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Tuesday, March 22, 2011

It just takes practice...

My mother has anxiety disorder.

I know. Shocking.

However, compared to hers, my anxiety is Whoville in comparison to Horton. One might even say I have no disorder at all when our anxiety is seen side by side.

Interestingly, my mother's anxiety was only recently diagnosed when she had thousands of neurological tests done and spent time with a psychiatrist. My mother's psychiatrist believes that she focused her anxiety on me, became combative and aggressive because she felt no relief, which became a recipe for daily abuse in my life. It doesn't really matter to me. I'm not looking for answers anymore in this particular aspect of my life. Answers will not change what was nor will they make anything go away. There is a reason my mother abused me...and while I understand that, I don't really care.

I watched my mom have multiple panic attacks during the weekend. Then I found her Saturday afternoon, sitting in a chair looking unhappy. When I asked what was bothering her, she told me she was angry with herself because she had panic attacks. Tabitha was with me. She said, "I have them, too. So does Mom." Yes--but no one knew we had them, we could control them, we weren't destroyed by them.

I said, "Mom, there are times when I'm unable to manage panic attacks. In those moments I go home and wait. You can't do that right now. But there's nothing to be angry or ashamed or embarrassed about. You're having stress. This is how your body reacts. You're uncomfortable, but you're not inconveniencing anyone. Give yourself a moment to relax and the panic will subside at least a little bit."

So she did. And she felt better.

And then she thanked me...sort of.

She said it was difficult to have a daughter like me. Everything is easy for me. I'm very talented and smart. Many things she wished she could do, I do effortlessly. I don't even know how blessed I am. She's not smart. She's not good at things...

The words went on and on. Finally I said, "Mom, it's not true, you know. I work very hard at most of the things I do. Some things come easily, many do not. I just don't tell you when I'm not able to do something or when I'm having difficulty. And it's not just you--I don't talk about it to anyone, really. But I think it's time you stopped comparing yourself to people and started finding out who you are."

I know. Harsh.

I don't care.

The truth is, she sees me as a person who has lived a charmed life. Anything I want, she believes I get. She has no idea what I've been through--what she's contributed to. And she doesn't want to know.

There is a slight chance I'm feeling a bit bitter tonight.

Still, I'm glad she told me how she feels. I have no idea why.

This blog post has turned into a tirade about my mother. That was not my intention.

I will practice a piece of music for a year sometimes before it's ready to perform. I need all the details in place. I don't want memory lapses. I want the music to be a part of me. I have incredible patience as I work through the drudgery of learning every note, internalizing it, deciding how I wish to treat it. I do it because I know the outcome is worth it.

I'm learning...

There are many aspects of my life that still need practice; stress management and panic attacks are among those. PTSD frequently changes how it presents itself. I'm not always able to notice it before it builds into something difficult to deal with. That will take practice.

I'm not good at building and maintaining relationships. I can do it. I can initiate, foster, and nurture the relationship, but I'm not good at trusting other people, learning how to accept love, and allowing change within the relationship. I'm not good at remembering some things are temporary. Sometimes I'm not good at letting go. Just as often, I'm not good at holding on. All this will take practice.

I'm not good at becoming the person I truly am. I still cling to the belief that I'm invincible, incredibly strong and independent, and that I can do anything I wish. None of that is true; but each time I discover one more truth about myself I want to run away screaming to my bed, cover my head and sleep for the rest of my life. The truths require me to be honest about who I am. This will take practice.

And I'm not sure I want to practice this. It's not fun and I'm very tired.

It's possible I've chosen repertoire exceeding my ability.

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