In my 20s I convinced myself I had drowned in a past life.
We all have fears, yet some run deeper than others. Just like the mystery of MS, extra special phobias can seemingly come out of nowhere but feel like they are a part of our very core. Impenetrable and immovable, random but ever powerful; forces to be reckoned with and blindly stubborn beyond comprehension.
Of course so many fears do feel simple and literal; tied to life experiences we remember vividly and just cannot seem to shake. Fear of dogs or public speaking because…well one was attacked by a dog or had a humiliating experience in public. These are less interesting to me. I want to understand the arbitrary and baseless thoughts that can consume the mind without reason or warning. Once you can grasp a thing and understand it, there is at least a comfort in the knowing.
When I was diagnosed with MS, I felt an immediate rush of both irrational and legitimate thoughts. A floodgate of terror and horrific possibilities unleashed. Would I be blind within a few more days? I knew for a fact I was going to be in a wheelchair within months. Would anyone ever date me again, and if so, how and when would I tell them to prevent them from running? I was definitely going to have to move back home to my dad who, although freshly widowed, would have to be my caretaker for the rest of his days. I wondered which friends would stay and which would go, sick of me being too tired to do anything fun. Which friends would understand that I suddenly needed a life pass and which would blame me for being selfish and unreliable.
Although most of this panicked, internal rambling was unfounded, 2 of these did actually come to fruition. I lost 1 friend, who felt I didn’t spend enough time with her or check in on her enough. And I recently had a potential date ghost me after learning about my diagnosis. After sitting with and processing each disappointing outcome, I am grateful to both of these people.
The friend needed something more than I could give. Even before my diagnosis. MS just gave her more of a reason to dump the friendship which to this day I believe was a good choice for both of us. And this stranger I will never get to meet in person… well yeah. I am sure all of my readers are saying the same thing in their head. His loss, good riddance, dodged a bullet, etc, etc, etc. And I know, positively with absolute certainty, you are all right. There is comfort in the knowing.
When I was in my 20s I couldn’t swallow pills and I was terrified of people touching my throat. I read a few books on past lives and convinced myself I had either drowned or choked to death many decades before. There is great humanity in irrational fear. A connection to the unknown and an inherent respect for that which we do not understand. But we try. We desperately try to understand it, to grab it, to label it, to get to the knowing of it.
And when the thing you are most scared of comes true and feels more like a lesson on the other side, then you can be sure you’ve got it. You’ve grabbed the thing by its throat and there is the knowing. There is the reason and thank goodness, nothing is ever so random after all.