I've only had one true panic attack in my life - several years ago in a moment of very real, very strange claustrophobia. Too many people too close to me in a crowded space. It was very scary.
Tonight, on my way to pick up my boys, I came very close to a second panic attack.
In every facet of my life, the ground keeps shifting. I can't find purchase anywhere. Every time I think I've figured it out, found a balance point, and stabilized the few things I do have control over, something else shifts again.
I've talked about the potential new jobs heading my way - although the cosmos are testing my patience, as always. There's always a reason to want a new job. Mine has almost everything to do with my current job. Today, yet another shift in the sand in an unstable work environment. The inmates run the asylum, and I watch bad decisions being made and am powerless to stop them. It's my job to know the answers to questions and offer my professional opinion to prevent bad decisions, and I am continuously ignored. That shouldn't matter much except that every bad decision made by an ineffective leadership brings more potential harm in some way to my coworkers and myself.
Today, a coworker lost his job two weeks before Christmas due to leadership politics. He probably shouldn't have been in his position, but mostly because he had never been properly trained. Because I am intimately knowledgeable about way too much shit, I saw the politics of it, and I can see how this will potentially affect the rest of us.
It was too much. There's nothing stable and solid in my life, there's nothing I can count on. I got into my car tonight and almost hyperventilated. For the record, I'm not the kind of person who panics or has anxiety.
I have to be a rock at work - too many people seem to look to me for that, and it's a role I fill well.
I have to be a rock for my children - it's my job. They aren't allowed to take care of me until I'm about 80 or so, and then I'll still probably think they're too young or don't know what they're doing.
I have to be a rock for myself - because the alternative is too much to contemplate.
And I have no anchor to keep me steady. The ground keeps shifting. Changes occur that don't make sense (at least in the short term), that are too traumatic, that hurt too much. There's nothing I can do to stop them, and it's not my place to stop it. But what do I cling to when I feel like I'm falling? What is there to keep me grounded?
I think the answer is supposed to be me. But I'm part of the shifting ground. My emotions are on a roller coaster. From one day to the next, I don't know where I stand. The things I would like to be able to count on, I can't.
These are the moments I feel lost and small. I feel like the world is spinning too fast and I can't catch up. The ground keeps shifting and there's nothing to anchor me.