I was talking with colleagues the other day about a really embarrassing thing that happened to me. I am able to laugh about it now and It really highlights how a seemingly innocent experience can trigger something that ends in tears. In this scenario it was the really deep sobs where you can’t catch your breath, you think that you will never stop and certainly cannot get any words out through the stream of snot filled tears.
Seems pretty embarrassing to admit but I was sitting in a specialists waiting room and they forgot me. Yep, they hadn’t moved my file to the pile where the specialist knows you are there even though I had checked in. It was pretty annoying but my response was waaaay out of proportion compared to the inconvenience it caused. And let me tell you the specialist was completely shocked to have me sitting in their consulting room sobbing away, not able to speak – that was one very expensive cry!
I am not normally a cryer either – I get angry, go quiet or laugh when it is completely inappropriate instead of crying. I had just come off an intense couple of days running a bereavement program for children so my tank was a little empty, I was having a day to recoup but some emotion was certainly bubbling over. The clincher was that the receptionist accused me of not checking in and to put it nicely was bit of a bitch. In that moment, it was like the good little girl in me was given a complete dressing down, I was forgotten, I had no voice and was completely invisible. It touched a place in me that was vulnerable, hurt and completely saddened that no one noticed.
It made for a very interesting appointment, the specialist who normally seems abrupt, like he is rushing you though and forgets that you are a human being (but very good at what he does) sat with me til I could get the words out that his receptionist was mean to me. Yes, someone was mean to me!
People are abrupt all the time and doesn’t have an impact but on this particular day the button was well and truly pushed. In that moment, it wasn’t just about that person but all the people that had me feeling less than, the times I thought I had done the wrong thing and the lifetime of feeling invisible or unseen. I have done a lot of therapy aswell as being very self-reflective I know all about my abandonment issues, that feeling of ‘what about me’ but in this instant it all bubbled to the surface and was filled with a wave of emotion that couldn’t be tamed. Apart from being pretty embarrassing, it highlighted that our reactions in the present can be full of our past hurts, experiences and values. I think it is important to acknowledge that for ourselves and not be too hard on ourselves, and its is a good idea to seek some help to unpack that type of reaction to acknowledge that part of us that is still hurting and we can take steps to have a different relationship with it.
What did I do?
I went home and had a nap and recognised I am human, and that I needed to care for me just a little bit more for the rest of the day.