– Shannon (my therapist)
I think I forgot to mention I get panic attacks on occasion. As I write this I’m coming down from a brief, but intense one, so this post may not be my best writing….or the most coherent.
Recently I obtained a permit to carry a concealed handgun. This fact is somewhat embarrassing for me to admit becuase I’m not a gun nut, I’m just a sex abuse survivor with a deep sense of fear and anxiety that has become quite acute of late. Also embarrassing for me to admit is that it makes me feel better to have my gun on me, even when I’m sitting in my own living room. Did I mention I live in a gated community? Needless to say, I feel ridiculous; but what am I to do? It reassures me, and makes me feel safe. I grew up around guns, and as an infantryman in the Army, I was an M-60 machine gunner (the machine gun Rambo fires one-handed in the movies). So yeah, I’m comfortable around guns and I know how to handle them in a safe manner. My wife, on the other hand, is quite afraid of guns.
This sets up a very difficult and emotionally-charged situation: I need a gun to feel safe and to not have a panic attack, while my wife feels unsafe around guns and is opposed to my carrying one. This dichotomy makes me feel cornered about having to make a decision between my sense of safety and hers . It also makes me feel like she’s not making an effort to understand where I’m coming from, when what I really need right now is her support. The real kicker is that I am reluctant to discuss my feelings with her because I am embarrassed, and I fear that she will think I’m just playing the sex-abuse-victim-card to get my way. Talk about a mind fuck. This is what set my panic attack off this evening and why I am writing this now.
I’m not sure what else to write at this point since this is an unresolved matter. I’ll write an update when I find a solution. Blech!