And I am so embarrassed, and so completely unnerved that hours later my stomach still hurts. There are days in my life when some small, little detail destroys everything that I am trying to build. For months I have been religious about my meds, for weeks I have been watching my mood go darker and taking steps to work through it; and last night, all that work went to hell. I feel like I have to start over and it is so discouraging.
Here is the long story shorten down. I have been looking for Christmas presents for my family; inexpensive but creative. So when my local paper started looking for a story about families and Black Friday shopping I thought, why not? I will submit a story idea. And they picked it…Right then and there I should have yelled stop.
First, I honestly thought this was going to be a quick and easy fluff piece. It turned out I was wrong. I thought that they would put me on the last section, a little blurb to tell how cute this was; but it turned out I was wrong. I didn’t think they would even pick the idea…I was wrong.
Instead it was an hour-long interview about the details of my Black Friday shopping; the reporter wanted to speak to members of my family, and they wanted to follow me around on Friday (while I was shopping at 6am in morning!!!) with a photographer. And that was the moment I panicked.
I am not the kind of person who likes to be in the center of attention. I am not the kind of person who would ever be comfortable standing in the middle of the store and having people look at me. I am not that girl, never will be.
I am not the type of girl who likes to talk about herself (and I write a blog?). I am not the type of person who ever was to be looked at and seen. I was to blend. I want to fade in the background. The problem is that this disease so very rarely allows for me to blend. People notice panic attacks; people notice strange behaviour.
On top of that, I have a little problem. When I am nervous or upset, I tend to exaggerate my stories. I don’t do it maliciously, I don’t do it to hurt anyone; it is a product of fear and nerves. The habit has actually caused some huge problems in my life, mainly because exaggerating is the same as lying. And I have been caught.
I work constantly, and faithfully, to never exaggerate or lie. I actually am so conscious of it that every time I open my mouth I think about it. When I am talking to my family or friends, coworkers or a reporter, I think hard about this. I watch what I am saying and will often be known to stop a story and simply end it abruptly if I think for a moment that I might start to exaggerate.
However, in that interview, I was so nervous and so upset that I can’t remember what I said. It was a tailor-made situation for me to lie and exaggerate in. It was a perfect venue for me to make something sound better than the reality. It was a situation I fear with everything I am. And I don’t remember what I said!
I can’t have a reporter calling my mother and asking questions, when I don’t even remember my own answers. I can’t count on my mother to play along when she is side-swiped with facts she doesn’t remember because they don’t exist. I can’t count that my sister would even be okay with a reporter asking her questions. And what if he writes the story, and I realize I did exaggerate. Then how am I going to give it as a Christmas gift?
So instead I flaked. I panicked. I absolutely lost my shit yesterday.
I cancelled the whole thing. And I feel bad about it; I still have a stomach ache. That poor reporter just wants to write a story and think about his family over the holidays. He doesn’t want to be running around this close to deadline and try to find another story. And this is his job I mucked with; his livelihood I decided to take in my hands and juggle.
But one of the people I like in this world said something nice to me, when I explained the situation to her. At the end of the day, I truly have to do things for myself. I have to think about my own mental health and take steps to protect it from the nerves and fear a situation such as this causes.
So the truth is, this is a lesson to be learned. The truth is it is really hard to decide to do something for yourself, despite the fact that there is an obligation to do for others. And the truth is that should make your stomach a little upset. It shouldn’t be an easy decision.