Fear, defined as;
An unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain, or harm
To be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or harmful.
When you hear someone talk about fear they often refer to being crippled by it, a debilitating sensation that renders them totally still. Stunned into inactivity.
I don’t fear much, up until recently I could list on one hand the things I fear.
Death. Now this I think is pretty common. Like, what happens when you take your final breath? Nobody can bloody tell me, because they’re dead! So the fact I can’t prepare for what comes next is annoying, not to mention the thought of having my body eaten by worms freaks me out! And the other option is to be cremated, but what happens if I magically come back to life and am stuck in the furnace?
Death is final and I think the finality is what scares me the most. I wont get a chance to do it again and I don’t know what is included in the here after. I hope I simply float up and sit on a cloud in the sky where I eat donuts and spend my days catching rays, but who actually knows? No one. And that’s my problem with death.
Moths. Those fuckers are dangerous and furry. There is nothing I fear more than one of those furry kamikaze mother fuckers trying to use my body as a landing pad for their disgusting little body. Not many people know this, but I worked as a cleaner for a 5 star hotel in Sydney. Every year we experienced the Bogon Moth Plague. This is where the winds change and moths can’t get out of the Sydney basin, so they borrow into every available space and stay there. My job was to vacuum the moths out of guest rooms before they checked in. These buggers are so determined to live, we would have to tie a shower cap over the vacuum head to stop them flying back out to be free and continue to raise terror on the residents of Sydney.
This was my personal hell and I am now deathly afraid of them touching me – I can look at them, but if one of them makes contact I want to unzip my skin and bust my skeleton out of the way. I HATE MOTHS! I fear their presence and instinctively end up holding my breath, praying to the heavens that they will avert course and stay away from me.
Disappointing people. It’s inevitable that we will, at some stage, disappoint people. This one may sound stupid, but there are a lucky few people in my life that I can not stand the thought of disappointing. These lucky few, are actually the people who, if I did disappoint them would probably be the most forgiving or loving – so this fear is almost unwarranted. Almost.
Hold on tight, this is going to get very personal – I have never, ever, not even once – said this out loud.
My dad. Disappointing my dad is my ultimate ruin. My dad is a quiet man, stoic, unwavering, solid, my rock. Even the thought of disappointing him in any way, freezes me in my place. Dad is not the type of person that would even raise his voice or say the words ‘I am disappointed in you’, so I acknowledge this is a ridiculous fear to have – but the place in my heart I hold for this man is so great, I never want to let him down. Dad and I aren’t fussy – we don’t do the sappy ‘I love you’s’ and all that jazz, we don’t need too, he knows how I feel and I know how he feels – but I couldn’t live if I knew at any point that I had let him down. So I don’t.
And that’s my list. Well at least, it was my list – until Crohn’s.
Crohn’s, like the herd of elephants running across the Sahara has thrown up the mother of all dust storms. The storm of fear.
Yesterday I had to sign a form. A simple piece of white paper that contained words, tick boxes, a place to sign, somewhere to write the date – just a simple form. A standard form, like all the other forms I have signed before.
And I was frozen in my seat. Stunned. Pen in hand. Crippled with fear.
I had to sign the form to get approval for the injection I need to help get my Crohn’s under control and despite all rational thought, I could not get my hand to move down towards the paper and sign my signature in the white box allocated accordingly.
I have been signing my name on forms for longer than I can remember. To the point where I don’t even need to think about what I am doing. I instinctively turn the paper at exactly the right angle, hold the pen in exactly the right position and effortlessly scroll it along the paper so my signature comes out perfectly. Simple.
And yesterday, I couldn’t do it. This form means more to me than I had realised.
All of a sudden I couldn’t stop the thought – what happens if this doesn’t work? Signing this form means acknowledging that my beacon of hope will become a reality and there is a potential it may not work. I know that the likelihood of success far outweighs the likelihood of failure – but when in the middle of my fear induced stun session all I can think is – what if this doesn’t work?
Will I be stuck in this holding pattern forever. Fear.
Will I be in pain on some level forever. Fear.
Will I be on this horrible steroid with its’s terrible side-effects forever. Fear
Stunned into inaction, pure gut churning fear. This is bigger than death, moths or disappointment. This is life. I can’t control the outcome. I can’t control if this will work or not. I can only hope.
And I am afraid. Hope can so quickly be taken away from you.
I hoped I would respond well to the medicine. I didn’t.
I hoped my colonoscopy would show improvement and healing. It didn’t.
I hoped my Crohn’s would get better and we wouldn’t need to apply for the injection. It didn’t.
And now, I hope that the injection will be the great solver of all issues and if it doesn’t do what I hope, then what? What happens then? I don’t know. And the fear of the unknown is what stops me from signing the form.
The great avoid-er came into play. I am the master of avoidance, when I need to be.
I avoid phone calls – mostly from the bank (guys, I am aware of my financial situation, please stop calling, I will continue to spend too much – let’s just agree to disagree on this one, okay?). I avoid food that is bad for me. I avoid people who annoy me. I avoid weighing in when I know I ate too much. I have been avoiding shit like an expert since the beginning of time.
But I can’t avoid the fear that coincides with the ride that Crohn’s has me on. I made a choice to put the form aside and wait – but I made a deal that I would allow myself 1 hour. That’s it. 1 hour of avoidance, before I pulled up my big girl panties (the fun pink ones covered in frills and flowers) and just got on with it.
And when that hour passed, I picked up that pen with the resolve of a toddler about to take their first steps and I signed that piece of paper with the same determination I have when avoiding those pesky phone calls from the bank.
I am choosing to hold onto that hope tighter than the fear. It’s still there and I doubt it will go away – but like those furry fuckers I sucked up in the vacuum, I tied a shower cap around the opening of my life vacuum to stop the fear crawling back out and touching me.
I resign myself to the fact that this is just one of the Crohn’s things I can’t control. And acceptance is easier than putting up a fight against a battle I will inevitably lose, I simply can’t know the unknown.
My list of fear may have grown, but so has my hope.