need a portable trap door


I’m not sure how I would name this experience, but I’m gleaning that it’s part of what is ill in me. It’s extremely disturbing when it happens.

Tonight at a social gathering I suddenly lost all confidence. The guy next to me kept finding the song lyrics and passing them to me and said how maybe it was time for me to ge my own binder. I got more and more shy to sing, and my inner critic began telling me how predictable and stupid my harmonies are. Then they all had guitars and I didn’t and they were talking about their instruments and I got lost. I started to feel really awkward, suddenly afraid to look anyone in the eye. I’d been there for a couple hours, and had begun the evening having good connections with people both talking and singing. I moved across the room and started stretching (as I often do). At some point it became evident that the others wanted me to sing and I just pretended I didn’t hear them or didn’t understand what they were saying. I said i was tired and needed to go home, and managed to say good bye to people; and if anyone had noticed that I seemed off, no one let on.
Driving home, I had an inner voice reassuring me that it was okay to show my illness sometimes; that enough people have enough of an inkling of my type of challenges these days that they would be able to figure out how to understand these phenomena in me. I then remembered how this experience felt before my diagnosis, when I was in school with a National leadership award funding me. In those moments, I remembered, the shame and panic and stress became more and more unbearable. That I was a fraud and people were eventually going to find me out. The same way I sometimes feel about my disability application. Some days I seem so emotionally stable and strong that I can’t remember these “awkward” moments that wreak havoc in my life and inspire my application. and in the insecurity and emptiness, I can’t remember the feeling of confidence and connection. Around and around …


Author: innerlight

A capricorn horse. Creative dreamer, over thinker. bpd, insecure attachment and any other labels for deep and chronic wounds and other gifts of brilliance that propel intense and eclectic lives and make for good art. We are high needs and high return, all the way, all the way. Surrender, integration, repair, rebuild, connect, create, evolve. Deeply.

7 thoughts on “need a portable trap door

  1. Hi,

    I am sorry you went through that,

    These kind of experiences are so very familiar to me. It is like I am two different people. The strong confident person during the better times and the weaker lacking in confidence guy at other times.

    When I am Mr. Well and Confident I feel like a fraud but when I am Mr. Weaker and not confident I often feel like a failure.

    But it is all about perspective isn’t it? The truth is that whilst I used to be Mr. Well and Confident I am no longer that person any more. I may manage to become him on the good days but he is not who I am in the main and that is what is important.

    If I see myself as Mr. Well and Confident I feel like a failure when I am not and a fraud when I am, but if I recognize and accept that actually I am not that person anymore instead of being disappointed whenI am not I can see those days when I am as being a God-send and a blessing and additionally it gives me a target to work towards – fully becoming that person once again.

    Hope that helps.
    Kind Regards

  2. Oh so sorry. I have had this happen so many times. It’s so draining. 😦 I know all those awful feelings that come later. I hope you don’t beat yourself up.

    • Well, I am just starting to be aware of these experiences, and “the awful feelings that come later.” Last night (2 days after the event), I found myself feeling distraught about my relationship with the people at the gathering. I wrote:
      “I want to apologize to Z, G and T for becoming so shy — explain why. I feel shut out and shamed by Z for being dependent on him for the song lyrics. Like I’m old news for him — T is new.
      2 days for me to understand what the experience was that was triggered:
      I’m a taker, a dependent, no fun. I don’t bring anything to the group; I only take. I’m pathetic. They’re all going to the folk festival, they all have sheet music. They all cook. None of them get sudden and inexplicable social phobia. They don’t understand. To them, I’m a loser. They are too happy for me.
      I’m going to be rejected or shamed. I’d better banish myself first, before they do.
      I’m horrified of feeling that shyness again. It is that uncomfortable. I have lost face. In my mind, they and their house are now linked with that awful feeling.
      I can never return there. I don’t fit in. I’ve been judged.”
      Oy vey.

      • It sounds just like what I went through, an awakening, but it was slow. A realization of behaviors, thinking, feelings. It is not a speedy process, or wasn’t for me.

        Well I spent a long time taking. You aren’t alone. I really did, and yes, I would say it was pathetic. But I had no realization that’s what I was doing. As soon as I began to see, I started changing. It just took me time. I hope you experience this, too. It helped not to beat myself up mentally for making mistakes. Hey, we unfortunately were not given good skills at the onset, so we have to be taught these things.

        I had the inexplicable social phobia, too. It did finally go away. Oh yes, know those feelings of losing face. The funny thing is, it happens a bunch of times, you make yourself go back to wherever it was and realize eventually that it doesn’t kill you, everyone goes through this. Where did I learn this – anger management class and DBT class. That is where I learned to screw up and get over it.

        I feel for you. I do. I know these feelings so well.

        You’re not a loser! You’re not hopeless, believe it. Try.

  3. It’s such a relief to put words to this aspect, and to hear from others who know what I’m talking about.
    Thanks for visiting and commenting, ZABM and BK.
    BK, you make a lot of sense, about accepting you are not “Mr. Well and Confident” any more, and I would venture to say that nor are you the person at the depths of the underbelly. My obsessive question is, “So who are we, then? How do we present ourselves?”

  4. I’m sorry that you experienced that…it’s a bummer and yes, it’s part of the illness. I had a similar experience on Holy Thursday (before Easter). I was to be the cantor for our mass with a neighboring church choir singing with me. I had not led music because of anxiety for several months. While I talked things over with the priest, the choir came, set up, and started practicing a bit. When I came back to practice the songs I was leading, I found that they had ‘bumped’ me from the spot I stand. I felt Oh, the negative voices started getting louder and louder. My voice tightened up, I couldn’t hit the high notes, my confidence plummeted, and the voices reinforced that I am a ‘terrible’ cantor and shouldn’t be up there. I barely made it through mass. I also like what Kevin had to say. Mrs Well and Confident does show up lots of the time these days. But when Mrs. Weaker comes to the forefront…yes, I feel like those confident times are fraudulent. It IS a matter of perspective. As my therapist reminds me, those negatives are just thoughts…don’t attach to them…they are FALSE!
    Hang in there, Underground.

    • Thanks for sharing your experience, Shelly. This is really a prevalent experience of this illness for me. It’s so comforting to hear from others who have ‘been there.’

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