She said: “I see a lot of fears in you. You’re paralyzed by fear”
I agreed, even if it was a bit depressing hearing it from someone else, it must be so evident that I can’t keep it together these days.
But then she added: “But what are you afraid of?”
And this question left me a bit confused, because right then and there, on two feet, I couldn’t answer her. I wanted to answer “Everything!” but that’s not true. I am not afraid of everything.
So I went home that night and kept asking myself that same question: “What am I afraid of?” All this anxiety and fears need to have a reason, a source. I would think that makes sense. So why all these fears and, most importantly “what kind of fears are these?”
I like my therapist. I’ve only seen her a few times so far, but I was comfortable and liked her from our first session. And this means a lot coming from me, since I’ve seen more therapists that I care to count, and usually my first impressions have always been right on target.
I’ve seen a lot of therapists not because I’m completely out of my mind, but because I’ve always looked for that special one, and so I’ve seen many therapists only once. I’ve given some others the chance to persuade me that they didn’t suck as much as they looked like, but boy, some therapists out there are horrible! I had one that spent most of our time together on her laptop. I would talk and she would type, read emails, bounce on her fitness ball… I kept seeing her only because she was the only one available short notice in the area (no wonder!), and I figured seeing someone, anybody, was better than seeing no one. And to an extent I still agree with that.
Back to my current therapist, I really like her, and I am planning on holding on to her. What I like the most is that I always leave our sessions feeling a bit better and more hopeful about the future, but most importantly, I leave with one important question that makes me think. This week was the “what are you afraid of?”.
As soon as I left the session this question started taking over my brain and pushing everything else aside. I needed to focus on it and find an answer, and quickly, otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to do much else that night.
What am I afraid of?
Yes, dying is a good answer, but it’s not specific enough. Am I afraid of dying from a panic attack? No. That’s not it. I do know that the panic can’t really kill me.
But all these fears have been popping up together with all of my different symptoms, so my health and my panic are definitely married together, and not in a happy relationship.
So am I afraid for my health?
Considering all I have been through with my Lupus and stuff, I can’t discard the health card, I just need to figure out if this is the reason why I am panicking this time.
After much thought, about the health issues, and especially the reason why I am once again panicking now at this stage in my life, these are my conclusions.
I’ve started feeling a bit off since the birth of my daughter, back in 2009.
Up until I was still pregnant with her, I had no panic symptoms, and I wasn’t taking any pills for anxiety. But they say that the pregnancy hormones could have been playing in my favor, keeping me stable and calm. But still, I didn’t have many symptoms before I got pregnant either.
So, after her birth, I started feeling a little anxious in general. After months of sleepless nights, my health (of course) started acting up. I was so fatigued I couldn’t do much anymore, but take care of the baby.
I started worrying about my health and started seeing many doctors again, to check that everything was fine. I needed to be fine, because I have a baby to take care, you know?
I still didn’t panic, I was just very anxious.
But after 18 months of this tension… bam! The panic had to come back!
So this is what I think the answer to the question is:
I have been so fatigued, so burned out that my whole body is rebelling against me. After so much tension for so long, every little thing becomes a big thing. But mainly all of these physical symptoms are what did me in, the fatigue, the sleepiness, the dizziness, these are all symptoms that have been sticking around for too long to be ignored.
These symptoms have made me doubt once again about my health, and once the “failing health” card is played, it’s hard to turn back. So how is the fear connected to the health? Simple.
There are so many ways my health can fail me that’s not even possible to list them all here, but what’s worse is that there are so many things I can control, while, unfortunately, there are just as many that I can’t control. So while I can slowly increase my medication if my Lupus starts acting up, there is nothing I can do if my body decides to hit me with something I can’t predict nor react to quickly enough to save my life.
In a fewer words:
I am afraid of dying, by being killed by something that I can’t prevent nor stop in time
This is a big source (it might not be the only one) of my fear these days. I am afraid of dying because I have a baby that needs me and so I can’t die.
But I am not afraid of being hit by a bus, as much as I am afraid that my own health will fail me.
So what can kill you so quickly that you won’t have the time to get to the hospital? Take your pick:
Anaphylactic shock (a big one for me, I think I am allergic to everything these days, I can’t enjoy a good mean anymore!)
A blood clot
A bursting appendicitis
You can read more about my episodes with all of these “fast killers” all over this blog.
At least I’ve found an answer, and it might not be the only answer to the question, but at least it’s a start.
We’ll see what the next session will bring.