8. Phobias, panic attacks.
Yes. Yes. Yes.
I shared earlier about my fear of sharks when going to bed as a teenager after reading the book Jaws. That was just one of my big fears, though not at all based in the realm of possibility. I had never been to the ocean.
Perhaps I was projecting my fear of sex offenders onto the killer shark. In which case, the fear made perfect sense and was a reasonable amount of fear.
I have a lot of phobias. All the ones that have been explained to me where in flashbacks. They were all caused by my mother. For a long time I thought that they were all caused by being ritually abused. After all many of my fears are ones that ritual abuse survivor sometimes share. But I subsequently learned the fears were in place in my life before the ritual abuse and due to specific abuse incidents by the mother.
I won’t go into detail about them. I get concerned about telling someone my fears and triggers and trusting them with that information. I trust survivors. I just don’t trust abusers and there are plenty of those out there.
My ex-boyfriend was like that, gathering information like a spy to only use against me later, pretending to be supportive, while trying to make me hate and doubt myself more and more, making me more vulnerable and easier for him to control and keep. He was a real mind abuser, just like my mother. Actually, exactly like my mother.
Yes on the panic attacks. I have memories of having panic attacks as a child. Sometimes I couldn’t breathe and would pass out, falling over onto the floor. Some people around me, who were loving, knew how to deal with them, how to distract me, and how to calm me down. I am forever thankful for that and for them.
I will say that I have gotten a lot of control over panic, although they do sometimes come up when someone thoughtlessly triggers me into an attack.
Being in the DBT, dialectical behavior therapy, program contained so many triggers that I had to stop the program, twice. The first class I had a panic attack and had to leave the room and go sit on the floor outside the meeting room until I could breathe normally and could stop crying and shaking.
This past week I was close to having one and tried really hard to use my coping skills to put the thoughts aside for a while. It helped. I still have a feeling of floundering on the sea and someone trying to pull me under. (A little too much like my actual life with my mother when I was very tiny and very defenseless. She often tried to pull me under the water when I was in the tub.) It feels better.