Journal Entry January 19, 2013
Tomorrow marks the end of this program for me. After that day, I will be ‘free’ to move about the world again. A world that is not buffered by gentle group meetings where connections are made between others that suffer the wounds inflicted upon them, by self or by society. Where there is no time or money for private daily therapy sessions that endeavour to uncover the root of the evil inside. Where colouring a mandala to settle a troubled spirit is considered elementary and downright odd. Where intimacy involves virtual strangers being brought together to battle the beasts within, and then finding true camaraderie and love as a reward for baring a battered soul, and for listening to those that presently share the same fate. This is the world that I know. The world that I feel safe in. The world as it should be.
I am afraid I have no interest in joining the ranks of the chaos that exists beyond these double panelled steel hospital doors. When I leave this building I am exposed to the cruel reality that has sent me plummeting, how many times before? Dare I even try to count the times where being committed to a hospital has saved my life, literally and figuratively? And yet the average person would think that a long term mandated stay in a psych hospital was something to be avoided at all costs. Do they even recognize the brutal existence in which they live in the outside world? The cut-throat actuality that honours the brawniest and most savage of beings as the victors in the Game of Life? And tomorrow afternoon I am to be sent into that vast jungle and expected to thrive because of the tools I have collected during my stay in this cocoon. Have I grown to be an exquisite butterfly where I can stretch my beautiful wings and fly out across the city to face my new and improved destiny? Or am I yet a tender larvae, unready to break through the silky folds of my present environment, but being forced out onto the planet just the same? I am full of fear. I should be full of hope.
January 22, 2017
Living in fear is a terrible thing. There was no moving forward when my existence was defined by fear. It strangled the life out of every other emotion, until Fear became my constant and only companion. It accompanied me everywhere. Not that I was traversing around very much. I had become afraid to leave my own house. But Fear settled like a sour acid in the pit of my stomach. It wrapped tightly around my chest, squeezing the life out of me so my breath became shallow and uneven. It filled my head like a toxic gas, its vaporous tendrils enveloping my brain and swaddling it in anxiety and fearful thoughts. So imprisoned was I by my fear that I became completely unable to cope in the world I was afraid of.
Over time I have learned how to combat my fear when it arises. I know that nothing is permanent, and that thought helps me realize that the fear I am feeling at the moment will pass. I have learned how to stop and focus on my breathing when I notice my heart is racing ahead, and my breath is getting laboured. I can clench and unclench my fists in an effort to get the blood moving to other parts of my body. When I do this, I become more in tune with how my body is feeling and I concentrate less on my emotional state. The movement in my hands also acts as a diversion from the thoughts in my mind.
I no longer cultivate such a jaundiced view of the world in which I exist. That interpretation was ruled by the fear in my heart. Fear will always be in my repertoire of emotions, as it must be. It is necessary to experience fear when danger abounds so I can think and act to remove myself from the situation. But it needn’t control my every waking moment. Fear has its place within the universe, and I thankfully, have mine.