I’ve spent an eternity it seems hiding behind masks, armor and other ways to keep myself safe.
My sister made a realization the other day when I had yet another panic attack at the angry voice of a neighbor with a history of being abusive. It wasn’t aimed at me, it was just loud enough for me to hear.
The realization was that I feel a fundamental lack of safety.
It’s true, but it’s also something that has been with me as long as I can remember. It’s only that the uncontrollable panic is a new symptom.
It seems to me, in my memory, that there should be no reasons for that lack. At least not before some of my experiences at age 13. But, I remember doing my best to hide and protect my true self for years before that.
Perhaps it was the doctors, dieticians, psychologists and other assorted medical staff who lectured me (and sometimes my mother), accused me of lying not only about my food intake, but also my activity level.
Perhaps it was that before my parents found Marriage Encounter, according to my sister, that they had screaming fights regularly. Although if that was a main issue, you would expect me to exhibit signs of attachment disorder. As a kid, I more closely resembled the criteria for Oppositional Defiant Disorder. (no, sister dear, I am not diagnosing myself – just thinking)
I don’t know. Maybe it will come up for me to deal with as I write my memoir.