Yep, that’s me! You’ve probably heard people describe someone as, “an accident waiting to happen.” Well, “a fall apart waiting to happen” is kind of the same thing. I’ve found myself feeling this way on occasion lately. You know, those days that all of us feel at some point, no matter how positive we try to be. Not one of us walking on this planet is totally immune to negative thoughts and feelings that attack our mind and emotions.
If you’ve read my blog, you may already know of the ongoing struggle that I’ve had with running injuries. I talked about the last MRI report in a post called, “Coping with Injury, a Photo Journal”. I did have a little fun with that post! It’s been about three months since then and I’m just starting to get back into a few easy workouts each week. My body sure doesn’t want to cooperate, though. Add the ongoing spine and sciatic nerve issues into that hip and hamstring mix, and right there you have what sounds like an old lady just complaining about all her ailments. I sooooo, never wanted it to be this way!
I’ve had some other minor health things creep in on top of those I’ve mentioned. It’s so frustrating when you go to your Primary Care Physician and they have to send you off to other specialists. I’ve got six different doctors I am seeing and a seventh I’m avoiding. Well, maybe I’m avoiding the sixth one, too. Regardless, I feel like I’ve been pieced and parted out in so many directions. The healthcare system must think I’m like a Gumby figure and each doctor is stretching a different body part in their direction. Frankly, even with all the stretching, I’m just not that flexible! And then you have all the specialist’s higher copays! I’ll stop right there with that discussion. The state of our healthcare system is not the hot topic than I wanted to get into today. Let’s not make Gumby have a melt down!
The point is, I’ve had a few days when I wake up feeling like all of these little irritations and inconveniences have been combined together into this huge glob. The ugly glob is present, just waiting to greet me when I open my eyes. It sits on my chest, its weight causing pressure, its toxic gases filling my lungs, its fog clouding my vision and infiltrating my thoughts. For whatever reason, this day, it’s difficult to shake off. I feel consumed by it. I stumble through the dark to the kitchen to make coffee. The shadow follows. Maybe the caffeine will help. I turn on the computer. Maybe there will be something positive and uplifting in my inbox or on Facebook. But before I can even have my first sip or sign in to anything, an all too familiar fear creeps in. It’s been awhile, but I’ve felt this before. Its fear of some impending doom, some catastrophe that’s just waiting to knock on my door. My cell phone rings with an unknown number. This is it that call I knew would come…
Tell me I’m not the only one! You’ve been there, too, haven’t you! It doesn’t happen as often anymore, but there was a long season in my life, when this was the way I felt most days. I would eventually be able to shake it off, but only to have the glob visit again the next day.
One of my son’s has become very interested in cycling. He joined a racing team and had his first race this past weekend. I was excited for him as we made the hour drive to the race location. The course was about a mile loop that participants had to circle many times. A good part of the course was out of our view, and the multicolored kit clad riders were going by so fast. I had a hard time seeing my son each time he made his way past our vantage point. Twice during the race, the announcer shouted over a speaker, “There’s been a crash on the course!” Can you guess where I’m going with this story? There it was that feeling of impending dome. Thankfully, my son was not involved in either of the crashes and there were no serious injuries, but those minutes spent waiting to see him go by were pretty intense for a mom.
I’m no psychologist able to say what causes a person to feel this way, but I can speak from my own experience. That fear of impending dome, the feelings of some foreboding evil hovering nearby, just waiting to swoop down and pounce on my head, that kind of fear was learned over time. The situations in life that were real, such as living with an abusive alcoholic and addict that did cause physical harm, actually being the victim at the end of a knife or sawed off shot gun, receiving those dreaded phone calls with bad news, living through an emergency medical situation with my body being the one transported in an ambulance or having to many visits to emergency rooms with people you love… When it happens enough, you learn fear. When you combine those real situations with the ones that you begin to imagine and then come to expect, well, there you’ve just created the ultimate Halloween cocktail! And let me tell you, it’s a fear filled, seductively strong drink!
Fear isn’t something to be messed with. Fear is destructive, even devastating. It will hold you down, even suffocating your very last breath. Fear keeps us in a dead, dry place. It keeps us from really living. It keeps us out of healthy relationships. We won’t take the risk to care and love. It holds us back in our careers; it keeps us from reaching our goals and even keeps us from daring to have any dreams to chase after. It keeps us small, keeps us invisible and unnoticed. Fear is an evil prison guard that keeps us locked in a very cold, damp and dark place.
So how do you get out of it, break free? Like I said, I’m no physiologist, so what works for me, might not be the same as what works for you. First of all, you have to be able to recognize whether the fear you feel is the healthy kind that keeps you safe or if it’s a fear that’s debilitating to you. If it’s hurting you, it needs to go! Recognizing that it’s an issue is a huge victory in itself. You have to recognize something is broken before you will attempt to fix it. Even taking a risk to consider it might be an issue takes courage. Be brave.
I have to break in for important practical advice right here. If you are in an unsafe place, like an abusive situation, get out now. I know it takes great courage to take this step. It may require knowledge of resources available to help. Know there is help and there are safe places to go. There are agencies that can help online. Find them where you are. You have to protect your physical body from harm before you can work on your emotional wellbeing. Please, be brave!
Once you recognize that fear is something that is hurting you, it’s not like you can just tell it to go away. You can only do that when it first makes an ugly appearance. Once you’ve allowed fear to move in and stay with you, you’ve fed it and allowed it to grow, it’s not so easy. The truth is we all need help with things like this. We were not meant to do this life alone. Other people were put on this earth so we wouldn’t have to be alone. I don’t care how independent you are. It might be fear that made you feel a need to be such an independent person and if that’s the case, fear has just succeeded l in keeping you in prison. I’m saying this, not to cause anyone to feel under attack, but as one who allowed the ugly life situations cause me to put on, “Miss Independent”, as a banner across my chest for a good number of years. I remember one occasion just before entering into my third marriage. I can still see myself standing outside on a dark driveway, screaming into the face of my soon to be spouse, “You’re not going to make me your slave, you’re not going to tell me what to do…!” It’s amazing that he still married me after that little explosion. My point is, don’t try to break free on your own. Positive, encouraging friends with wise advice, churches or professional counselors, they are all there for you to get help. Take the risk to join the human race again and connect with other people to help you. This too, takes courage. Be brave!
Since I wasn’t intending to write a book today, I’ll wrap this up. My almost last piece of advice would be this. When you first see that glob trying to make another appearance, whether it be a little thought, feeling or a little action to pass it a tasty morsel and feed it again, immediately stop yourself. You have to stop it dead in its tracks. Don’t entertain it, not even for a second. If you need help to do this, then make that call or send that text. Fill yourself with all the positive encouragement and support you can get your mind, eyes, ears and hands on. Your life is on the line here. All of your relationships, goals, and dreams have one thing in common. They need you to be healthy in order to have them to the full extent that they were meant to be had. It’s worth the effort and you are totally worth it! If you blew it yesterday, today is a new day. Be brave!
Lastly, I’m no longer going to think of myself as “a fall apart waiting to happen”. Yes, the health issues seem to continue, but I’m choosing to focus on the good. I have supportive friends and family. I know that I’m in the good hands of doctors who will do the best they can within our healthcare system; to do what’s right for me. Best of all and what brings me the biggest strength, I believe I’m in the good hands of a loving God who is big enough to take care of me in this broken world. Bad things do happen, but he works it for good on my behalf. It takes courage to let go of control and trust an unseen entity with the details of my life, but my experience tells me, God is really good at what he does. He’s always come through for me, every time! I can be strong and courageous because I’m not doing this alone. Yes, I will be brave!