Maybe it’s just me, but letting go has never been easy for me. In fact I feel abandoned, rejected and deep emotional pain when someone says to me, “you have to let go.” I feel like the option is worse than the thought of dying, but perhaps that why it is necessary.
Some of my friends tell me to be alone for a while, some of them tell me to enjoy myself and figure it out along the journey. It’s time for me to figure that out.
What do I want? And what’s the goals to getting what I want?
I dreamed for a long time of being an astronaut then I grew a fear of that concept when history class taught me about the space shuttle that exploded before take off. My new dream then became being a doctor. But with two kids and no time or money to spare, and a serious lack of interest in calculus, that seems like a lofty dream.
I guess I need to start dreaming again at 32. I need to write myself a new story with a new dream, new goals and new confidence.
Letting go of him, of the family I built and thought I would never lose, has been the worst pain I have experienced in a long time. I have to accept it and let the tears come when they do so I can believe in myself again. So I can wash away the pain and grow from here. Sadness scares me, loneliness sounds sad, and I never wanted either of those two emotions to become my own reality. I guess it just proves that I am capable of more than you ever imagined about myself! One day at a time.
Goals for now:
Goal number 1: I have to start driving! I have to do this so I can open all the doors I have closed in my life since I developed a fear of driving.
Goal number 2: become the best mom I could ever be! Give my boys all my love, affection and happiness. They are the priority, they are my only concern!
Goal number 3: quit smoking and begin transforming my health. No more junk, better eating habits, better fitness routines, better self love and a lot more balance in my life.
Goal number 4: more spirituality and more focus on being mentally healthy.
I think I owe it to myself to start this journey and begin to gain momentum with these goals so I can believe in myself again, instead of hiding from myself and the world. To begin, my first piece is to accept that my family is broken but it isn’t going to break me and my children. I hated the thought of being alone, being a single mom, but I am going to be okay if I focus on my true happiness and finding what’s next for myself.
Today is “World Suicide Prevention Day”. It’s a little ironic to me that it is one day before the tragic suicides of 9/11 when a group of men decided to commit suicide and take the lives of many innocent people as well. In this case of suicide, cultural and religious beliefs were at the core of the decision for these men to end their own lives.
I have personally struggled to understand suicide until I found myself forced to face the overwhelming feelings of wanting to end the pain (during some tough depressive episodes). I was surprised to learn that suicide isn’t isolated to just those who suffer from mental health disorders, which I had always believed was the only cause, however, suicide affects many people for many different reasons. Some of those reasons include guilt, drugs, loss and despair. Many don’t have support during these tough times, and I can’t help but feel sadness that the world has yet to develop an understanding of why someone would want to end their own life. While I feel blessed and lucky to have had a strong support system in my toughest and darkest moments, I hope to always raise awareness for those who aren’t as lucky.
What World Suicide Prevention Day Means to me
Suicide has been a huge part of my life for the better part of 20 years. I have both experienced the loss of people I loved and/or cared for to suicide, or have tried and failed to end my own life. Learning my breaking point was my best defense against suicidal thoughts, but like any defense, it isn’t bullet proof.
Today is an important day for me because I have struggled with suicidal thoughts and plans of how I would end it for many years following my traumatizing adolescent years. Trying to remind myself before and during these moments that I am not a burden to those I love, was and still is the hardest thing for me to do. Many times, I fought for my survival before I would reach a point of suicidal thoughts because of losing TJ.
When I was 15, TJ, the first man I ever fell in love with, took his own life by hanging himself from a swing set at a public park. The aftermath of his loss was something my brain tried to protect me from for many years. Eventually, the protection and survival mode my brain entered into in order to protect me, was no longer effective against the growing wound. This was the beginning of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from the trauma and guilt of surviving TJ’s Suicide.
I spent nearly 17 years blaming myself, feeling enormous grief, and struggling with the agony of knowing he was gone and I would not see him walking the Earth ever again. I imagine most 15 year old girls don’t picture losing their first love to suicide, and more over, most 15 year old girls are trying to navigate hormones. I never thought I would get through the pain of his loss, but truthfully I didn’t start to feel that pain until I was 17 and I got into a car accident that became the new topic my brain tried to protect me from.
Until very recently, when I spoke to TJ’s brother about what really led to his decision to commit suicide, I blamed myself for being the last one to speak to him before he made the choice that changed my life forever. All I can say is, I felt regret, relief, and a sense of bitterness toward myself for holding onto these feelings for as long as I did.
If you lost someone to suicide, no matter how old you are, don’t hide from the pain. Reach out for support, reach out for clarification, investigate what happened, and don’t be afraid to join support groups and tell people that you are hurting. I didn’t do this and instead I allowed myself the right to not feel anything for a long time. I suspect that a lot of my own suicidal thoughts stem from my lack of coping when I needed to cope most.
Learning to Understand Suicide
I didn’t know then (at 15) what I know now about suicide. What I learned through my own suicidal thoughts is that it doesn’t discriminate against how beautiful, popular, easy to get along with, caring, and honest a person might be. Suicide is an exit route to a seemingly inescapable depressive state. In this depressive state, the mind is at war with itself and has convinced you that if you live, the people whom you love, have to be burdened by your pain and hopelessness, and possibly they will begin to feel it as well. Furthermore, the people who try to love me will always have to work exceptionally hard to remind me that I am worthy and that I will be okay, while I fight an extensive war within myself.
The simple truth is people who commit suicide do so to offer freedom to the people they love. They believe by ending it all, the people they love will be saved from having to be weighed down forever by the pain of a depression that doesn’t belong to them. I felt that my depression was contagious, so I hid from my friends, family and even my children to avoid spreading the disease that plagued me.
Pain this deep doesn’t see another option when it is staring at the abyss of deep and endless depression. The depression becomes all consuming, sucking away your energy, positive thoughts, the love you feel for others as well as yourself, while removing all the reasons you have told yourself that make you feel worthy of living.
Depression doesn’t fight fair, in fact it fights you with your deepest fears, your worst memories, your hardest losses, and all the self conscious, self doubting, self judging parts of yourself. It reminds you constantly that you are worthless, ugly, unloved, unhappy, unappreciated, not accepted, disloyal, disappointing, and a huge burden to the people you love. It strips you down mercilessly until all you have left is the thought that you can’t go on any longer. This is usually the point when you are staring at a fork in the road with two tunnels. They are both dark, they are both relentless, they both yield no shining lights at the end. This is the tortuous decision you must make; To Live or To Die.
No one gets to choose for you and most of the time you are too confused in that moment to explain what you are facing. This is the beginning of the end.
THE WORST THINGS TO SAY AND WORST ADVICE TO GIVE WHEN SPEAKING TO SOMEONE WHO IS SUICIDAL
How you speak to someone who is struggling is not how you would speak to yourself. Not everyone speaks kindly to themselves and kindness, understanding and patience are the important things to remember when offering support.
I saw a meme that said:
“Treat everyone like they have a sign around their neck that says, ‘tell me why I am important.’ By doing this you will always be able to sell.”
Well if you take this advice and apply it to all your interactions in life, you will not ever contribute to someones pain. I know, easier said then done.
Actions and the Positive or Negative Consequences
Every action done or not done, creates a positive or negative consequence. The positive consequence may lead to saving someone’s life where the negative consequence may lead to an untimely death. You will never know what someone is thinking or feeling, whether they are struggling to cope, and if they are staggering through the day with low energy and a loss of interest in all the things they used to love or value.
During my suicidal times, most people say to me, “what about your children? What about your family? You have so much to live for and so many people who love you,” “You are so kind, beautiful, talented, and you are better than this.”
I have even heard people say, “snap out of it!,” “stop being dramatic,” “Your life seems so perfect,” “You are going to hurt so many people if you don’t try harder,” “Don’t leave me because I love you and it will kill me to see you gone,” and “what are you thinking? Did you even consider my feelings?”.
The reality is that when you are at the edge of a cliff, you have already made the choice that the ones you love are better off without you and the burdens you believe yourself to be (no matter how untrue it is). In your mind, you are staring into a great void. You have been fighting for days, weeks and years. The fight is mentally exhausting, trying to convince yourself that you are worthy, but you have failed at doing that. Physically exhausting, you have tried to force yourself to get up and shower, but you just can’t move your body because of the exhaustion, so you have failed again. Then it is emotionally draining, trying to face your worst moments, deepest fears, challenging phobias, and weaknesses, which you have failed to do and the punishment is to start over and suffer it again.
You fail so much and so often that the only way to escape is to end the pain, to stop the thoughts and be at peace. There is no, “get it together” switch inside the mind when you reach this conclusion. Being attacked by the mind is a war far greater than most people realize and the depths of attack is beyond mental comprehension.
Today, for World Suicide Prevention Day, check on someone who you feel or know is struggling. Take it from me, if someone would have checked on me during my hopelessness, I may have had a reason “why not” to resort to attempting suicide. Someone sharing that they care in my darkest hour may have given me a small glimmer of hope to get help before I found myself writing my final goodbyes.
A phone call, not a text, or a visit can save a life and show your support. Be someone’s hero so you never have to attend their funeral and feel the blame of not having done something to show them you care.
Too Late is Too Late!
Learn more about Suicide Prevention & How you can help:
Here are some songs to help you support someone in need of your help
One of the best songs I have heard about being on the support side of depression is by The Fray entitled, “How to Save a Life.” The lyrics say it best by showing how “if” he would have done something, the positive consequences would have saved a life. Here are the lyrics:
“And I would have stayed up with you all night, Had I known How to save a life” …. “Lay down a list of what is wrong, things you told him all along and pray to God he hears you, Pray to God he hears you” ….. “He will do one of two things, he will admit to everything or he’ll say he’s just not the same and you’ll begin to wonder why you came.”
Another great song that helps understand your place as a supporter and their place as a warrior is “I’ll Find You,” by Lacrae & Tori Kelly. Tori Kelly is the friend trying to help, Lacrae’s part is about the person who is struggling. Tori says,
“Fight a little longer my friend, it’s all worth it in the end, but when you have nobody to turn to, just hold on and I’ll find you.”
“I’m hanging on by a thread, and all I’m clinging to is prayers, and every breath is like a battle, I feel like I ain’t come prepared. And death’s knockin’ on the front door, pains creeping through the back, fears crawlin’ through the windows, waiting for em to attack. They say don’t get bitter, get better, I’m working on switching them letters, but tell God Imma need a whole lot of hope keeping it together. I’m smiling in everyone’s face, I’m crying whenever they leave the room, they don’t know the battle I face, they don’t understand what I’m going through …..”
The Depression Project created the “Traffic Lights of Depression” to help those struggling and their loved ones to get through tough times. They share incredible information, blogs and more about detecting whether or not someone you love is at risk for depression and what level they are using the Traffic Lights.
“Project Semicolon is an organization dedicated to the prevention of suicide. Our work is based on the foundation and belief that suicide is preventable and everyone has a role to play in preventing suicide. Through raising public awareness, educating communities, and equipping every person with the right tools, we know we can save lives.”
What Project Semicolon has to say about Suicide:
“Suicide is a complex issue involving numerous factors and should not be attributed to any one single cause. Not all people who die by suicide have been diagnosed with a mental illness and not all people with a mental illness attempt to end their lives by suicide.” – Continue reading
Andrew Solomon’s TED Talk, “Depression, the Secret We Share”
Andrew Solomon delivers a deeply profound truth during his TED Talk entitled, “Depression, the Secret We Share.” In this speech he says:
We know depression through metaphors. Emily Dickinson was able to convey it in language. Goya in an image. Half the purpose of art is to describe such iconic states. As for me, I had always thought myself tough, one of the people who could survive if I had been sent to a concentration camp.
He continues to say:
One of the things about depression is that you know it’s ridiculous. You know it’s ridiculous while your experiencing it. You know that most people manage to listen to their messages and eat lunch and organize themselves to take a shower and go out the front door and that it’s not a big deal, and yet you are none-the-less in its grip and you are unable to figure out any way around it.
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Hey everyone. I have been so stressed out with life lately that posting on Instagram has been about the only thing I do to keep up with my mental health network online and I know that isn’t enough. Just a crazy couple of months with the holidays and then school starting back up and football for my oldest son… I am starting to spin a little lol!! Plus I am back to work after taking some time off to get my mental and physical health in order. I was diagnosed with a condition called Dysautonomia (also called POTS) and that explains why I have been so off this last year.
Also, I have finally decided to get medicated for my bipolar disorder. Normally I enjoy the ups and downs, because they never get so bad and I get surges of creativity and enlightenment, but lately they have been super shitty. I get really down and it is physically draining, plus I have developed awful anxiety over absolutely nothing and the panic attacks are true hell. Before, I used to think it would pass and somehow it was what I was eating or not eating that was causing the panic attacks to come on stronger. I also thought maybe it was the benzos that the doctor put me on to manage the panic attacks that was making it worse. Needless to say, I quit the benzos, Valium to be exact, and started eating healthier and working out which seems to be helping quite a bit. The healthier lifestyle unfortunately isn’t helping the terrible bipolar episodes but I am going to see my new psychiatrist this Friday to try medications that will help manage the bipolar.
In addition, I started seeing a new therapist. She is my mom’s pick for me. Apparently she is well versed in dealing with substance abuse, bipolar, anxiety, depression, panic and PTSD. I am not convinced that therapy helps at this point because it hasn’t worked yet and I cannot remember a time I was not in therapy over the passed 10 or so years (that may be a slight exaggeration but I truly cannot remember how long it has been).
My boyfriend, as of lately, has me wondering if I am marriage material for him since we have been together for 4 years and he has yet to ask me to marry him. I am thinking it is because of my crazy manic or depressed episodes, but I have had boyfriends who were around a lot less time and asked for my hand in marriage so it blows my mind that I have been in this committed relationship for 4 going on 5 years and no ring or even talking about a ring. Is it wrong that I am questioning this? If we were younger, I could understand the need to wait, but I am 30 almost 31 with 2 kids. I live with this man and share everything with him, I feel like marriage conversations should have happened a million times already. This isn’t meant to throw him under the bus, I just feel like my 30’s are pushing me to want a more grown up relationship and I don’t feel bad about that. I am not in my teens or twenties and I feel weird calling a man my boyfriend like a bunch of youngens.
Lastly, I have been super stressed out about my health. I have been getting super shaky during the day around breakfast, lunch and dinner time because I am starving. I have never felt like that before and it is really messing me up. I used to be a soda drinker and now, I down water all day and night so this isn’t making much sense to me. Maybe I need to have some blood work done to check my hemoglobin or my thyroid checked. I don’t know much about this, I just know its affecting my ability to control my panic attacks. I usually can control them if it is only a panic attack but if it is more than anxiety, and my brain is thinking “you are hungry”, “you are shaking”, “your stomach is hurting”, “your muscles are hurting”, “your head is hurting”, or “you need a cigarette (which I haven’t smoked since November)”, then the panic attacks go from 0 to 60. I don’t like those panic attacks. They scare me because I can’t use my tools to calm them down, I have to do something like eat or go to the bathroom or stretch.
I always say to myself, “one day this will hopefully pass and you will be able to live without constant fear.” I have been saying that for 6 or more years. I am convinced that I will not get through this and that is bothersome to me. I have never been a “normal person” but at least before panic attacks, I could drive a car, be alone, go shopping alone, or just generally be okay in my own skin. I only vaguely remember what that was like. I do try my ass off to keep reminding myself that there is a way that this will get better and I have to have both faith and patience that whatever is meant to be, will be. Patience is harder than faith though. I can give this over to my higher power (Jesus for me) but I cannot seem to be patient. That is the part I need to release control of. I know that being on the proper medications will help a lot of anxiety for me, and the tools I learned will sort out the rest (hopefully).
Anyhow, I just wanted to post an update after being incognito for a little while. I will try to be more invested in blogging and keeping you all up to date on whats going on with me.
I chose to write about triggers today because I learned one of my triggers earlier this evening. Triggers when you have panic disorder, as some of you might already know, are usually people, places, events or memories that cause you to lose control of a panic attack. Its like an usual amount of stress that breaks free and causes you to lose control and forget all the things that you know about controlling a panic attack. Despite the fact that I have been dealing with panic disorder for over ten years, I still don’t know all my triggers and sometimes I do know the triggers but I used to think I could learn to live with it. For example, I knew coffee was a trigger and yet I continued to drink it, then one day I decided I would switch to decaf to see how I felt and I stopped having the early morning panic attacks that had become a familiar daily routine. So today I found another trigger that I have known subconsciously was always a trigger but I ignored my gut feeling (I will get back to the gut thing in a bit).
I used to always be okay with confrontation, chaos, and drama when I was younger because generally I was the one causing it. I would be the gossip, the a-hole, the person who was confronting or the confrontee and I was fine with it in my youth. I would sometimes get a little uncomfortable, but generally speaking, I was that chic who just said, “screw it, come and get it if you dare.” I am not proud of those moments, but I am who I am. As soon as I gave birth to my first child, I started to dread confrontation. I don’t want to fight with people or be in arguments or have to defend myself because now I am trying so hard to prove I am not that person anymore. The problem is that people have a way of holding your checkered past against you.
Anyways, the back story is that there is this girl who started more drama with me today. Before you begin to judge her, she is a young and very immature 23 year old. Since I have known her, we have either been best buds or worst enemies, there is never an in between with her. As you can imagine, right now, we are worst enemies.
So long story short, in the past she has lied to me, hurt me, betrayed me, uninvited me to her wedding and demanded that my boyfriend be in attendance, talked badly about me, started rumors about other people talking badly about me, and attempted on numerous occasions to break up my boyfriend and I. Despite how bad that all sounds, and believe me this is 100% not a joke, she has had a messed up life so I do often cut her some slack for that reason.
Well today, I saw a message in my “other” folder on Facebook and it was her. I tried to respond to her message and she had blocked me. I spoke to my boyfriend about it and he told me that I could message her on his account to check on her and make sure all was okay. I messaged her being very nice and trying to make amends for our last fight. The last fight was when she had given me her password to Facebook so I could get copies of messages with a girl who was harassing and cyber-bullying her. While I was getting these messages I noticed a message she sent to her sister about me. I decided to check it out, which I am aware is totally not cool but I let curiosity get the best of me. As soon as I opened the message, I wished I hadn’t.
Here I was helping her out when I had a million other things to do while she was telling her sister and a mutual friend that I was forcing her to throw her baby shower at my house, demanding my child be present (though she wanted no kids at the shower), and that her sister needs to tell me to “shut up” because I was “freaking out” about her wanting to cancel her baby shower. I was worried that she wouldn’t get everything she needed and didn’t want her to feel like she couldn’t celebrate the babies coming birth, but “freaking out” is a serious exaggeration. Also I would like to add that I spent time and money picking out gifts for her baby and felt very sad about not being able to give them to her.
For a long time, I didn’t say anything about the messages because I didn’t know how to say anything. I was snooping, I was wrong for that, but I saw my name and felt like I should know if she was bad mouthing me and guess what, SHE WAS! I was sitting here buying her baby all this stuff, helping her with a cyberbully, dealing with the investigator who was bought into the case to keep her from getting stressed out, and sitting on the phone with her while she was super upset about how much damage this girl was doing to her reputation. All the while, she was saying all this crap about me to other people and lord only knows what other things she was saying about me. Not all of this was a trigger for me, but it was the beginning of a lot of drama to come. The first trigger was wondering and worrying about what other horrible things (true or not) that she was saying about me to the people that are mutual in our lives.
So after a while, I finally decided to confront her nicely about the messages because on that night she was bad mouthing her sister so badly, it began to make me uncomfortable. I usually stay out of it and let her vent but the things she was saying were horrible! So I basically said, why do you talk crap about everyone including me, and sent her screenshots (again, not a fine moment of mine). I said, jokingly, stop being a butthole and talking about everyone. She started out saying (not sorry, not I didn’t mean it) but “Did my sister send that to you? How did you get that?”. Okay, even though I participated in being wrong here, and I own my blame in this situation 100%, I was like REALLY!! No sorries or I was having a bad day and didn’t mean it? Fine, thank you for showing me why everyone is telling me to not get too close to you. Thank you for showing me that no one, not even the one who has been there through thick and thin, means a damn thing to you.
So then she found a way to turn the conversation around and make it my fault that she wrote these comments and proceeded to say that those messages were private and you weren’t supposed to be snooping. That is a super power not many people possess to be able to find a way to make someone else the bad guy when they are WRONG! It is really interesting to me how someone can suddenly do something wrong and find a way to turn it around and make it your fault! To be fair, if she had said sorry for doing that but it is completely not okay for you to go through my private messages, fine I will apologize and we will move on, but sadly that wasn’t the case. And that is yet another trigger for me.
I began to feel really uncomfortable and panicky, questioning if I was the only person to blame for this suddenly combative conversation. It took me a few days of feeling terrible, blaming myself, then I spoke to my boyfriend, my mother, and other various people about it. Normally I try not to involve my boyfriend in every spat with people and it isn’t something that used to happen often to me when we first started dating, but he said, she was wrong, you called her on it and now she wants to try and make it your fault so she doesn’t have to be responsible for her actions. I felt relief when he agreed but I still felt bad for my part. I didn’t hate the girl, I felt like she was lost and lashing out on everyone because of the cyberbully debacle, so I just chose to give her space. Oddly enough, even though I was not at all being threatening or mean in the conversation, she got so uncomfortable she told me to “please do not contact me again”. For someone who was trying to make me the bad guy, she certainly succeeded in making herself look like the perfect victim.
After not speaking to her for a while, I got this message today from her, and she had blocked me so I couldn’t respond. My boyfriend said go ahead and use my account to message her back, so I did, in an attempt to smooth over the past dramas because he is part of his family. Of course when you combine a 30ish week pregnant woman with a very immature and, after what happened today, mean person the outcome is never good. Instead of making amends, I had to yet again defend myself to messages about how she was right and I was wrong, that I was “petty”, and tried to say I had searched her messages for my name (which is 100% not true, calling me immature for looking (in fairness thats slightly true), and blah blah blah, with a “please leave me alone” at the end. I said whatever, I guess this is what it is and didn’t bother to message her back, because people like her say a bunch of B.S then block you so you have no chance to defend yourself. It’s a huge trigger for me when someone bashes my emotions then walks away like a jerk so that they don’t have to bother hearing what you have to say. I normally don’t care unless it’s someone I felt close to at some point and I was super close with her.
After the conversation, she proceeded to call and text my boyfriend as soon as he got home, acting like she is tattling on me for using his account to contact her. I would never, NEVER, log into my boyfriends account without his permission. I am not snooping his stuff. I trust him and I would never deny him access to my Facebook or any other account, so we are pretty open about that stuff. She thought that by telling him (mind you she is a family member of his) that he would attack me and start a shit show. This girl loves to set off metaphorical “gossip” bombs and watch from a distance as things fall apart for her enemies. I’m not her only victim, in fact she spent a lot of time trying to convince me to leave my boyfriend (her own blood), and he saw the many messages she sent trying to convince me he was narcissistic amongst other things.
The phone call and subsequent text messages to my boyfriend made me so angry and set off some strong panic attacks, and that’s when I decided I can’t have anything to do with her. She is a toxic person who, in my experience, loves to hurt people. I strongly believe she is incapable of love or even respect of others. I have read a lot about mental health in preparation for this blog, as well as spoken to many psychologists, therapists, and psychiatrists, and then read many articles about psychosis and borderline personality disorder which both come to mind when I think about her at all. That is when I realized that I cannot be friendly with people who are this toxic anymore because it upsets me so much and triggers my panic attacks. I don’t blame or hold people responsible for their issues, I feel sorry for them, but I cannot keep trying and trying and getting hurt in a merry-go-round of similar instances and blatant disrespect.
So that’s it, no more people like this in my life as I have come to realize that this is a huge trigger for me. No more unstable, toxic, mean, and/or hurtful people. People who can so easily cast a person who cares about them aside as if they aren’t important are the most insensitive people in the world. It truly makes me wonder if they even notice how much pain they inflict, and if so, do they even care? I have far too many wonderful people in my life to let someone continuously hurt me. I have learned, as of recently, that no matter who the person is, be it family, close friends or coworkers, if someone makes me feel like I can’t control my anxiety, stress or panic level, they probably shouldn’t be in my life. Even if it was my own mother (which it isn’t), I would have to start putting my own mental health first and cut my communication with her for my own sanity.
When to Trust my Gut with Panic Disorder
As promised, the gut thing is an important part of my story as whole. See I never trust my gut anymore because of panic disorder. I always blame myself in every situation that is bad because I believe I am cursed because I have panic disorder. I know it’s not rational thinking to feel that way, but panic disorder is centered around irrational thinking, primarily irrational fear. So only recently, meaning the last two months, have I started to try to trust my gut again and to believe that sometimes I am capable of a healthy discomfort in a social or emotional situation. I strongly dislike being vulnerable because of panic attacks. I don’t like that I let people influence me to make poor choices, to feel discontent with myself and my relationship, and that it was easy for someone who enjoys toying with people to find a way to help me in destroying my self confidence. This is a new goal for me, to avoid people who are going to make me question my gut feelings and aim for people who will treat me like a person and not a pawn in some evil, twisted game they decide to play on a whim. Maybe this newfound strength will help me on my journey to breaking free from panic disorder.