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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Afraid of Me - An Exorcise?

I don’t know when it happened, but I realized the other day that, at times, I am afraid of myself. Why am I afraid of me? I think this would qualify as one of Rosemary's "exorcises."

I suppose the best example of being afraid of myself is how I felt when I went back to work last year. I second-guessed myself at every turn, scared that I would make a mistake and be judged harshly for it. That’s just one of a list of examples of how my self worth was so wrapped up with Clint. He truly made me believe I was bulletproof.

It happened when I began to write in earnest after Clint died. I wrote and shredded piece after piece, thinking them unworthy, not good enough for anyone to want to read them. There was no Clint to buoy me. Any time I got in over my head (or I thought I was), he was my life vest, the force that kept me afloat. My self-confidence was long in returning.

And there are still times when I’m afraid of myself. It happened again when my job changed, and I began working inpatient hospice instead of home care. I come from an era of nursing when we always checked each other off when giving opioids. So, that’s what I did - and it backfired on me. The other nurses began to think I was unsure of myself, that I didn’t know what I was doing - and instead of talking to me, they told my manager about it. That’s when I got afraid of myself again.

Thank God for Nettie and Karen. They are sisters. Nettie is one of the best nurses on our team, and Karen is the best clinical tech I've ever worked with. They collectively took me under their wings, told me what the others were saying about me, and mapped out a plan for my success. Still I was afraid of myself, but after a couple of weeks of their tutelage, I began to soar, believe in myself. The result has been that I am confident in my work and getting better at it every day.

Self fear, or whatever a psychiatrist would call it, has not been limited to my employment and my writing. After my experience with the MF (Man Friend), I became unsure of myself in social situations. I, who have always been at ease with others, hated being the odd woman out and didn’t know what to do with myself when friends invited me to join them. So, I developed a kind of phobia about going out with couples. I wanted Clint back, still do. He was the other half of us.

But I made myself go, and I also began taking my 82 year old friend, Frances, out to dinner one night every week.

See a trend here? I am conquering my fears of myself. There’s probably a 12-step program for people like me. I’m in recovery! It could happen again and probably will, but I will recognize what’s happening and start a support group!

© cj Schlottman


Sue said...

I suspect we all have these feelings at times. It would seem to be human nature.

Realizing it and courageously working to overcome the tendency is what makes all of us become more of the people we want to be. Sounds like you are doing great with that!


Katie Gates said...

It's interesting. I don't read this so much as self-fear. What I perceive is conscientiousness! I think that sometimes the hurried world can make us feel wrong for being conscientious. And when a grounding force we once had is no longer there, that wrong feeling can morph into self-doubt.