Remember that next time you see someone like Lindy Chamberlain!)
So I went into robot mode with my daughter and functioned so well I even sang one song (badly) for karaoke night before I dropped her off and came home.
Once I closed the door behind me the mask fell off. The earth crumbled beneath my feet and I fell into the abyss. I tried to grab myself. I tried to pull myself out of it but it was too late. There were too many triggers. The anxiety triggered paranoia and now panic envelopes me.
I have searched the web. There are some jobs I can apply for. I have enough savings to pay the rent for a month, maybe two and I should be able to get the unemployment benefit by then.
I won’t be able to use my current employers as referees but there are some co-workers who might agree to vouch for me.
The problem is I feel so worthless I can’t help believing I should be sacked. I’m afraid someone has found out I have written in this blog about my work and they think I have breached confidentiality or worse — they think I am an unsuitable person to have working for them.
As I sit at my computer holding my shattered world together by concentrating on one word at a time I can’t help wondering when.
When will I get it right? When will I be good enough? When will I stop living a life filled with disaster, catastrophe and crisis?
My psychologist mind responds to the discipline of having to organise my thoughts to put them on this page and it tells me to hang on. It tells me nothing can ever be as bad as what happened last year. It tells me I survived that so I can survive this. It says if I lose this job I will survive somehow.
I am listening to my psychologist mind and I am doing what I did when I was holding that door closed last year — praying.
As I finish this entry I wonder if I should post it. What if I don’t lose the job this time and someone does find this blog. Would this entry make them sack me then?
Maybe I shouldn’t take the chance but I can’t help believing it would be dishonest to let anyone reading this blog think I win all my battles.
Sometimes I lose no matter how hard I try. Sometimes all the training I’ve had, all the knowledge I possess, all the experience in the world isn’t enough. I have built safety rails around the precipice but sometimes I fall anyway.
I plan to put this entry under the life-skills category. A lot of people may wonder what justification I have for doing that. What is the life skill the entry tries to teach?
Technically the life skill in this entry is self talk — the things my psychologist mind is telling me but if you want to know what my heart believes is the real achievement it is something much more basic.
When I was 20 I would have reacted to this whole thing by simply not ever going to work again. I would have quit before they could sack me!
That is not how I will deal with it now. I will face my anxiety, my paranoia, my fear and my panic and I will go to work tonight. If they sack me I will, somehow, cope.
I will continue to face these demons until I either get the sack or stop fearing I will be sacked.
I’ll continue to try and make it to the top of this mountain because, every time I think I don’t have the strength to keep trying, God will continue to give me some of his strength.