Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Fear, Part II

NOTE: This is interesting - right after posting The Fear, I noticed a similarly titled post in my "unpublished posts" section. This entry was from four months ago, but it might as well have been from a year ago, or longer. To me it speaks to the recurrence of  this mindset. I don't know what that means, but it means something.

From four months ago, another Fear posting:

I sit at the traffic light at night and stare into the dark intersection ahead. The melancholy. The sense of listlessness. Why does it always come back? The depressions might not run as deep, but they are as wide and reliable. The dialogue remains the same. Why do I always come back to the same thinking?

My mind searches for reasons in my recent past, then throws up imaginary hands. There is no recent event or outside cause for this way of thinking, it is embedded in me all along. What is it that I'm really afraid of? It's none of the stuff I keep thinking it is. There must be something more going on under. What am I really afraid of?

I sit at the traffic light still, waiting for the light. I try to verbalize the first thing that comes into my mind, because that might be the thing.

"I'm afraid it's all for nothing," I say out loud. That felt right, but I try again.

"I'm afraid nothing I do will ever mean anything." Better. "I'm afraid it will all be for no reason. I'm afraid that I'll never be able to get anything done. I'm afraid I will die without my children really knowing me, because I was never able to communicate certain parts of myself."

I consider all of these things. So these are my biggest fears? They are. And what would happen if they were true? Would it be so bad?

I don't have the answers.

The Fear

I am overwhelmed and afraid that nothing is going to happen to me my entire life, and I won't get anything done, and then I'm going to die.

I had an anxiety attack in my bed last night thinking about this very thing. Well, "attack" might be too dramatic a term for it. But I felt it creeping up on me, felt my breathing start to increase. Felt the tension in my shoulders and that awful awareness unfurling slowly in my mind - so I curled up tight in the fetal position and frantically, tearfully, tried not to think too much about anything at all.

It's the fear of facing a whole span of nothing, a life devoid of meaning. Then there's the awareness that none of that even matters. Not after the fact anyway, it only matters during my experience of it; but if it doesn't matter after the fact, what difference does it make at all?

These are the thoughts that plague my mind. I command  myself to keep them from my children; don't let them see. The thoughts go away when I tell them to scat, but only retreat to the edges, and are not vanquished entirely. They creep back in when I am not looking.

I know they are useless and unhelpful. I'd like to say they are also untrue, but I don't think they are. I think they are just truths it's more convenient to forget, as they are not conducive to life.

I know this is depressing, but this is how I feel.

But I will continue on, trying not to think too deeply about any of it, trying to choose joy. I know I can choose joy. I try to keep the thoughts away. Maybe one day I won't be afraid of them - who can tell?