Facing fears. I have a lot of them. I was in my therapist’s office and she asked me what I was afraid of. There were too many things to name. I couldn’t even go there. I wanted to figure out what they were but my throat started to close up. I wanted to speak but it wasn’t possible. Well it was, but I was fearful of what I would say. I didn’t want to admit what I perceived as “crazy” or a “weakness.”
I am afraid of going crazy, losing my mind. But more specifically going crazy and not realizing that I am crazy. That lack of awareness terrifies me. I don’t want to be unaware of my “crazy.” There is a hypervigilance about me that (in my mind) prevents me from losing it. I am so aware of my sanity or absence thereof, that I believe that this prevents me from going crazy. But still there’s a part of me that believes that I will go crazy and I won’t be aware of it. And then what happens? If I don’t know that I am losing my mind, I can’t do anything to stop it.
I will be stuck falling down a rabbit hole and I won’t be able to save myself break my fall. It’s scary and I want to run from the fear. I don’t want to face the fear of going insane. There have been many times that I was convinced I was losing my mind and I couldn’t figure out what was real and what wasn’t. That in itself gives me anxiety. I don’t want to question everything.
She means well, my therapist, she wants me to stay still, not run away from what scares me. I don’t want to listen to her, because it feels like she’s telling me to eat healthy and exercise. That’s not fun! I want to eat cake and sit on the couch. The mental health equivalent of eating healthy and going to the gym is talking about your feelings and especially your fears. Not just talking about your fears, but actually looking at them and facing them head on. My therapist and I made a fear hierarchy list. We determined what I was the most afraid of and how to face that fear. Right now, one of the most pronounced fears I have is the fear of going crazy. I want to be aware of my surroundings, know what is happening, understand who I am and what I want.
We have limited control over things in our lives. When I started talking to my therapist about going crazy I realized (when confronting this fear) that I do have some control over it. I have insight and awareness into what I am feeling. If something doesn’t seem right, I have the ability to speak up for myself and talk to my treatment team. I can let them know that I need help. As a person living with anxiety, it’s important to be aware of my fears and to not let them run my life. I am working on that awareness. I am practicing standing still and not running away. I don’t have to fix the pain, but I can sit with it, feel it and remember that it will pass.