I've got a visitor counter that shows a lot of people checked in on this place in the mean time and probably wondered, "What happened?" Whether these visitors were loved ones looking for updates or people looking for hope, information, and direction, they left with nothing new. And I want, I need, to say why.
I've been dealing with a lot of fear lately. The fear that I've had to mourn the death of my old life. The fear that I've had to make peace with my new life. The fear that... if I continue this site, that I'm truly accepting that I am a chronically ill individual and that is part of my identity. Or, worse, that that is my identity.
Every time I thought about writing, a clenching twist of my gut kept me from even unfolding my laptop. I let my fear control me to the extent that I would not even write down my ideas or keep track of what made my life easier--I tried to forget my site and I am ashamed for it. I am ashamed because I was proud of what I have built up. More importantly, I was proud of the messages I have received that said, "You helped me."
Fear is what makes people helpless because it is the mechanism of helplessness. Fear is what keeps you from helping yourself and from helping others. It turns you selfish, it turns you withdrawn, and it turns you into someone that cannot fight against the onslaughts of life. Clearly, letting fear dictate my approach to my illness was going to set me up for failure.
So, tonight, when I was having an especially rough day with fears and anxieties, I did the opposite of what it commanded me to. I opened my site and wrote this post. Because I want everyone to know that sometimes the fear gets to me too. Sometimes I get overwhelmed by the pain and frustration and exhaustion and just want to check out and pretend I'm 'not sick'. But it solves nothing. I will make excuses and pretend I am taking the easy way out when really I feel more lost than ever. Giving into the fear only leaves me with fewer tools than when I fight to stay above it.
Fear and anxiety can work really hard to rationalize its way to stay in command of your head. But the best way to get out of its control and stay above it is to challenge it. Because as weak as it makes you feel, it really does not fare well against strength (ironic, no?).
My illness may be chronic, but I am not it. I will deal with my fears for it, one at a time, and my first step was to write this out. I'm back, and I am here to stay. I have some ideas to write, ideas to draw, and hopefully some things people will want to read.