Monday, September 7, 2009

The Feel of Fear

They say that animals can smell fear and it's no wonder why. It's a terribly physical state. Not in the way that everyone thinks, though. People are used to anxiety and panic attacks. They read about it, talk about it, watch daytime talk shows about it. Most people know what it looks like and probably have met someone who's had one and loves to talk about it: "I couldn't breath and I felt like I was literally having a heart attack!" But that's panic, not fear. Fear is something entirely different.

Fear is like one of those internal parasites that you pick up from exotic locations like Africa or the Amazon jungle. It lives inside you, feeds off of everything you take in, grows bigger and spreads before you even have any idea that you're carrying it. That's real fear.

You don't become aware until you start having indigestion with seemingly every meal or an itching under your skin that you can't pinpoint the start off. You don't start to think that's somethings wrong until you notice the trend- the stomach pains gets worse, your skin starts to chafe. And even then you figure it's nothing that some pepto bismol or neosporin won't fix. But it doesn't.

So you finally go to the doctor but your symptoms are so nondescript you still don't really understand what's going on. And so it gets worse. And you count the hours, the days, until you get your diagnosis.

And by this time, it's infected your whole system. You noticed because of the pain it caused, not because of the billion little annoyances and uncertainties that preceded it. But they were there all along, priming your system, And now it's been completely taken over.

Now you can't look at a new situation or person or event without that instantaneous twinge in your gut. Now you can't make that minor mistake without that wave of self loathing washing over you. The one that's become so comfortable by this point that you hardly even notice it anymore. Now you can't face life- every day, simple, mundane life- without fliching just a little.

What's so scary is the realization that all of these symptoms were there from the beginning. And that all this time you've been eaten alive. Maybe if you noticed, maybe if you asked for help, maybe if you pushed yourself harder then it wouldn't be so dire now. It wouldn't hurt so damn much and you wouldn't feel quite so out of control.

Maybe then just the power of positive thinking or a change of sleeping habits would have done the trick. But not now. Now it's too late for such passive methods. Now you practically have to attack yourself to try to rid your system of the thing that's hijacked you. The thing that you didn't even know was there. It's like cancer in that regard. It grows and grows and now with as much pain as you're in, as difficult as getting up in the morning has become- now the only thing left to do is poison yourself with chemo or radiation and hope to kill it before you kill yourself.

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