“There is more than one prison. I think you carry yours wherever you go.”-Chirrut Imwe, Rogue One
If you were to tell me that I have taken Rogue One too seriously, I would probably sit you down with a nice cup of tea and try to explain myself. That could take hours, so I thought I would try to explain some of it on this blog. Here is one of my explanations.
The above quote got to me. Deeply. I have a friend, who over the past year has been with me through some trying times. She has been through my anxiety attacks, has encouraged me to find a therapist that works for me, and so much more. But she made a comment to me that, well, it hurt a little bit but mostly because it hit really close to home. She commented that she felt badly for me, that she couldn’t live with the kind of daily fear I have, with the crippling anxiety I carry. I really hadn’t seen my life as fearful or anxiety ridden until I looked at it with her eyes. I didn’t like what I saw, and it reminded me of this quote.
Please understand, I have had a good life so far, and I really want to continue having a good life. I have a good job, a home, friends. But I have put myself in a self-imposed prison.
I’m not going to sit her and tell you that I ever though of myself as fearless or adventurous. I am not in that much denial about who I am, but what I have realized lately, is that I have let myself become crippled by fear. Yes, I have type 1 diabetes, and have had it for 36 y ears, but I have let my fear of what could happen because of it prevent me from living. I am terrified of dating someone, because I have this idea that no one would want to be with someone who has to wear medical devices 24/7. I have denied myself the freedom to think that an ache or a pain is simply the by product of getting older; I always assume it is a catastoprophic medical diagnosis waiting to happen. The discovery of what I call ‘brain grape”, a 3 mm lump in my brain has sent me into the far reaching cells of my prison, where I am convinced that it just waiting to implode and kill me. Every time I get sent for a medical test, I panic, thinking this is the day that I find out I have lived so “wrongly” with this disease that it is now going to kill me. I have locked myself into a prison fearful of dying before my time.
But this is not my only cell in this prison. Yes, I lost my dad when I was in my early 20’s and suffered more family losses in the months following. To my over anxious mind though, I have convinced myself that anyone I love will just leave me anyone, so why bother to try. I have convinced myself that I am a great friend, but not “enough” to be loved by someone wholly. It is another aspect to my prison; this idea that I am not worthy enough for some guy to look at and, well, to love. The idea of opening myself up to another human being who could be important to me almost cripples me. The idea of dating strikes absolute terror. I hate it, but there it is. The thought that someone, besides my friends, could find me attractive enough, funny enough, smart enough, talented enough, just enough for them seems improbable, impossible, unreal. The fantasy of finding companionship, of love, is comforting; the reality is terrifying. This cell in my prison has become safe from emotional hurt, from loss. It protects my heart. Hell, I won’t even get a puppy or cat because I am scared of loving something that I will either leave or that will leave me.
My therapist is working with me on this prison, but it is awfully challenging to find all the keys for these locks. Yet.
I have started to look at my life, my accomplishments. He has asked me to look at the long list of inadequacies I place on myself, and to look for strengths in them. I am trying. Yes, I have been “alone” for most of my adult life, and yes, I am lonely, but I know how to take care of things. I completed my Masters, for Force sake, on my own (okay I did have friends cheering me on-thanks folks!) I have survived moving out, and living on my own with this disease that I hate since I was 25, and I am doing okay. I have cried and raged through strikes, and while I have received some help from my friends, I managed to stay afloat with no help from my family. I have a strength and an independence that I need to be proud of, but I have a vulnerable side that I need to let show more to others.
I will probably always carry some portion of this prison, I think we all have one. For now though, I am trying to release mine a little. It is starting with going to yoga class, playing piano again, and saying no to things. It is trying to ride the anxiety wave and to live in the now. It is me trying not to see the future and not imagining the most catastrophic things possible. It’s a start.
It is hope.