I’m afraid.


I don’t know what else to call it though, because as much as I love words, and I usually can find a way to describe something, to use the right word, or to construct an analogy – I’m at a loss. Fear is the closest I can come, but fear usually implies a target or a cause, something connected to fear. Fear of spiders, or fear of clowns. Fear of the ocean, or fear of wide open spaces. When I hear “I am afraid”  there is almost without fail, something connected to it, be it a thing, or an event (past event or fear of something that may yet happen).

This is different. Maybe paranoia would be better, although that tends to be characterized as more volatile, aggressive, and/or delusional. Projecting a fear or a deep suspicion of others onto people and relationships. I don’t think that’s any better.

Maybe my old pal Anxiety is working a new tactic.

It’s this heavy, yet shapeless gnawing uncertainty. In a way, it feels like the self-confidence I’ve built up, the focus on goals, the grit-my-teeth-and-carry-on drive is slowly seeping out of me. No leaks or holes that I’m aware of, nothing to my knowledge is leaching it away from me. Yet, I can sense that, or something very closely related to it, slowly absorbing the drive I’ve had available, and leaving a vacuum in its place

Yesterday morning, I had a hard morning. Thank goodness it was my day off, but emotional stability, motivation, focus, and whatever’s left from those that make me, me all seemed to be determined to take a vacation – in the opposite direction of everyone else on that list. Almost 7 hours of this listless, apathetic void…. which wouldn’t have been so bad if my energy levels had also run away, but alas I had the energy to do something, but only the focus to make several feeble attempts at starting various minor tasks on the to-do list. And so the “started” things mocked me and seemed to fuel the lack of focus instead of prodding me to finish something.

But even so, yesterday I was conscious of this ebb of …. whatever … and I was already noticing it at various points over the previous 7-ish days. Is mojo the right word I’m looking for?

I told a friend last night that mornings like that scare me. They remind me that unlike most illnesses, mental illnesses usually don’t just heal, or go away. They’re treated and sometimes between self-care, and treatments, and medications, and whatever else, you just might get lulled into the security and apathy that you’ve got it beat. A morning like I had is like a when certain sound, or a waft of a scent can incite old memories of better times, of moments of bliss or triumph. Only in this case, the memory brings no joy, no glimpse of happiness. Rather, it’s like the first warning growls of a guard dog, or the first icy wind gusts that precede a harsh storm – you know that retreat is the only hope of escape.

In my mind, though – retreat from those fears brings more fear and breeds more of what I’m pulling away from. And the cycle feeds itself, fear blocking the way, and uncertainty clawing at my legs, yet I just don’t have the oomph to dig in my heels and defiantly stare down the darkness. Yet as much as I cannot summon the depth to step forward, I loath to step backwards, to pull more within myself.

It’s like in an action movie, the hero has the bad guy cornered after a shootout. Gun drawn, pinning down the agent of evil. And he tightens his finger on the trigger, judge, jury, and executioner – only to be rewarded not with blaze of gunpowder and arcid smoke, but with a menacing subdued click. He’s empty. The power, the force, the might he needed, depended on, believed he had available to him … gone. And the instant gut-wrenching knowledge that the tables have turned is almost as powerful as the gunshot he thought he could deliver.

The difference is in that analogy, there is a stark difference between having a round left to fire, and not. It’s stark yes-or-no…. and my case is rather different. Its much more of a slow, almost imperceptible leak, but a leak nonetheless. And even though I’ve become aware of this slow siphoning of mojo or whatever you want to call it, I’m not sure I know how to patch a leak that I can’t locate, and I don’t know how to refill what is gone.

This ebb is so frustrating. And the fear that’s fueling it (or being fueled by it) is as shapeless as fog, but just as chilling and foreboding.

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