I was so nervous about the session with my parents. I don’t know why I thought the experience would be different. I project feelings on people. I thought that my parents would express that they feared for me and they they would be really disappointed in me for all that I have put them through.
I started the session with guidance from my therapist, I wanted to read the letter to them, because I truly wanted them to understand how overthinking can look and how it feels, and what causes me to go into my panic attacks. I wanted them to know how much of a mess my head is before I call them and need them to calm me down.
I thought I would be more emotional, but I was pretty calm, I explained certain situations that they remember, and I needed to get it out. I felt like a weight was lifted just from reading them the letter. After I got though the letter, my therapist guided us through some role playing situations, so I pretended I was in a panic and called them about picking up a prescriptions (because sometimes that is really hard, insurance either covers the drugs, or I learn my Dr still hasn’t refilled, and I am needing the medication to focus at work). we went though the typical responses I receive from my mom, and were able to pin point certain triggers that were not helpful and almost harmful when I was in a panic attack. We also established phrases that are incredibly helpful at calming me down and helping me.
I think I finally realized that verbiage is so so important when dealing with a panic attack. It’s difficult to say the right thing, it’s difficult to know where to start when the person struggling through the panic feels so overwhelming. We worked on some great words, and some great phrases to stick to.
” I’m here” “It’s OK” “I’m here” “just breathe and walk away” “where are you, can you go home and relax”
My family is so used to being problem solvers, but when I call my parents mid panic attack, I have already come up with all the solutions, I have already thought of all the scenarios, and I don’t need the “fix it” mentality. I need the “Comfort me” mentality.
Going through this experience has been so helpful to me. I don’t think I shared my feelings with the people I love because I thought it made me weak. But when I started to open up during this session, I was overwhelmed by the way my Dad reacted when he didn’t know parts of my story. He wanted to know when all these panic attacks started happening, and he wanted to know more about me. I didn’t know that he was there for me in that way. We have had our ups and downs, and I didn’t want to be disappointing but I realized that maybe I’m too hard on them, much like I’m too hard on myself.
They just want me to be happy, and they expressed how proud they were of me for handling this situation the way I did. They mentioned that of course getting a DUI is not something they were proud of, but that I handled myself so well in the face of the way the system has treated me. They were proud to know that I was so strong going through what I have been put through.
As much as this experience has been a blessing in disguise for my drinking, and learning how to cope with my emotions, it has actually brought me closer to my family. I think we connect on a deeper level and I am so grateful to have the parents I have.
You can make it through with a support system, and you can make it through what life throws at you, if you make yourself vulnerable to receiving help. I know it’s not always easy to ask, but sometimes, as soon as you start sharing you realize this weight start to lift. You don’t have to carry all the guilt around. You don’t have to guess what people think of you, you can ask and receive the truth. If you want to work on yourself, you will realize that others will want help you and to be a part of your life, they will offer support in a way you maybe didn’t realize you needed.
You are valuable. You are loved. You are something so important to so many people.
Just let yourself be vulnerable, and see how many genuine people are ready to be there for you