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Posts Tagged ‘panic attack’

I was just reading Thought Catalog’s article, 7 things your future self would tell you now and I loved all 7 things, but one stuck out.

Let yourself let go of what keeps you all pretzeled up inside.

This past Friday at work I had my very first panic attack. An actual, chest tightening, couldn’t catch my breath, choking on sobs while calling my childhood best friend in a work bathroom stall, panic attack. I was at the point of being irrational to be honest, and it’s embarrassing to even admit it (as those I know who have had them, I could never understand why they couldn’t rationally calm down) and yet there are obviously enough things I’m internalizing that made me finally snap.

The combination of my Grandfather’s girlfriend passing, work stress, not getting to see the Husband and moving were some of the bigger things you’d think caused it. But really, they weren’t. They were probably the straw that broke the camel’s back.

And my childhood friend knew the real cause… “it’s not your job to be the parent.

I carry a lot of responsibility for my sisters and by default, for my parents in a way. It’s really hard to explain but somehow I’m in this role of trying to protect my parents. I have been since they got divorced when I was about 11. I love my sisters and parents dearly, I really and truly do. But.

Last week – I sent my father and step-father their gifts that the Husband and I picked up during our honeymoon and a sweet card. I made sure it would arrive on the Friday before Father’s Day since my Dad and his Husband are always punctual about getting us our birthday or whatever celebration cards. On Friday night, my sisters ask, what did you send Dad from all of us for Father’s day? Every year, birthdays, Christmas, Father’s day, I do usually send something from the 3 of us – some years it’s just a gift card – and other years it has been hours of work on a photo calendar of sorts – I always plan it and have to pay for it – but sign it from all of us. This year, I didn’t. And somehow, it became my fault that I hadn’t sent something from them and that my Dad wouldn’t be getting anything from them (late, if at all) because of it.

Add in that my Mother was trying to get to my Grandfather’s, my older sister was avoiding riding in a car with her for other reasons which was upsetting her, my younger wasn’t happy that I couldn’t pick her up and instead I asked her to come to me (so the Husband could sleep since he had a night shift that night and the extra hour it would take to get her would be worthwhile for him to sleep) and then she started saying it was a burden for her to come to me and then just wouldn’t come (via text to my Mom, older sister and myself) and I lost it. There’s so many more details to this, but it would take weeks to write.

The worst part is that I do all of this – the planning, the gifts from all of us, the rides, biting my tongue about so, so, so many things to not cause any additional stress or chaos on my parents – because I don’t want them to be hurt. I don’t want the fact that my two sisters can’t get it together to send cards on their own to hurt my Dad’s feelings. I don’t want my Mom to be burdened with chauffeuring around my other sister when she has a million other things going on. From high-school on, because both of my sisters were so difficult (in different ways) I had to try to be perfect and fly under the radar – get perfect grades, have good friends, work practically a full-time job, don’t ask for rides, don’t ask for money and don’t cause more stress to anyone.

I stress so much about making sure my parents aren’t burdened, or their feelings aren’t hurt, or they aren’t stressed . And right now, we are all pretending and overlooking some pretty serious things– and I’m taking that stress, eating it, and letting it grow inside. For all of that to finally boil, alongside those other stressors, like a friend or two who honestly make me listen to hours upon hours of their life happenings without a single question about mine – and I’m tired.

I’m tired of playing therapist. I’m tired of playing peace maker. I’m tired of playing parent. I’m tired of always listening and helping. I’m tired of biting my tongue and not asking for what I want or need. I’m tired of trying to protect everyone’s feelings and happiness over my own.

Or maybe it’s more important to say… I’m tired of it being unfair. I’m tired of playing therapist to those people who don’t ask or care about my life. I’m tired of playing parent – because I’m not one. I’m tired of helping take away other’s stress and worries at the cost of my own happiness. I’m tired of always trying to be my best self – to those that give me their worst.

I’m surrounding by so many other good, positive, and giving people – and it’s not that everyone has to be positive all the time – more so – they don’t have to be energy drainers. Being around these good people – gives me energy. Gives me happiness. Pushes me in the best possible way. Doesn’t burden me in the slightest. It’s a 2-way relationship with them. And so for a while I’m going to try something.

I’m going to spend my time with those people. I’m going to speak up to the others, who maybe even without meaning to, or because I have enabled them, drain me. I’m going to try to be my 28-year-old self, finding my way into adulthood, focusing on my job, my husband, having some fun, saying no to things I don’t want to do, and finally, no longer being the parent of a 30 and 24-year-old.

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