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Posts Tagged ‘anxiety’

When I experience guilt, I really experience guilt. If I feel that I have done the tiniest thing wrong I am immediately overcome with an intense feeling of guilt.  But that’s not the worst part.

The worst part is the sudden anxiety/guilt attacks that occur for the next few days.

It’s essentially a panic attack, I have this intense foreboding that something terrible will happen if I don’t fix it immediately. But usually I don’t know exactly what it is. If I think back and try to come up with a trigger for the anxiety (which I do with most panic attacks) I don’t come up with anything. Instead I just come up with guilt. Reminders brought on by an unconscious thought crossing my mind. And BAM. Guilt attack. I have to fix my wrong.

Problem is, most of the time I didn’t actually do anything wrong. I just perceive it as wrong. Or I think that someone else will think it is wrong. And I can’t fix it. But I still feel guilty.

It’s debilitating. Honestly. I live in fear of doing something that awakens my guilt. It keeps me from taking risks because I’m afraid of making a mistake. It keeps me from trying new things. It gives me intense anxiety about getting pulled to another unit at work because on a different unit I don’t know every tiny little detail of each rule and therefore I’m less prepared to ward off a mistake. I don’t have the best chance at performing *perfect* work, which means that there’s a larger chance I’ll miss something. And feel guilt. Even when the other people on the floor forgive me because I don’t usually work there.

So often I want to ask doctors questions about their work and how they chose to go into what specialty they are in. But unless I have a complete set of questions worked up in my head I won’t do it because I’m afraid of sounding stupid and embarrassing myself, which causes more guilt.

And the guilt renews itself each time I see a person associated with the situation.

This perpetuates the eating disorder.

This is what is holding back my life.

And I don’t know how to stop it.

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Know what it’s like to walk through an unfamiliar house at night?

You walk in the door, groping the wall and hoping the switch appears under your fingers. Perhaps it does, maybe it doesn’t and you have to take a few tentative steps in and try a little further along the wall, or a different wall entirely. Breathing lightly, stepping lightly, and straining for any glimpse of what lies in front of you. With a constant fear that your toe will crack into the couch or an errant shoe will break your balance.

The light comes on and one area is bathed in the warm comforting glow. You move confidently for a while until the room ends and you enter the hallway.

For a short time you can just slow down and see a bit using the excess light from the previous room.

Soon nothing but darkness is ahead of you and your hand again slides across the wall praying that there is a light switch. Straining to see, hoping that there is nothing unexpected in your path, and completely afraid that there will be.

Ahhh…a breath of relief. Saved again. You can continue to the end of the hallway and turn into the final room.

Standing in the door frame an eerie square of diffuse light lies across the carpet. And you realize that yet again, the light switch has to be found.

Maneuver around the edge of a dresser, slamming your hip into the corner. Swearing under your breath and searching, searching, searching for that damn switch.

Finally. Breathe in peace. You have reached your destination.

What does this have to do with anything? This week I saw the physician for the first time who will be coordinating my medical needs (in regards to the eating disorder) here in I—. She asked how often I got on the scale. (A lot….) Then she asked me why? What did the scale give me? There must be some reason I continue to do it again and again and again. When I get up, before I get in the shower, before I go to work, after I run, before I eat, etc.

I thought about it and realized that the scale is my light switch. I step on and it lets me see where I’m at. I can walk a little further without intense anxiety. But eventually the light runs out and I’m straining to see, starting to panic, stubbing my toes. So I step on the scale. And the light comes back on. But I never reach the intended room. There is always a different hallway, a new passageway, another room to find. And I find myself looking for the light switch again and again and wondering if the experience will ever stop.

I’m not sure what it helps me see though. Does it show me a life map? Not really. A personal health map? No. It just seems to be the only thing right now that alleviates the anxiety, if only temporarily.

The elusive light switch when what I really need is a flashlight.

Or the confidence to take on the dark.

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