Friday, March 1, 2013

Melissa said, "Fear sucks!"

I know my title for this post is not very eloquent, but really, that is what kept coming to mind when I was thinking about what I would write about.  Fear is something I have struggled with my whole life.  I have always been somewhat anxious and fearful even as a kid.  When I was as young as five or six I remember having a plan for what I would grab if our house caught on fire.  I also hated when my parents would leave because I was constantly scared something would happen to them.  I never spent the night anywhere because I had intense homesickness and was always terrified to be away from home. I don't know about other moms about there, but when I would cry over something trivial Mom would say "I will give you something to cry about." Well, I think God said, "so, you have been fearful your whole life over trivial things, now I am going to really give you something to fear."  This whole experience has brought about a lot of fears and I continue to struggle with them.

The most obvious fear that I first encountered was whether I would walk again.  When you start trying to take a step and your legs just crumple underneath you, you begin to doubt whether you will ever walk normally again.  The doctors kept telling me that I would walk again, but they could not tell me how long it would take.  Even though they kept reassuring me, I was still scared that I wouldn't.  I remember laying in my hospital bed and trying with all my might to move my feet to no avail.  When you can't control a part of your body, the doubts cannot help but creep in.

When I started actually getting up and taking some steps while in the hospital a whole new level of fear crept in, the fear of falling.  I would take some steps and my legs would just shake, I felt like I could not hold my weight.  During this time I could not imagine that I would ever be able to do this on my own.  I really wish I could properly articulate the feeling of your body betraying you, of your brain working so hard to move a part of your body, and the body just not cooperating.  Those days in the hospital were also so lonely.  My mom came every single day, but the nights were long and pain filled.  When you are stuck by yourself in a bed it is so easy to let every single worry and fear you have fill your mind.

I also had another fear that nagged at me, the fear of being forgotten.  I have continually struggled with this feeling of standing still while the rest of the world around me goes on.  During my time in the hospital and in the months after, friends from work moved out of state, changed positions, or quit and moved on.  Some of these changes happened without me even knowing about it until some time later.  Cat shows came and went without me being there.  Dear friends got married.  So many things just went by without me being a part of it.  I started to feel invisible.  I feared that I was just going to disappear from what used to be my life.  Some time later I went to a cat show and met some new Bengal breeders, there was a time when I knew personally or at least knew OF most of the Bengal breeders and most knew of me.  These breeders did not know who I was.  Wow, that hit me like a ton of bricks.  I feared my contribution to the breed I loved was gone.

Another fear that I struggled with, and still do to some some extent is the fear of being alone.  This was one of the oddest fears that cropped up because I have never minded being alone.  Since I was a little girl I have spent most of my time playing, reading, or doing some other activity alone  I have never had a lot of friends and my brother is so much older than me, so it was inevitable that I spent a lot of time by myself.  Something happened to me though when I was in the hospital.  Being alone was terrifying.  As I said, my mom came every day, but most days I sobbed when she left.  I hated laying in that room alone all night.  I made friends with a lot of my nurses and a couple of them would just come hang out in my room with me sometimes, but most nights were lonely. Being alone and in great pain is also not the best combination.  Those days I was in pain constantly.  The neuropathy in my legs was extremely painful and physical therapy also contributed to my pain.  I have never been so lonely in my entire life.  When I came home from the hospital and to my parents' house I couldn't really be alone much because I could not do much for myself.  When I got a bit more mobile being alone in the house scared me to death.  I was so afraid of falling, a fear that was compounded when I DID fall and break my ankle.  That event seemed to confirm all my fears that something bad would happen to me if I was alone.  My poor mother, I think she hated leaving to go anywhere then, and when she did leave me she would call to check on me constantly to make sure I was okay.

I still struggle with fear today.  The fear that I will will never have a "normal" life again plagues me.  I can walk now, but I still have pain.  The neuropathy is pretty much confined to my feet now, but it still bothers me and affects my ability to walk like a "normal" person.  I still really don't like to be alone.  I still live with my parents and the thought of how I will feel when I go home scares me.  While I long to be back with my husband, the thought of being in my house alone all day every day is so scary.  I fear that I will not be able to find a teaching job and get back to doing what I love.  I had trouble finding a job before, I feel like it is going to be that much harder now.  I feel like I have so much to share with my students now and I am scared that I will not get the chance.

I am working toward trying to overcome my fears.  2nd Timothy 1:7 says, "for God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind,"  so I know that I can have a "sound mind" and not be so afraid all the time, but it is definitely a work in progress.