Let me be, was all I wanted.
Be what I am, no matter how I am.
Henry Miller, “Stand Still Like The Hummingbird”
I hate that I’m scared because it makes me feel so weak when I know that I can be so strong.
But I’m scared now…It’s the thought that haunts me, and I think if I dare to voice them out-loud, maybe then I can understand the mix of emotions that has ironically left me feeling so numb.
It scares me that I can’t get up in the mornings, and when I do, it takes all of my energy to get dressed and go downstairs. And then, when I’ve made it that far, I try to push myself for what, rationally, I should be able to do, for what any healthy person should be able to do. And I think, I can let Riley out and make breakfast and pack lunch. I think, I can drive myself to work and answer the phones and work on my projects.
I think, I can do this.
But then I can’t. Sometimes, it seems to take everything I have just to get out of bed.
Sometimes, it takes every last bit of effort just to make it to the front door.
It scares me, this sense of unreality — like my mind is fighting with itself trying to distinguish the reality from the dream when everything seems like it’s passing in a haze. And when I’m at my worst, it all seems to slow down and the cobwebs get that much thicker, like I’m in the middle of waking from a long sleep, though I’ve been awake the whole time.
It scares me to think about what’s happening to me — that my body is attacking itself in physical ways, that the body can be so strong yet so vulnerable.
It’s this fragility of the mind, though, that scares me most.
I’m scared for how this is affecting every aspect of my life. I’m scared that I’m disappointing everyone around me, feeling like I’m failing those I love and respect when all I want to do is get back to the person who breathes in the joy of this life, who is motivated and focused and strives to succeed and make every moment full of love and laughter and memory.
I’m scared that I can’t do my job. I’m scared that I might lose my job.
I’m scared that I might see dreams I’ve worked so hard for slip away.
I’m scared that I can’t take proper care of Riley and Mikey, of my house, of myself.
I’m scared for my parents and my family and I hate myself for putting them through this — again. Through the doctors visits and lab tests and phone calls of concern…I hate how it comforts me to have them here through it all because I wish it didn’t, I wish we didn’t have to be here at all. Somehow, I wish that I could take away their worry; somehow, I wish I could show them how grateful I am for them, how much I love them, to take care of them, instead.
It scares me that I’m pushing my friends away, alienating them when all I want to do is pull them closer and have them understand. It scares me that I feel this urge to fall back into bad habits and withdraw further into myself, cutting myself off from the world in fear when all I long to do is be a part of it again — not just going to see a movie or a run to the grocery store because that’s sometimes all I can manage, but really a part of it.
It scares me to think of the possibility that I might always feel this way, to think that I had a taste of my old life, the old me, when suddenly it was all stripped away and drained as quickly as my energy. It scares me to think that I’ll never have anyone to share a life with — because how can you share a life with someone when you don’t really feel you’re living one? How can someone see the specialness of you when it’s masked by pain and pressure and an unrelenting fatigue?
I’m scared of this feeling of defeat because I thought that I had overcome it; I’m scared of this late-night moment of self-loathing and actually believing that I may deserve this, wondering what the lesson is and will I ever learn it?
I’m scared for what’s to come — not really knowing what’s to come.
I’m scared that nothing will happen, that nothing will change, that no answers will be given.
I can be strong. I know I can get better and I know we’re finding answers.
And I know I have people to help me through it — family and friends and colleagues and doctors who are on my side now. I know there are those I can lean on and depend on, those who know how hard it is for me to need them but remain close just the same.
But right now, in this late-night hour, I need to voice these fears that I’ll lock back deep in my heart once the sun rises.
Because right now, I’m scared.
And maybe, now, it’s that fear itself that haunts me, too.