It became the new “normal” for me. The feeling of fear. Like a heavy weight on my chest that would squeeze so tight, I found it hard to breathe. From the moment I opened my eyes of a morning, I was frightened. Properly scared. There was no rationale behind it, it was just there. And so fear and I, we became both friends and enemies, entwined in a paradoxical way: I felt alone if I wasn’t afraid, like something was missing, and yet it debilitated me to the point I could not function. Sometimes the fear would dissipate into numbness. Sometimes it would escalate into blind, uncontrollable panic. But it was always there. This was my normal.
For years and years, I carried around the weight of 100 bricks. Every lift of my arms was painful because of the bricks. Bricks, bricks hanging off my body. Bricks squeezing around my heart…bricks everywhere. I was tired. So very tired from carrying the weight. It hurt, and I felt alone. I had to be strong for my family. I had to be strong for my speciial needs daughter. I had to be strong for my dying mother. I had to be strong for my grieving father. I had to be strong because of my pride. I had to be strong because of my faith. Oh, deluded, pathetic me!
People greeted me with the usual question: “How are you?”
And I would say, “I’m okay.” But really I wanted to say, “I don’t know what to do. I’m afraid. Afraid of nothing and everything at the same time.”
And then one day I did know. After a violet panic attack, I knew something had to change. The abnormal became my normal, and my new normal was destroying me.
Please click here to continue reading the remainder of Kelly's post over at her blog.
Paula C. Whitehouse
for A Scarlet Rope of Hope