Fear, what a simple word but what a toll it takes on me. Living with a chronic illness is a fearful experience because you never know what lies ahead. While healthy people may feel like this too, being sick, adds a whole layer of fear and anxiety to living out your life.
I was never afraid of the future when I was healthy. I am smart, competent, rational and very capable of taking care of myself. I had a great job, with a fantastic salary, lived in a NYC apartment and my choices and possibilities were endless. Then I got sick and my choices were very limited.
Until recently, I never realized how my fears were limiting me more than maybe they should be. But how do I know when my fears are rational and justified or when they are manufactured because I’m just scared.
In 2008, about a year before I became ill, I met someone and was in a committed relationship. During the length of my illness, we have been on again, off again more times than a 10 year old light bulb (good analogy because he’s an electrician..lol). We are connected by something that not many can see. He has helped me through so much and his love for me really hasn’t wavered. Yet my fears have continually forced me to run from this man. Each time this has happened, I blamed his actions and his treatment of me on my running away. While he may not have always handled the situations to my liking, was my response of shutting down justified.
How do I know if my fears are rational and I shouldn’t be in a relationship or if my fears are not rational and causing me to live a lonelier life than I need to.
What are my fears? There are many, some related to him and some related to general life situations.
The top fears that come to mind relating to him are:
- Do I have enough energy to put into a relationship?
- Do I want to conserve my energy for myself?
- Will I be able to keep him happy and content?
- Will I be able to take care of him if he becomes ill?
- Will he leave me if I get much sicker?
- Can I survive another loss if something happens to him?
I’m not really sure how to combat these fears. They are ingrained in me for so long now that they are part of me, but now that I finally recognized them maybe I can start working on minimizing my fear and anxiety.
I’m not sure I will be successful, but unless I try to work on myself, my fears may be more limiting than my illness itself.