August 19, 2014

I feel like a failure.

This is not to say that I am a failure. In fact, on most days I’m pretty happy with myself. But today, when I had a 30-minute-long panic attack that left my face bruised and my throat raw, was not one of those days.

The road out of illness is long and painful. I had made myself believe I was doing better. I really did think I was doing better. In fact, earlier in the summer when I had an unfortunate incident on a Greyhound bus, I prided myself on how calmly I handled everything. But I suppose I haven’t really processed that incident at all – just shoved it aside so I could deal with my depression and grief.

Because I have many panic attacks, and because I am prone to severe mood swings every month, and because I had already gotten used to being labeled “sensitive” and “weird” by the time I reached high school, I’ve grown to think of myself as somehow deficient as a person. How much of my condition is due to medical problems and how much is due to me just being weak? Opinions differ. Are my panic attacks real or are they just excuses to get me out of things I don’t want to do? Opinions differ on this, too.

On days like this, when I’ve let down so many people, when I’ve experienced so much abject terror or sadness packed into such a short time, I try to think of all the things I’ve successfully done.  I did not want to do many of these things. I was afraid of doing many of these things. But I did them.

So I’m not a total failure. I try very hard not to be. But it’s hard to remember that when I’m staring at my beat-up face in the mirror.

Setbacks are part and parcel of recovery, and as long as I can still have good days, I’ll take what I can get.


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