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Lack of Accountability Leading to Panic Attacks??

ChanceAtLife35 posted 3/1/2021 14:55 PM

Last 3 weeks for me have been filled with panic attacks and emotional distress. I have a lot on my plate as far as professional/personal things going on, but i know i am feeling this way because i don't know how to stop (instead should process what i am feeling) and i take on too much (no one is telling me, i do this to distract). This then leads to me blaming others and everything else for how i feel and not taking accountability on my part. I remember when i started my 12 Step program i connected with a guy there who is now my sponsor and he said "Hey, let's exchange numbers and be accountability partners." I said "YES" not even thinking or completely knowing what that means. Through many conversations and the actions i have taken, i really don't take accountability for things i do especially when i hurt others. Paraphrasing someone it starts by "Finding out why i don't take accountability or why it's important for self growth" needs to be accomplished here in order to start doing it. Not taking accountability has lead to all sh**** things i have done and of course my A's.

Another example, i drink occasionally but the last 2 times i had wine, i became intoxicated. Normally, i can drink and be good the next day. However, i have been having panic attacks even last night and i felt so bummed out and overwhelmed on Friday to where i had glass after glass of wine. I even looked it up and it totally says not to drink alcohol when experiencing panic attacks. I dismissed it anyway. PROBLEM. I wanted to distract from what i was feeling anyway to the point to where i would just sit on the coach to where i felt complete boredom. I totally could have journaled and processed what was happening. I sleep a lot still and my sleeping and eating pattern are shot to poop too. Saturday morning i was late to my recovery meeting because my alarm didn't go off. I woke up and was hung over and felt like i had been hit by a truck. I hurried up and logged into the meeting and didn't turn my camera on or shared. I felt like crap and was not present at all. I needed to be there, i was afraid of things getting worse. I am emotionally distressed and i don't want to keep holding in what i am feeling. This is a safe place to me too and it helps to let things out. Ignoring my feelings is a mistake. I am in control and i can get through this. Hiding, lying, and not taking accountability, will set me back to square one.

As much as my inner critic wants to call me a screw up and reiterate that i can't do anything right, i am calling myself out every time and doing something about it. Tired of people calling me out otherwise. I am not alone in this and that every positive step i take can lead to progress. I just went into a random thought and asked where did i learn not taking accountability from? My Mother came to mind. She does it all the time, plays dumb, gets defensive, and turns it around on you or something else. Honestly, when it comes to family matters, if we feel she is causing a rift especially with my siblings and i, one of us usually the oldest one will call her out and she loses her mind. She did it a few Thanksgiving's ago and it was so disturbing how she responded and went into complete victim mode. No emotions, no accountability. Nothing. Sounds just like me. This is me. Damn. I can't think of anyone else i get this from. So i have to take responsibility and accountability on my part. I see how damaging it is what i am doing. At the end of the day, i am hurting myself the most and not allowing myself to face and confront the feelings that come with it.

I was having a conversation with my BS Friday, she asked a question about my experiences with women in the past, and i was well intoxicated and i went to a ramble of oh no! That didn't happen! blah blah, run and hide, lie, dismiss, go frantic, avoid, anything, but listen and answer the damn question where if i am honest i have already i am sure. Dammit. I don't want to cuss. But this sh** is for the birds. My self destruction and sabotage is at my expense. I was oh yes it did happen with this person. WTF. I am sick of this. My thoughts are not true. They are not true. I can't tell you how many untrue thoughts run through my brain. I know they can be turned off through medication, but i want to do it on my own. I have to try because i don't try at all or if i do it's not enough.

Maybe this is venting. I don't know, but i need to be here. I want to be here. I can't give up on myself.

JBWD posted 3/1/2021 15:58 PM

I hurried up and logged into the meeting (and didn't turn my camera on or shared.)

Consider the first part of that statement on its own- That looks like progress. The fact that you’re identifying things you want to change is a good first step. Many more steps to act upon, but the action of being brave enough to log in is telling and promising.

I know they can be turned off through medication, but i want to do it on my own.

Does anything in this statement jog any thoughts on Steps 1-3 for you?

gmc94 posted 3/1/2021 18:07 PM

CAL - I hope I can say this with pure compassion -and please understand this comes from the parent of someone with BPD (who is also an addict)....

First - thanks for venting and using SI as your safe space. I think that is AWESOME, and I wish my DD had that headspace & courage.

Second, to add to JBWD, saying you don't want the meds bc you want to "do it on your own" sounds to me like some possible self sabotage / setting yourself up for failure. Not trying to be snide, but (yeah, the "but", I know) if you had cancer would you avoid chemo bc you want to fix it on your own and then kick yourself bc the tumors aren't getting smaller?

And to also echo JBWD, identifying the feelings and connecting them to an unhealthy way of coping IS progress. Do you do the DBT feelings charts?

[This message edited by gmc94 at 6:08 PM, March 1st, 2021 (Monday)]

ChanceAtLife35 posted 3/1/2021 20:36 PM


Thank you for your insight. I told my sponsor what happened and he said pretty close to what you mentioned and that many others have came to meetings struggling like me. I have to confess that because of my mental and emotional state i my life is extremely unmanageable. The smallest tasks can be so difficult to complete and my emotions are always magnified. I feel like i am deteriorating inside and i am becoming paranoid because of it. I do believe in a higher power so i talk to the energy around me and myself. I am really concerned about my health. I am willing to turn myself over to here, the program, me, and my higher power. I do feel a connection and better when i talk to people that are safe. Lately, i just want to talk this stuff out because i have bottled it up for many years.


Thank you for sharing your insight and personal experience letting me know about your DD (hope for recovery). I know for sure i am self sabotaging. Its a constant cycle. I am in IC, so i will communicate what's going on with me and see what else i can do. I just feel against the fence all the time. This is treatable, i want to live and be real and authentic. I am a parent of 2 and they need me and i want to be there for them too. I have caused them a lot of damage by being who i am. I tried looking up the DBT Charts, but so much information came up. Would you be okay with guiding me there? I embrace any guidance you have.

JBWD posted 3/2/2021 16:12 PM

An interesting thought on self-sabotage that I have noticed in my past, spilling between work and my failed marriage:

I recognized that there were lots of times where I had every opportunity to align potential personal victories with team victories:
- At work, that was actively working to align department goals with the broader organizational goals. This would have required subjugating a personal sense of “right” in favor of seeing the broader team’s success as a mutual win.
- In marriage, my goals in trying to support my BW through personal struggles with anxiety and depression were also couched in terms of my success.

In both of these situations, I couldn’t grasp the notion of a win/win. If something was beneficial to another (organizational success by my department’s effort/enhanced well being for BW at the expense of sexual availability) it was bound to come at MY expense. And I willingly reinforced that belief because it allowed me to reserve righteous anger.

So I painted these situations and held tight to the expectation that things would go poorly for me and I should be pissed off. This was a hedge against accepting the uncertainty of unknown outcomes- It was worth more to me to be personally right than to accept the possibility of a pleasant surprise.

It’s an active process for me that keeps me reflecting on the true benefit in my actions and decisions. If I expect the outcome to make me angry or indignant, I stop and ask myself “why?” It takes a while, and CBT helps cement the process, if you need a potential resource.

leavingorbit posted 3/3/2021 11:52 AM

Hi, Chance. I'm sorry that you've been struggling lately. I was wondering, you say:

I am in IC, so i will communicate what's going on with me and see what else i can do.

What specialization is your IC versed in? Have you ever thought about finding a trauma-informed therapist?

Because this:

I have caused them a lot of damage by being who i am

is a big shame filled statement. It's about separating the action from the person. My healing started to move forward quite a bit when I started examining how we pathologize individuals vs behaviors. If you believe that these are things that you inherently ARE, instead of behaviors that were learned or caused, then how can you change?

ChanceAtLife35 posted 3/3/2021 13:20 PM


My psychologist specializes in a CBT, trauma, pretty much everything. Right now we are focusing on identifying and processing my feelings. We do CBT techniques to help with my negative thinking patterns. We touch on trauma too. Just depends on what's going on that leads to what she wants me to do to help. I literally got annoyed at myself when you said i made a shame statement. It's still with me. But i needed to be called out about. As soon as i finished reading your message, my sponsored called me and i told him what you said. He added i need to move forward from shame and respect what i love such as being a sister, a mother, my career, and so forth. Get my d*** foot off my neck.

I actually had to look up pathologize individuals vs behaviors and took a lot away from it. I really appreciate it. I am going to focus on my behavioral patterns and not dwell on what my thoughts are telling me. Just talking it out makes me feel hopeful and encouraging.

leavingorbit posted 3/3/2021 13:33 PM

Aw, Chance. I'm sorry. I probably could have said that I personally thought it could be a shame filled statement. I make a lot of declaratives, still - work for me to do.

Do you find calling out useful? I remember I really wanted my therapist to call me out, and she explained that she wasn't going to be doing that, because I did enough of it myself with my negative self talk. Shame was the last thing I needed.

What do you do to be kind to yourself? What's your step work like?

ChanceAtLife35 posted 3/3/2021 21:40 PM

First off, sorry for my typos in my posts.


No, It was definitely a shame spiral. Okay what happens with me in these moments is that i do call myself out. I have enough knowledge to know what shame is among other negative feelings. So all this time this has been happening, i was thinking over and over that it was shame i was experiencing. What i just realized earlier, is because don't trust myself enough, i doubt what's going on or basically dismiss it. I avoid it. I try to sit with it, meditate, but then i feel so distracted and lose focus. It just continues until i self-sabotage.

I do like being called out as long as the approach is not aggressive. My sponsor does it and so does my psychologist. I appreciate my sponsor's approach because he prepares me for it by telling me he is going to do it. I am learning more and more that talking through these feelings is one of the best things to do no matter how crazy or horrible it sounds. I feel so much better, it's like the negative thoughts turn off and i feel relieved and emotionally lighter.

What do i do to feel better? Um....Well...I like to listen to music, take a long shower, meditate, walk or ride my bike. I have added talking to people more which is what i as afraid to do before. I am currently on Step 8 which i have been stalled on since Aug 2020. Step 8 is "Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all." I have made my list, just not prepared to take such a major step of making amends to those i have hurt especially not being emotionally ready for it. I will be patient and make sure i do it right. I go to 2 meetings a week and talk to my sponsor daily.

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