Shame Shame Shame
“Strong feelings of shame stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, causing a fight/flight/freeze reaction. We feel exposed and want to hide or react with rage, while feeling profoundly alienated from others and good parts of ourselves. We may not be able to think or talk clearly and be consumed with self-loathing, which is made worse because we’re unable to be rid of ourselves.”
Standing in the line-up at the bank became more difficult each time I went. The dialogue in my head went something like this- “Man, I should just leave. Everyone is looking at me…I am going to pass out…No! don’t give in! – stay put!! My face flushed, my legs were jelly. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest. I got dizzy. I rubbed my hand along the red velvet rope in the hopes it would keep me from falling over in the line up.
I gripped and held on to the grocery buggy with all my might. As I pushed my buggy down the isles of the grocery store, it felt like the isles were caving in around me. I felt like I was in a tunnel. My inner dialogue started…”What the heck is going on. Should I leave? People are looking at me, just leave!…No, stay and get the things.” I was young and I thought I was losing my mind.
During the night, the room would spin, I was afraid to fall asleep. I made sure all the windows were locked when I went to bed. I slept with one foot on the floor. I didn’t know that the reason I did that was to make me feel grounded.
What is wrong with me? Am I going crazy?
I layed in bed at 3 am, still awake as usual. I was watching infomercials because I couldn’t sleep. Lucinda Bassett came on and when she started to speak, it felt like she was speaking directly to me. I sat up. I was stunned. My mouth hanging open. The tears started to roll down my face. You mean I am not going crazy? There is a name for this? Lucinda Bassett began telling her story from “Panic to Power.” and the techniques she used to overcome anxiety disorder and regain control of her life. I hung onto every single word she said. I immediately went to Chapters in our local mall the next day and bought her books. I read her story and started to do her work book.
I was having PANIC attacks but didn’t know what they were. It finally had a name.