“No sympathy for the devil; keep that in mind. Buy the ticket, take the ride…and if it occasionally gets a little heavier than what you had in mind, well…maybe chalk it off to forced conscious expansion: Tune in, freak out, get beaten.” ~Hunter S. Thompson (Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas)
For the last 3 years, I have been consciously afraid. When I had my panic attack in February of 2008, everything changed. My mind decided to take a different path and totally threw me for a loop. I became afraid, or recognized this fear more than any other time in my life.
I am 38, and afraid I will never find love nor a true partner.
I am overweight and afraid I will never be fit and healthy again.
I am in debt and afraid I will never be able to live on my own.
I am lost and afraid I will never be found.
I love but afraid I will never be loved.
I am afraid I will be abandoned and dismissed.
I am afraid to excercise, to breath, to live.
I am afraid to love.
I am afraid to die.
“You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” ~Eleanor Roosevelt
(An excerpt from one of my favorite books, Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert)…
“So tonight I reach for my journal again. This is the first time I’ve done this since I came to Italy. What I write in my journal is that I am weak and full of fear. I explain that Depression and Loneliness have shown up, and I’m scared they will never leave. I say that I don’t want to take the drugs anymore, but I’m frightened I will have to. I am terrified that I will never really pull my life together.
In response, somewhere from within me, rises a now-familiar presence, offering me all the certainties I have always wished another person would say to me when I was troubled. This is what I find myself writing on the page:
I’m here. I love you. I don’t care if you need to stay up crying all night long. I will stay with you. If you need the medication again, go ahead and take it—I will love you through that, as well. If you don’t need the medication, I will love you, too. There’s nothing you can ever do to lose my love. I will protect you until you die, and after your death I will still protect you. I am stronger than Depression and Braver than Loneliness and nothing will ever exhaust me.
Tonight, this strange interior gesture of friendship—the lending of a hand from
me to myself when nobody else is around to offer solace—reminds me of something that happened to me once in New York City. I walked into an office building one afternoon in a hurry, dashed into the waiting elevator. As I rushed in, I caught an unexpected glance of myself in a security mirror’s reflection. In that moment, my brain did an odd thing—it fired off this split-second message: “Hey! You know her! That’s a friend of yours!” And I actually ran forward toward my own reflection with a smile, ready to welcome that girl whose name I had lost but whose face was so familiar. In a flash instant of course, I realized my mistake and laughed in embarrassment at my almost doglike confusion over how a mirror works. But for some reason that incident comes to mind again tonight during my sadness in Rome, and I find myself writing this comforting reminder at the bottom of the page.
Never forget that once upon a time, in an unguarded moment, you recognized yourself as a FRIEND…
I fell asleep holding my notebook pressed against my chest, open to this most recent assurance. In the morning when I wake up, I can still smell a faint trace of depression’s lingering smoke, but he himself is nowhere to be seen. Somewhere during the night, he got up and left. And his buddy loneliness beat it, too.”
“We should all start to live before we get too old. Fear is stupid. So are regrets.” ~Marilyn Monroe
“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.” ~Paulo Coelho (The Alchemist)
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” ~Frank Herbert (Dune)
“Expose yourself to your deepest fear; after that, fear has no power, and the fear of freedom shrinks and vanishes. You are free.” ~Jim Morrison
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” ~Franklin D. Roosevelt