Let’s Get Through the Day Without Running Out of the Room Like a Wild Animal!

I sat in my Psych class tonight, expecting another boring, noninteractive PowerPoint presentation when the concept of Learned Helplessness popped up on the glowing projector screen before me. The example was of an experiment where a dog is contained in a room with a floor that is electrified and would emit a slight shock to the dog no matter how he reacted. Therefore, the dog learned that nothing he did…bark, jump, or run around… would change his circumstance. He learned to give up and lie down on the floor, accepting the shocks as they came. I thought to myself, “I am that freakin’ dog!”

I have read about Learned Helplessness many times, but I never really attributed it to me or the thought processes that underlay my MI. Firstly, who really ever believes that they are helpless, and secondly, accepting that you fit the Learned Helplessness criteria has a heap of shame and embarrassment attached to it. After all, if I learned to be helpless, I must be weak, right? And why can I not unlearn it?!

Once the realization that I did indeed suffer from Learned Helplessness sank in (presumably passed down in grand tradition from previous generations of people who did not have access to help, were too ill to seek help, or who simply cared more about their pride than their affect on www.funiacs.comtheir loved ones- Yeah. I’m salty!), anxiety told me to get the heck outta the classroom! (In anxious situations, I am much more or a flight kinda gal as opposed to a fight kind of gal.) Of course, that was not a rational thought, and I was able to tell myself that in a way that my brain accepted. But I did realize that once we begin covering chapters of coursework that hit closer to home…can you say “Personality” or “Psychological Disorders” boys and girls?…I might be in for a rush of anxiety that might just win the battle of rational vs. irrational thought. Luckily, I have previously spoken to my professor about my varied diagnoses, so when I explained to her after class that I was fearful about my reaction for the upcoming work, she smiled and told me to just let her know if I needed to skip any certain classes. That was a big, anxiety disarming relief.

I will be considering rational, calm ways to handle any discomfort and anxiety that may be ahead of me in the classes to come, building upon Distress Tolerance skills and having them ready for use in my “Let’s Get Through the Day Without Running Out of the Room Like a Wild Animal” arsenal!

I have a long journey ahead but am miles from where I was before.

No matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK  (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime  24/7.

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5 thoughts on “Let’s Get Through the Day Without Running Out of the Room Like a Wild Animal!

  1. Hi. Just read your latest post. Been following your blog for a bit now. I really like it! Are you in school studying to be a therapist? I’ve been thinking of doing the same, but not sure it would ever work out. I’m a 52 year male with BPD, though most therapist usually say that “only women Have BPD” – Stigma within a stigma…

    • Hi Aaron!!! You just put a big smile on my face! I am so happy that you found my blog and like it. I often worry that I am writing into the Black Hole of the Internet. =)
      I am not perfectly sure what I want to be when I grow up, to be honest. I am finishing my Bachelors in my university’s Regents Bachelor of Arts program and hope to figure out the rest in time to pursue my Masters. Honestly, in some ways I’d love to work in the world of psychology, but I fear I would get into trouble for bopping patients on their heads when they didn’t take my awesome advice! LOL
      I personally am always for extending one’s education if the opportunity presents itself. I had been out of school for many years when I had the chance to go back and decided to do so literally, overnight!
      I am sorry that you have been treated unfairly due to your diagnosis. I cannot imagine how badly it must be to firstly deal with what we deal with and then be told by a (apparently not well educated) professional that only women have BPD. That is a double dose of stigma!
      Good luck in all you do, and thank you SO much for taking the time to read the thoughts that I jot down from time to time. I am sure you know how much that means to a fellow BPD-er.=)

  2. Kelley, it’s funny that you wrote this when you did, because the same day I had my first major anxiety episode in school too! During speech class, for no apparent reason, I had a total anxiety attack during my speech. I’ve given a bunch of them, and been perfectly fine, but the cosmic forces decided that yesterday was my day. I completely froze, couldn’t remember what I needed to say, got sweaty, chest seized up. It was terrible, almost threw me into an asthma attack. I just told my class what was going on, and battled through it. I finished the speech, but I was affected for the rest of the day. I was fighting not to cry, or (like you said) run out of the class when I sat down. I didn’t even pay attention to the speeches that followed mine, because the urge to leave class was so strong. It was the first time that I really felt like I might need to let the teacher know that I have a diagnosed MI.

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