Y’all, shit got real. And quick.
Not even sure if I’m fully “ok” enough to be writing this. But I had a panic attack a month ago and it was scary. And stupid. And warranted. And uncalled for. And paralyzing. AND paranoid.
Like I already have asthma, and we are experiencing a pandemic that attacks the lungs:
Tactics I’ve tried (and am still trying) to get over this all-consuming fear include:
- Mind Tricking (trying to trick myself into doing all the things my fear is telling me I’m too paralyzed to accomplish)
- The Tapping Solution (another form of meditation)
- Breathing Exercises
- Exercising (that one didn’t last long)
- Calling friends
- Calling family
- Writing down daily affirmations (at least 7 times, and then reciting those affirmations)
- Prayer. Prayer. Prayer.
- binge-watching inspirational YouTube speeches
- Meditation Music
- Movie Soundtrack Music
- Gospel Music
- Reading a Bible App
- Reading an actual Bible
- Listing what I’m grateful for and expanding on it daily
- Searching for Covid-19 recoveries
- Searching state-wide populations and comparing those numbers with that of Covid-19 infection and death rates.
- Probiotic overloads
- Trying to come to terms with death.
Now, after experiencing all of the above, I looked in the mirror and came to terms with what I was truly afraid of…Death for myself. And what my death means for all those who I leave behind.
So, HOW TO OVERCOME DEATH in ten minutes or less?
Come close now:
YOU JUST GET OVER IT.
YEAH, I KNOW. THIS IS NOT SOME WORLD-ALTERING ADVICE. BUT IT DOESN’T MAKE IT ANY LESS TRUE.
Good thing is, for once, you don’t have to do anything to “get over it.” There is no recipe. There is no insurance plan that you have to pay monthly for the fear to dissipate. You don’t need a pen a paper, or a kick-ass memory.
ALL YOU HAVE TO DO IS “LIVE”
AND ALL WE CAN DO OUT HERE IS SPECULATE AND TORTURE OURSELVES WITH TRYING TO AVOID AND EVADE IT.
PSA: THERE IS NOTHING TO FIGURE OUT. IF YOU TRY, YOU WILL FAIL.
AS FAR AS THE “WHEN” IS CONCERNED, THIS IS THE BEST WE CAN HOPE FOR:
Yes, death is scary. Foreign to all of us who have yet to experience it. BUT, it is much more comforting to know that death will greet us all when we are under the guise that it will happen when we least expect it. It is hard to fear what you don’t know is coming. And it is easier to ignore what you can’t control…that is, when it’s not blatantly affecting your every day living….yeah, I’m talking to you RONA!
So what am I afraid of now? The possibility of staring death down and attempting not to flinch. I don’t want to know when my time is up. I’d prefer it sneak up on me quick as a blink of an eye. Or at least with so much excitement around me that I wouldn’t even notice its approach.
And I must admit I’ve been selfish in my thoughts. I once hoped to die first, so as not to experience the grief that comes with losing my parents, my elders, my loved ones. I’ve wished recently that maybe if all my ‘human’ blessings (the large family and an abundance of friends) did not exist – I wouldn’t have so much to lose.
Yeah, I straight had the typical superhero mindset for a minute there. Cause let’s be honest, Lois Lane was as much of a weakness as Kryptonite, y’all:
I pray every day, thanking God for another day on this Earth. For another day to see my friends, to talk to my family, to argue (debate) with my husband, to be with my son. I thank God for another day to experience what I already know. Another day to enjoy the semblance of normalcy I’ve grown accustomed to. I thank God for another day of not knowing if this is “the end.” But most of all, I pray every day for God to push back the fear, to bring in the faith, and to help me chose hope. Because I am scared of the unknown. As are most of us.
We all know someone who has ventured into the unknown that we’ll all experience one day. And yet, we still fear its inevitability.
Why is that?
Because others have ‘done it already’ we know we will experience growth, age, food, school, jobs, sickness, love, joy. We drive cars, fly planes, jump out of those planes, ride rollercoasters, rock climb, and have BABIES!
And yet, because people ‘live to tell the tale’ and even give us advice, we do not fear those things as intently. Maybe we should. All of the things I’ve mentioned don’t necessarily always feel good. And if they do, they don’t feel good forever. Because nothing is forever. But as the cliche describes, that’s the only reason why it’s all so precious. Why life is so great. And why the end is so feared.
But we can’t have some without the rest. We can’t have a life without death.
And to be honest…if I had a choice:
- To have a large, beautiful, supporting, loving family. Or not.
- To have a beautiful baby boy in this wild, crazy, world. Or not.
- To face the fears of life, or hide from them.
- To cry whenever Celine Dion sings, or to never have heard her voice (or seen the Titanic).
- To spend hours bruising my thumbs playing childish video games, or to never have experienced the level of frustration that only Crash Bandicoot can bring.
- To feel all the feels of Avengers Infinity War & Endgame, or to never become a true fan of the Marvel Universe.
- To find myself singing OUT LOUD Avril Lavigne’s “Sk8r Boi,” as it played over the loudspeaker at some random grocery store, and remember being a hopelessly emotional teenager again.
- To think of my Great Grandma Mamie (the last, ‘recent,’ most intimate relationship I’ve ever had with someone who has passed away), and how she used to watch me, wash me, feed me, yell at me, laugh at me, and laugh with me. Or to never have had that relationship?
- To love fiercely, or not to have loved at all.
- To die without ever having really LIVED?
I choose joy. I choose every painful experience of this human existence. And every glorious moment that came along with it.
And so I shall continue to pray for fearlessness. I shall continue to pray for strength. So that I may endure whatever comes. Whatever God has in store for us all.
In regards to this “season of fear” and “period of paranoia,” we are all currently in…
I do hope to make it through this hardship; through this pandemic. And I will continue to live as long as God gives me leave to do so. I will continue to raise my son in this life, and hope that he gets to experience all the joys I have lived through and then some. I will continue to hope that mankind makes it through this and lives to DIE another day. But I will also pray for all of us to have the strength to stare our inevitability in the face when it nears, and for those we leave behind to be able to endure the grief that is sure to come when that day arrives.
I will pray that our God is gentle and that our ends are peaceful. And that those who are left behind continue on until their day comes.
Because it’s worth it, damn it! Life is worth living. Even with the fear. We will overcome this. This too shall pass. DO whatever you must to get through it. To survive it. But also pray for the strength to face what comes next.
I know this wasn’t as profound or entertaining as I originally planned, but it was somewhat therapeutic for me.
I love you all. Godbless.