Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Staring fear in the face

I so love my friends. Sometimes, they are the only ones who can take you on the journey you need to go on to reach your destination.
I had lunch with a friend today who is having some tough times at the moment. What started out as a conversation about how was she was travelling, ended up providing me with a key light bulb moment.

She expressed how exhausted she was by the emotional, stressful and painful path she had been travelling for over a year now. I could empathise with her. Carrying around baggage, and feeling like you constantly have more and more piled onto you, eventually takes its toll. It's exhausting carrying all of that around. It's exhausting to spend so much energy on things you don't want to spend energy on. It's exhausting to constantly live in a state of anxiety.

She asked me how I was travelling with everything and how I was coping with the depression. I told her how valuable seeing the counsellor was and the process of working through my fear. She asked me if I had addressed my fears and I had to admit I hadn't. I had certainly progressed, but there was still fear lingering. I think there will be until I hold Sticky in my arms.

I told her that I had told my husband I'd be happy if Sticky arrives early. He said "That's just because you're impatient." I had no choice but to agree with him. But in the moment I told my friend that, I realised why I was impatient. 

The simple fact is, I am over the emotional pain this pregnancy has caused me. Most women will complain at this point in their pregnancy that they are too physically uncomfortable, over the sleeplessness and pains, over the swollen ankles and just want it to be over. Me? I'm over the emotional baggage I've now been carrying around for nearly 8 months.

While I've had my physical challenges through the pregnancy, the emotional challenge of constantly having to battle my fear has been the hardest element to deal with. It has been an unrelenting and unforgiving mental battle that I don't feel I've conquered. I've certainly had some wins, and maybe that's all I'm meant to get. Now, I'm really at the point where I want the mental anguish to stop. I want it to be out of my head. I want to have one day where I don't have a single fearful thought. 

As you read that, you might think well just stop thinking those thoughts. If only it was that easy. Have you ever played that game where someone says don't think about pink elephants? Guess what you think about? Trust me, I've done everything possible to try and not think fearful thoughts but when you've experienced what I have, it's impossible not to. All I can do is find better ways to respond to the fearful thoughts and not let them take over. Sometimes, I do win that battle!

I've said so many times that I know my life as a mother will forever be full of fear. There is always something that could go wrong. There is always the possibility that danger is lurking behind every corner. I've tried so hard to remember that and build the coping skills I need to deal with it. I know I have to keep working on it and I will dedicate myself to that because I don't want Sticky living her life in fear. As I go on that process, I realise how important days like today are - when your fear looks you straight in the eyes and reveals its true nature.  For its only when that happens, when you can stare it down, that you can truly start to overcome it. 

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