The Truth? I’m Terrified.

We all have moments in our lives where we put on a brave face and charge through the day. Maybe it’s a job interview, or a presentation, or even getting up the courage to ask a certain someone an important question. As a child you think you’ll get braver as you get older, and maybe some of us do, but many others of us don’t. Regardless, I realized the other day, while sitting in therapy yes, so glamorous that I’m terrified. But here’s the thing, I don’t go there emotionally, in other words, I don’t allow myself to feel the fear. Every day I put on that brave ‘job-interview-face’ and I mentally charge into the day. So I sat there in therapy, words spilling out of my mouth before my mind had the ability to analyze their meaning, and I realized, wow, I really am scared.

I really am scared and yet, I only realized it…why? Have you ever skipped stones across the surface of the water? When you get that perfect stone and it skips softly across the surface as you count the touches, watching it glide so gently and then finally, plop, it dips away. I realized I’ve been skipping stones, every day, just touching the surface of my fear,  and then in therapy the other day, plop, my stone dipped down. Which I think is okay, to acknowledge your fears. I didn’t ruminate, I didn’t stay, I just acknowledged them and kept going.

Acknowledging fears just seems to open this whole other can of worms, so here we are days later and I’m still pondering how much I want to delve into that particular fear, the fear of getting sicker. The reality is that studies have shown that there is an increase in risk for earlier mortality in patients with ME/CFS. The below quote from a 2016 study was published in this article. If you are looking for further content the full study is here.

The findings suggest patients in this sample are at a significantly increased risk of earlier all-cause (M = 55.9 years) and cardiovascular-related (M = 58.8 years) mortality, and they had a directionally lower mean age of death for suicide (M = 41.3 years) and cancer (M =66.3 years) compared to the overall U.S. population [M = 73.5 (all-cause), 77.7 (cardiovascular), 47.4 (suicide), and 71.1 (cancer) years of age].

I’ve read numerous studies indicating that the cardiovascular system and risks of cancer take big hits with this illness and I’m left asking myself questions like, are you actually getting sicker? Does worrying about it help? Does ignoring it help? Are you doing everything in your power to not get sicker? The answers convince me it’s a legitimate fear, worthy of acknowledging, but not one to think about day in and day out. It’s a motivating fear. Like when you are scared and you react quickly. It motivates me to take the absolute best care of myself that I possibly can, and to find doctors that also want to provide the best care they possibly can.

At the end of the day, at the end of this post, and after much reflection I’m going to say that I’m glad I’ve had this underlying fear, it feels like for now I’ve made peace with it.  Without the fear I don’t know that I would have cared for myself as I have. I don’t know that I would have learned and started practicing self-compassion, nor eaten the way I have been. My fear and my fighting spirit are working together as a team in the background of my mind to keep me as healthy as humanly possible right now. So the truth is, yes, I’m terrified, but it’s okay. Back to skipping stones across the water.

Thank you for stopping by to have a read. If you’ve been following along, my son finally has his doctor’s appointment next Monday, so I’ll update on Tuesday.

Here are a few more little paintings from the past week. Painting therapy has really been a huge part of chronic illness journey. It’s helped in ways I can’t begin to explain. Mostly it’s given me a platform to maintain some sort of contact with the world outside my bedroom and you just can’t imagine how important that is until it’s your reality. Hoping this finds you having the best day possible for YOU. 🌸

 

25 thoughts on “The Truth? I’m Terrified.

  1. Acknowledging fear is there, appreciating it & accepting it are hard things to do, so it sounds like you’ve made huge steps forward in this regard. I think fear is something I tend to swallow down for as long as I can, too, which obviously doesn’t help in the long run. Very thought-provoking post! And love paintings as always, the cowboy walnutty chap made me chuckle 🙂
    Caz x

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Yes, we need to face our fears & in so doing be kind to ourselves in the process. A fear face is no longer a fear but awesome awareness!

    As you know I have several Chronic health issues too but in the back of my mind (not a fear but rather a nagging concern) is the fact that my mother has Myleofibrosis (terminal condition) & Dad was recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease 😦 so those possibilities are very real…

    I don’t fear death though…already been through that one with my NDE! 🙂 Rather just want to live my best life, even in chronic health…writing a blog from my study…
    Love your paintings!
    Jennifer

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for sharing your journey. 🌸 I’m sorry to hear your parents have both been dealt such swift blows. And you too. My dad passed of cancer and my mom of heart failure and related causes. So I can relate a bit to the fear there. How could we not have them… My parents passed of the very weaknesses of the illness in my body. Can’t help but wonder about the genetic factor of it all. Sending you strength as you move through the chronic illness journey with your parents.

      Your attitude is admirable. Chronic illness warriors have this beautiful unspoken strength about them that I never saw before I was one of them.

      And thank you for the compliment, it’s all for fun, but it’s been a saving grace for me.

      Wishing you a day filled with your favorite tea, sweetened just to your liking ☕️🌸

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Thank you, sorry to hear you have lost both of your parents.
        Mum passed down the HLA B27+ antigen to me & I to my eldest daughter 😦 before we knew it existed. Which is linked to differing autoimmune conditions & us 3 have them. Not sure about all of the Grand babies yet, some haven’t got it :).
        Its a simple blood test….if you’re wondering ;).

        Yes, just had a lovely tea 🙂 & some fresh fruit wedges…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The only thing that has kept the tears at bay for me during the last couple weeks, is my being in constant motion. Keeping myself busy busy busy (which I know is not good for me) The other day a couple of those damn things escaped, and then the flood gates burst. I just collapsed into a chair and let them flow. Allowing yourself to FEEL your fears is SO uncomfortable, but if you don’t, how do you prevent them from becoming more weight for you to carry around? I did a verbal brain dump on my phone to hopefully “force” myself to come back to that. Then I picked myself up, dusted off, and continued moving. I haven’t “set a date” to come back to dealing with these feelings, but I do realize I need to

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re so absolutely right. And gosh how I wish you weren’t going through all this. It’s too much, but you’re tough as nails. Hoping that once the dust settles you will be able to rest and recover. Maybe in the Bahamas or something 😎🏖😉 I’m kidding but seriously hoping you can level this all out with some relaxation. And as far as setting a date, I wouldn’t worry about it, when they decide to come spilling out again, they just will. Sending you oodles of strength and big hugs 🌸😊

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I think everything you are feeling is completely normal. A lot of emotions come up for me whenever something changes with my health. When I went to the wheelchair full time, I felt like I needed to grieve the life I had and the future that I thought I would have. Over time, it got easier to face and with much less fear. You would be surprised what you can get through with the right support. No one knows what the future holds, but this much is true —- life is still good even when it’s hard. You seem very strong and I know you can get through this with your head held high.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for your kindness. I couldn’t agree more, life is still good. I often remind myself – what if today is as good as it gets and I smile because despite it all I’m here. And it really helps to know we aren’t alone in this journey. When you see someone else doing okay you tell yourself you can do okay too.

      Like

  5. I think you were brave for writing this, and I’m glad you have a therapist with whom you can openly discuss your feelings. I’m scared pretty much all the time – it’s not ideal, but it’s ok. I think it’s more what we do than how we feel that matters. Much love.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Siobhan. My therapist is a big blessing in my life. She lets me vent without judging. I think chronic illness and what it does to your life is just as traumatizing as many other things and I think she realizes that too.

      I agree with you, it is what we do. And thank gosh for crafting! I was watching a film last night about CFS and in the very end it said something like arts and crafts give you purpose, they help you feel like you are still contributing to the world. And I thought, yes, yes they definitely do. So we craft on as brave women, a new day, a new project, a new purpose. ❤️

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Emma (Not Just Tired)

    Ah yes, I do exactly the same thing in my counselling sessions. I go thinking what am I going to talk about, and then all this “stuff” comes pouring out! It’s amazing how much we hide our fears in day to day life, and as you describe it so well, put on our interview face. I think sometimes its scary to stop and pause and consider anything other than just putting your best foot forward – if you know what I mean. However, I do know that getting my fears out there in my counselling sessions, have helped me a lot. Maybe sometimes we need to in order to make some sort of peace with them. Though provoking post – thank you 😊

    Like

  7. Awesome and brave post! I am so glad I found you. Love your little squirrel painting, too. Fear can be a great steppingstone to gratitude for me and gratitude combats fear. I know, sounds circular and the question arises, “How do I jump into the circle?” When I don’t deal with my fears, when I keep busy so I don’t have to think about being fearful, so I don’t have to name my fears, much less feel them, I get into trouble. Sooner or later, those fears will get me: I can exhaust myself and get sick from overworking to run away from them, or I can internalize them and let them eat at me and that makes me sick and depressed. What I have to do is acknowledge the fear and look at where it’s coming from (is it a real fear about a real possibility or is a fear about my self-worth or about something that isn’t real, aka, baggage?) I then can ask, “What can I do about this?” Can I turn myself over to God for care, and trust that what is happening will reveal new growth for me, new opportunities to know myself better, or new ways to enjoy life in a different way? Every “bad” thing that has happened to me, from being raped to all my medical diagnoses, has had something good come out of it. I’ve met new people I never would have met (even virtual friends like you), I’ve discovered new strength or new skills or new resolve I never knew I had, I’ve gotten to know myself better, and I’ve found opportunities to help others (like you are doing with this blog). I sometimes get paralyzed by the reality of what my illnesses mean–potentially shorter lifespan, less quality of life, way more expenses–and then I make a list of what I’ve gained and the gains usually outweigh the fears. And as for the shorter lifespan thing, by driving during rush hour I dramatically up the risk to cutting my life short and yet I never think of that. Thanks for this great post and for reminding me how beneficial fear can be!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experiences! There’s so much wisdom in your words. Fears are a touchy thing, such a fine line between addressing them and not handing over the reins entirely. I like your attitude. So many chronically ill people I communicate with online have amazingly huge hearts and it’s just too bad we all don’t have the ability to make bigger presence out in the world. Being true to yourself is the biggest gift. Hoping the weekend treats you kindly.💙

      Liked by 1 person

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