When I started this new section of my blog, I intended it to be less serious but I need to write about this. I suppose life is full of ups and downs anyway and this just, unfortunately happens to be a ‘down’.
I was fine this morning; positive, bright and optimistic – looking forward to a full day at college. I stopped at the supermarket to pick up something for lunch and arrived at college on time. There was a large group of us, something I’m not very comfortable with at the best of times. The topic for that session was ‘An Introduction to Recovery’ (from a mental health condition). Those of you who know me will know I have BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder) and Dissociative Disorder.
All was going well. We watched a piece of film on the projector that I wasn’t entirely comfortable with and then there was a discussion between us after that. I tried to communicate but I know I talk quietly but I can’t help that at the moment. It’s just not ‘in’ me to be loud or prominent in anyway, nor very forthcoming (often to my detriment). There was one woman sitting opposite me who seemed to insist in talking over me and as soon as that happens, I just shut down. I tried to listen to what others were saying but the topic that were discussed were very ‘near to the knuckle’ for me. I wasn’t expecting that. The chatter turned to family and children/grandchildren and then childhood. As you may know, my two children refuse to have any contact with me nor allow me access to see my grandchildren. So, that hurt to start with. But ‘childhood’ suddenly conjured up the nightmare experiences of most of my early life and suddenly I dissociated completely from the conversation and was in my own world or horror. It was just like someone had fired a bullet from a gun at me. I had to get away.
I shot out of the room in my wheelchair as fast as I could go and bolted from the college and don’t remember much about the journey home. Flashbacks kept stopping me in my tracks though – that much I was aware of. I came indoors and just wanted to hide (I don’t know who from at that moment). I grabbed my bear and held my hands up in front of my face as if to hide and also to try and block the images out of my mind. I’d had a panic attack.
When I’d calmed down a bit, I was then really angry with myself for abandoning college like that. I should have just taken time out and rejoined the group. How immaturely I had behaved for a woman of 57 (which I hate to admit to). I thought about going back but was fearful of the same thing happening again and also felt too ashamed . Maybe I should have faced my fears; confronted them at least. After all I’ve had enough therapy and still go.
I need to take a leaf out of my own book and next time that happens, instead of allowing myself to get the stage where ‘I’d gone some else’ in my head, I should have employed some of the tactics I have already learned in college such as the Mindfulness course coping strategies. I’m back there on Monday and am determined not to let that happen again. I need to take responsibility for my own feelings and actions and be a bit more assertive. The old and classic adage “I would do an Assertiveness Course but I feel I’m not assertive enough’ applies!!