Dissolving the Hero Complex


So apparently I have panic attacks. I just found out about a month ago that when I go to bed and my heart starts to pound as I’m lying motionless in the dark, that’s a panic attack. And thank god, because I thought it was a symptom of some mysterious condition, or my heart was going to explode or something.

I was lying in bed tonight, and it happened; my heart started beating hard and slow. I was lying on my right side like I usually do, and I turned my head into the pillow until one half of my face was pressed into it. My head slid down the pillow until it touched the bed. My left eye batted open and shut, and suddenly I was 15 again. I can’t count the number of times I did that growing up, striking that position while my heart thundered in my chest and my left eye I stared at my mattress in the dark. How long has this been going on? Why would a 15-year-old have panic attacks? (hint: Read previous entries.)

Albeit I was thinking of something somewhat panic-inducing tonight as I laid there (in some police show I saw a while back, some officer saved some woman being attacked by some guy, blahblahblah, violence and hysteria). But it doesn’t take that kind of thought to make my heart go nuts.

So why does it happen?
I have a theory: I can’t do it all. I can’t save everyone, and I hate that.

I realized recently that my perfect world would be to have everyone just go limp to cut back on resistance while I try to move us all forward. I’m just realizing how crazy that sounds, but for a long time, that was the way I would have preferred things. Accepting the fact that I can’t control everyone, that there isn’t some magical combination of words and good looks that will place everyone I encounter firmly under my control is something I’m very slowly coming to terms with. I need to let people get away with the harmless little stuff people (and kids) do now and then. I think it’ll make me a better teacher, and an easier person to be around in the long run if I can keep making progress in this direction. I thought I was pretty laid back before, but I was content in my sense of control, however false.

So I’m learning to loosen-up. It’ll take a while, but I’m working on it. I’ve recognized the problem, and I feel good about that.

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About Toph Beifong

www.tigerlilytoph.com View all posts by Toph Beifong

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