Haven't written in a while. There's something in the way, a sort of hurdle to get over. I might as well write my way through it. It's the best way I have of getting thoughts out of the way so that I can move on and find something resembling peace of mind again.
Fear. That's the thing in the way. The thing that is always there, lurking behind some dark mental corner. I'm not always as euphoric as my latest posts might indicate. Oh, I have highs, a lot of them. Splendid times when I feel like I'm on top of the world, in control of my life, and generally an amazing person not undeserving of all the awesomeness in my life. At those times I cannot believe that times will ever be bad again because oh wow life is too great to waste on feeling miserable. And although experience tells me otherwise it sometimes utterly succeeds in convincing me that there will never come a low again, that those days are past. For good.
But the darkness always, always finds a way. In a month, a week, a day or a minute it finds a crack somewhere, and before I know it that familiar feeling of angst is all over me again and it is all I can do to try keeping my composure and not fall helplessly into panic. Most of the time I succeed, but it always takes virtually all of my energy. Breathing deeply, clinging to anything that might keep me from falling into despair. And although the memory of the oh-so-recent joy stands clear before me I cannot seem to grasp it. In between there is a bottomless abyss of self-doubt, self-loathing and regret. Not to mention fear. Fear that I am not good enough, fear that I don't really deserve to live the life I do and the affection of people I love. Fear that they will at any moment realise what a horrible person I really am and stop pretending to like me. Fear that they will find out that I have these ridiculous, irrational fears inside me and lock me up somewhere where I cannot hurt anybody.
It makes no sense, I know that perfectly well. But at those times my brain cannot really seem to understand it. And although experience tells me otherwise, joy and elation seem to be far out of reach. The only comfort is the theoretical knowledge that this is not a permanent state, that times will change for the better. Light, also, seems to always find its way. The darkness doesn't happen as often as it used to, either. If I take care of my body, giving it proper food, rest and exercise, it can be kept at bay for long periods at a time. I can be happy for days, weeks, or even months at a time. But it would seem I can never outrun it entirely. Once in a while I will find it there again, sitting in its familiar place on my shoulder with its claws messing up my thoughts while greedily draining away my positive emotions.
But you know what I have realised? I can't fight it off entirely, but I can learn to live with it. Battling it on my own terms. Whether the challenge of such a day consists in talking to a stranger, meeting up with a friend, or just getting out of bed at all, any little victory feels like a triumph on par with climbing a mountain. That's largely why I like physical mountain-climbing; it reminds me of the inner mountains I sometimes have to climb to accomplish things that to others might seem trivial. I do not always succeed, mind you, far from it. I have spent day upon miserable day doing nothing but staring at the wall, or disappearing into a book, while all the time feeling a little worse about being so useless.
But I can fight, and sometimes I win. I do things that I had never imagined I would dare, whether it be going scuba diving, travelling away from home for longer than I've ever done before, talking to strangers, open-heartedly telling the truth, or just facing another day when I'd rather hide from the whole world. I actively seek out things that I fear, and go at them with sword held high. And little by little, I conquer my fears. I'm still as scared as ever, but I'm getting used to facing things and bravely standing my ground against them.
“Because when you're scared, but you do it anyway, that's brave.”
— Neil Gaiman (Coraline)
I have my fears
But they do not have me
Love and fear (yes, at the same bloody time),