Monday, April 29, 2013

Mental booby trap.

I experienced what I can only relate as an "emotional panic attack" this weekend.

This past Saturday, I traveled to the Triad Highland Games in Greensboro. Being my first ever Highland Games experience, you'd think I'd be ecstatic. Those of you that know me understand my fervor and excitement for my Scottish heritage. Scotland is like my home away from home - a dream destination that I hope to visit and/or move to one day.

"SlĂ inte mhath!"

Needless to say, the event did not go as well as I planned. Instead of being happy and excited, I was miserable. Looking around at all the history and culture that I mentally swim in almost daily... I just locked up. Oddly enough, I grew distant and became horrible company to keep. I resorted to being short and snippy with people. The sad part? I didn't even know I'd morphed into a vile monster until after the fact. In the midst of my ass-hat extravaganza, I was unaware that I'd channeled a pool of dread into my demeanor.

And there I was - pushing away people that cared for me and wallowing in my own anger.

Eventually, I fell out of my funk after watching border collies chase sheep for forty five minutes. As if in a stupor, my anger switched to guilt and I emotionally turned off. By the time I made it to lunch, I was an emotional wreck. Trying to hold myself together, I felt it bubbling up.

And by it, I mean my age-old sense of never being good enough for my father.

It just kind of spilled out of me while I was driving. I can't fully explain why I had this "emotional panic attack", but it felt like I wasn't deserving of enjoying my love for Scotland. The fact that I attempted to assimilate into the Scottish culture more directly sprung a mental booby trap. Better yet, a demon reared its head and said "No, you don't GET to be happy. You must SUFFER!"

"Suffer my boy! Mwahahahahahahahah!"

I realized at that moment that I'm thirty years old and not fully capable of letting myself be happy. Why? Because I'm still trying to satisfy a tyrant that lorded over me as a child. I must admit - it takes a POWERFUL man to control your life long after you've exiled them from it. Therein reflects the hold he has upon me. I can't let myself be happy because I was never given the command to do so. It sounds strange, I admit. If anything... I just feel guilty and ashamed for letting it get to me. Jared Manning - a passionate bastion of strength and independence... and I can't even allow myself a moment of joy. I punish and torment myself every day. Over what, though?

What did I do to deserve this hell?

The torment spilled over into Sunday. More of the same emotional distance was in order. I floated in and out of concentration, even when performing simple household tasks. I couldn't even cut carrots and make dinner without feeling empty and utterly pathetic.

Someone very dear to me levied a powerful judgment over the weekend. They suggested that I am self destructive when I reach for happiness.

Were they right?

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