Post Soundtrack: What If by Coldplay
Fear is an extremely powerful force, even when you don't know it is at the heart of a problem.
For a while now, perhaps even longer than I'm aware, I've been struggling against something internal. It's been nagging at me, dogging my heels, echoing in my dreams, and spilling out the cracks and into the world in a rather negative manner. I've been doing my best to fight it, to keep control.
One aspect of that fight is that I don't want to hurt those I love just because I'm hurting inside. Despite my best efforts, it still has been creeping out and biting at my beloved ones. I despise and resent this, but am only partially successful at clamping down on the feelings to keep them inside. My husband says it's only leaked out in minor ways, but it doesn't feel like that to me. It sometimes feels like a raging beast, clawing me raw inside, trying to find its way out. I've stuffed it as deep and as far inside me as I can, but still its roar reaches my ears.
The other aspect of this is closely related to the first. That ferality is frightening and represents many things that are beyond my control. It is my helplessness, my sense of being useless, my frustration and resentment, and it is all very scary. To let it loose is to lose control, to erupt into chaos, to meltdown, and it isn't something I welcome or desire. That loss of control is the opposite of what I desperately want, and so I've fought to keep it caged.
Needless to say, that hasn't been terribly effective.
I wasn't even sure what was wrong. All I knew was that something down deep in the darkness of my soul was desperately trying to get out, trying to tell me something I didn't want to hear. And I knew I didn't really want to give it a chance to voice itself.
It's ironic, really, that when I'm faced with major upheaval, I shut down emotionally. I've always been quite in touch with my emotions, and those of others. It's part of who I am. But when something goes very wrong, it means that my emotions become a force of nature, so I shut them off to save myself, but more importantly, to save those near and dear to me. I fear for what havoc will be caused if I let it all out. Of course, closing my feelings in is never the proper or helpful long-term solution, but the defense mechanism does serve a purpose, for a time.
The usefulness of that mechanism does eventually fail, though. Today, I came to the end of that rope, and had the meltdown that apparently I very much needed, and came fcae to face with the beast inside. As I was held in the firm security of my beloved's arms, I circled with the beast, eyeing it as it snarled and paced and groaned. The more I talked about what I felt, the clearer the beast became, until I could finally give it a name.
Not just a specific fear, or a basic, straight-forward fear. No, this beast was much more complex and inexplicable than that. It was fear of living, of the torture of the unknowns of each day, each hour, each moment. It was the agony of never knowing, always anxious for what could be. It was the painful ache of knowing that nothing is a given, whether you mean for the good or for the bad. You might suppose fear of dying was involved, but much much less than you'd suppose. No, much more was the fear of how long I would have to endure these uncertainties. Just imagine... the rest of my life, forty or fifty years if I'm "lucky", with every day wondering when my disease will strike, and in what way, and to what degree. Wondering if this will be what kills me. Wondering when that might happen. Wondering what it will take from me. Wondering how long anything will last, whether it is painful or relieved. Every. Day. For fifty years. Living in fear.
This is the fear that runs bone-deep in me, that permeates everything, whether I will it to or not. Whether I'm aware of it or not. No wonder I'd been struggling so hard of late.
The fear is back in its cage now, for the time being. It will never go away, though it might fade to a shadow for a time. Even then, it will still whisper in the shadows of my heart, a subtle counterpoint to all the ups and downs of my daily life. Acknowledging it and allowing it out takes away some of the power it holds over me, though. It blunts those claws, and muffles those roars. Some of the restlessness and pressure eases by knowing my foe's name. But it never will leave me, I don't think. There will always be a taste of it, even in my calmest and most confident moments. As my husband pointed out, it is not a matter of being weak or cowardly. It is a part of human nature, to be afraid of trials you know are coming, but cannot predict.
So I will go on being human. I will hupomeno, endure. I will find strength I did not know I had, or borrow my husband's when I cannot find my own. I will learn to live with the fear, to let it loose when it threatens to take control, and to circumvent it in order to keep living and moving forward. Fear is powerful, but it will not rule me.