Who I Am

9 Oct

If there’s one thing I’ve learned from confronting my newly discovered “issues” it’s that I’m going to be learning a lot.

Being a Psychology Major, I already am captivated by analyzing my physiological responses to outside stimuli and when and where it happens.

But a difficult life lesson that I’m struggling with is adjusting to my new life of psychological issues and conveying the seriousness (to me) of my problems to other people in my life. While I have found a few fantastic people in my life that I can talk to about my issues, I still fear that people don’t fully understand what is going on in my head and/or body. I’m not even used to labeling myself as an agoraphobe and panic attacky, so how can I expect others to?

I even had to have a sit down conversation with Mr. Bee about how, despite my tough exterior, I am really sensitive right now and need to be treated with kid gloves. That’s when he responded with a compliment and a problem all wrapped up in to one, “I just have a really hard time seeing you as fragile!”

And even recently, while dining with friends, we got in to a conversation about being emotional and I talked freely about the fact that I could easily cry at a moments notice. This is not a recent development. I’ve always been quite the cry-baby (ask Sissy). Of course in the normal course of any social activity with my friends, I don’t usually burst out in to tears, so when they all responded in shock that I am “that girl” it really made me realize that who I am and who people perceive me to be could be drastically different.

What people see: A funny, confident and outgoing woman.

What’s going on inside: An insecure girl who never quite feels like she is fitting in.

What people see: A social butterfly.

What’s going on inside: Someone who constantly suffers from what I’ve deemed “friend paranoia”, which is when you become convinced that your friends are really annoyed by you and don’t like you anymore.

The problem is: I am fragile right now. For the first time in my life, I actually have to convince myself to attend some social situations when the panic and anxiety get overwhelming. And even though my new medication has taken away my painful (and horribly inconvenient) stomach cramps and Exploding Butt Syndrome (trademark!), it seems that those stomach aches were distracting me from the real underlying panic symptoms, such as freaking the fuck out right before a big event.

While I was initially irritated when people didn’t respond right away (or at all) to my new-found crazy, I soon began to realize that my crazies are totally internal and it’s not like I really explain my insecurities to everyone I meet. I mean, I’m usually too busy describing my most recent bout of explosive diarrhea (because, let’s be honest, that seems to be what fascinates most of my readers and friends. Weirdos.) to fit in to how insecure I am when it comes to my interpersonal relationships and social situations.

I suppose we all see what people want us to see when it comes to friends and acquaintances. But how do you know that what you are seeing isn’t just a facade to distract you from what’s going on inside?

Song title: Who I Am by Jessica Andrews

8 Responses to “Who I Am”

  1. Keegan Mays-Childers October 9, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    I think you’re very brave for speaking about these things, and it can be especially challenging to have to introduce new rules to friends and family who are already programmed to react to you in a certain way. Hang in there, and take it easy on yourself for a while. Allow yourself the time to work through this; you will be just fine.

    If things don’t work out, you could always write a book, go on Oprah, and get your own talk show! Woohoo! ;-)

  2. Erin October 9, 2009 at 3:36 pm #

    FYI – I went through this last year. I have agoraphobia and anxiety as well (PTSD and OCD in addition to those other two). Most people don’t realize that and worse, don’t believe it. It has taken me about a year to discover how to handle it myself, and how to tell others about it.

    I am here if you ever need to “talk.”

  3. RandomGiggles October 9, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    This was a really well written post and I am kind of going through something similiar but haven’t been able to write about it as well as you just did, so thank you..

  4. Kassia October 9, 2009 at 4:21 pm #

    I’m with you. I have issues too! And damn does it make other people uncomfortable. I feel like I have to help other people with my issues when I’m the one who needs help!! I hope things get better for you soon.

  5. Betts October 9, 2009 at 7:01 pm #

    We all wear masks so we can be what we think others want us to be, we all have fears of not being liked or accepted and we’re all a little crazy. How’s this for crazy? My counselor/therapist got sent to prison last week for sexually assaulting a patient after having twice been sanctioned for having sex with a patient. After getting over my initial shock, my first thought was… why didn’t he ever hit on me?

  6. Jenne Johnson October 10, 2009 at 8:46 am #

    I think you expressed yourself very well in this. I found your blog by mistake and have become addicted to it. I love the fact that you can say exactly what’s on your mind, your not afraid to laugh at yourself, you can take an uncomfortable topic and approach it with both logic and humor, and you have a wonderful way of writing that has us (your loyal readers) sitting on the edge of our seats waiting for your next installment. I understand crazy I’m more than a little bit there myself and I understand wanting family and friends to accept that you need to be fragile for a little while as you try to figure out how to make yourself better. I was borderline suicidal for over a year and my family didn’t have a clue. It took a year, some great happy pills, a wonderful doctor and some selfishness on my part to get past that period in my life. Hang in there and trust in your doctors and yourself. God Bless and I’ll include you in my prayers.

  7. Aunt Becky October 11, 2009 at 11:01 am #

    It’s really hard to let the mask down and let people inside, especially people who think that they know you best. I’m sorry that you’re hurting so badly and that things are so hard.

    I’m here if you need a hand or a shoulder or someone to cut a bitch.

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  1. I Love Myself Today | Mom to Bee - October 27, 2010

    [...] about something meaningful, such as my religious coming out (Losing My Religion) or anxiety issues (Who I Am), and it hits home to a reader out there? BLISS! You mean that I can use all my ridiculousness to [...]

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