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Sometime in the last few years, I started experiencing panic attacks. When the first few occurred, I didn’t know that’s what they were. When they happen, my heart starts pounding, my hands subtly shake or tingle, my stomach feels like a nexus of complex knots, and I have the overwhelming urge to escape my own skin. The worst it ever was, I accidentally triggered it by taking migraine medication that contains caffeine and ended up in the ER. My hands turned into claws due to hyperventilation. The effects were scary to say the least and I ended up asking the doctor to explain the process so, if it happened again in the future, then I could rationally and logically walk myself through it and not panic further.

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As I look back and assess the various moments in my life that have caused me undue stress, I realize now that the majority of them revolve around my relationships – romantic or otherwise. It pains me when any of my relationships are strained. At the moment, I unfortunately have a few that are slightly unhinged, off kilter, or fading away. At this realization, I have an unsettling desire to either crumble or run. But I’m also angry. I think this comes from my inherent desire to have control. And when my relationships are falling apart, my control is lost twofold. I no longer have an understanding of where things are going, resulting in haywire emotions.

My current conflict is with myself and my habits. I have the irrational habit of scurrying away into a rabbit hole, which further feeds my misery of feeling disconnected, cut off, or forgotten. And thus feeding my irrational fear of unlove. I fear that a lack of communication (days of silence) indicates lack of interest. I assume that people distance themselves on purpose because they don’t want to spend time with me. And I’ve become accustomed to believing that everyone will eventually fade (or run) away. Ironically, I disassociate their distance from my own habit of running away. It dawned on me recently: Isn’t it more rational to realize that we all have our own lives and we get caught up with our own problems, joys, projects, etc? After all, my assumptions are predicated upon my own singular psychosis.

And now I’m almost certain that I push people away or hide in my own cave out of fear. I fear that if I continue to reach out, I will only be greeted with silence, which will further chain my heart. But I know that I am definitely met with darkness and silence if I force myself into solitude. I still cannot explain my urge for it. Perhaps I don’t want others to see me at my weakest and most vulnerable. For someone else to see my irrationality substantiated through my emotions would validate my lack of stability and sanity. That’s not the image I want others to have.

Logically, though, I am beginning to understand the brainwashing that I have undergone. My feelings ARE valid but are based in the false reality that emotions are irrational because they can be erratic. I have been conditioned to believe that my emotions make me crazy. The fact that I recognize this is only half the problem. Acknowledgement does not inherently lead to resolution. I know I must now find a way to rewire my brain not only to accept my emotions for what they are, but also disbelieve the assumptions that grow out of the false irrationality.

Despite logic and rational thought, I still cling to irrational fears. I fear that my emotions do make me crazy. I fear that my craziness does drive people away. And I fear that, eventually, my irrational fears, even if only in my own mind, will become real. In love, I fear that my irrationality will make it impossible for a true connection. But, sometimes, in quiet moments with myself, I wonder if my irrational emotions might just make real love that much more possible.

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