December 5, 2010

Psychological Abscess

If I seem like a know-it-all, it's partially because I've been traumatized. My bruised ego tells me I have so much information, and no way to use it, so my hackles get raised when I hear a possible opening in which to assert some of my knowledge. Before I open my mouth it seems like a perfectly reasonable set of facts to share, and I know what I'm saying is correct...but once I'm speaking, I feel my heart racing, pounding, my face flush, my words start to get jumbled and less coherent. A physiological reaction to speaking about this content. As though I'm lying--a strong inhibitory response. I'm not lying, I know what I'm saying is correct, why is my body betraying me like this? I notice everyone turned in their seats to look at me, I am acutely aware of the professor's lack of reply, I feel like a shameful idiot. There I am, exposing my wound for all to see. Letting the stench, the nastiness of my past smear me before my peers. I'm confused, disappointed in myself, impatient with the healing process. My face is red, there are tears in the corners of my eyes, I feel like running away, but all I've done is try to share a tidbit of knowledge from my past with others. The situation for outsiders was probably awkward, though forgettable. In comparison, my internal monologue damningly runs, "I suck. I suck. I've screwed up everything wasting my breath on something that doesn't matter anyway. I suck." What happened to the confident, charming, well-spoken young lady of the day before? Why must vet school continue to haunt me, turn me into a blubbering fool? Why does my ego take a stab at standing up when it should just stay seated? Why are humans so frail? Why are humans so bad at forgiving other humans' indiscretions? Why are humans so bad at forgiving their own?

Like an abscess, this wound erupts without warning. Like an abscess, this wound is not pretty. Like an abscess, this wound needs air.

I apologize to witnesses of this eruption.

Studying for Physiology in McGrath, 2004.
Inner monologue, then; "Just focus on this right now. You have another to study for next week. And every week. You must not fail. [deep down: Even though you probably will]."

Inner monologue, then; "Can't see the forest for the chlorophyll? Draw this again. You are no good until and unless you have this down completely. What are you forgetting? Probably something obvious and important."

Inner monologue right now, posting these pictures, "Why are you submitting to your ego still? Why do you feel the necessity to post pictures from vet school? Because it's so hard to imagine the intensity. I feel like these pictures are a tiny glimpse of the intensity I felt there. Why is it so important for you to impress upon people how shitty it was for you? I don't want to behave like a moron without some excuse. And I guess this is my excuse. A sad excuse. Why can't you suck it up and put on a brave face? I feel like I do, most of the time. That's what I want to do all of the time, but sometimes I can't help that I'm not impervious, that I make mistakes, that I'm still dealing with this part of my history. I am mad at me, sad at me, exhausted with this subject but can't shake it."

If you're still reading, Uggg. Double apology.


Cari said...

Lee Gilbert joined the Marines once. She was in basics when she had to quit due to medical reasons. If you know anything about the military, you know that they break you down to build you back up. unfortunately for Lee, she left in the middle. She was broken down. She came home sad, confused, self-pitiful, and just not quite right. I think vet school was your basic training. They broke you down but you were never allowed to be rebuilt.

To use another metaphor, vet school was your abusive partner. You were made to feel worthless. VS made you feel less than and forced you to constantly strive for an ever moving target of perfection.

I know the feeling you're having, with the tears and flight over fight. I have it a lot when professors have that look like "you're just a lowly decorator, what do you know?" I want to stand up and scream "No, I'm a Designer! I really do good things and I'm worth listening to!"

I don't know what to tell you to make you feel better, but know that i'm feeling the same thing at the same time...*cue music* Somewhere, out there, beneath the same big sky...

Emily said...

(((((Hugs to you))))) You are a bright, competent and resilient person, Alyssum. And you will heal. The incident in class was likely far worse for you than for those that witnessed it (as you yourself suggest), but it is hard to revisit old trauma. To keep with the metaphor, though--abscesses must be lanced and drained in order to fully disappear. It will get better. And those of us who survived vet school find afterward that sometimes, it really wasn't all it was cracked up to be. You are in a far better place for your talents and gifts.

Tiffanie said...

i love you, Alyssum!!!!!
big strong SuperKate hug from here.
and then another.
and then a great kittycat petting session.
and then a walk on the beach with sunshine and fresh air.
i love you!!!