I am scared of many things. Most of them are really not a big deal, some of them are irrational and can be dismissed fairly easily, but the fear that hangs on, the one that I am always at battle with, is that depression will finally consume me. There are many hints, tips, exercises, dietary changes, and spiritual truths that are helpful in dealing with the depression that occurs in my life from time to time. What I'm really scared of is that I won't ever be able to fully face the depression. I will never know if I can find a way to strike it fully from my life, or if I will be able to carry it with me, working through it successfully, watching for it's approach, becoming familiar with it's invading presence, and trapping it before it becomes fully grown. I am pleased to report that I am surrounded by people that are willing to listen, help, pray, or whatever it is that is required when needed. It's my hope that anyone battling the same dragon is flanked by a similar army.
What scares you?
In thinking of scary things, the typical ones come to mind. Spiders, snakes, heights, falling, port-a-potties. These things are unpleasant to deal with. In general, I think we all hope that we won’t have to deal with these things from day to day. The items in this list, though, are all tangible. Maybe falling isn’t tangible, but what happens at the end certainly is! The fears that seem to follow me around are the ones that can’t be faced physically. They can’t be ignored as long as they are unseen. They can’t be held in the hand in an exercise to banish the anxiety and emotion attached to them. They are the kind of fears that creep around like shadows. They ebb and wane with time. They are ninjas that attack when least expected. The moments seem random, the triggers aren’t always the same.
I am afraid that I may never face down a dragon. That I will never head out on the hunt, traipsing through lands of every kind. That I will not see the jungles and deserts, packed seaside cities, and aromatic, bustling bazaars. I’m scared that I will miss the journey to the dragon’s lair. Then, the thrill of finding it. The place where the dragon lives. Where it sleeps and rejuvenates for it’s next fire breathing attack. That moment where the journey to the lair ends, the travels where the dragon has followed and destroyed my path, forcing me to go another way. The thrill of knowing that it is right in front of me, and I could maybe do something about it’s unwanted attention.
There is anxiety in choosing the correct weapon. A sword to make the dragon bleed, or a bludgeon, to beat it to death, hitting it over and over, exhausting myself in the attempt to bash every wrong thing out of it. Will I choose to fight fire with fire, giving the dragon a taste of it’s own medicine, scorching it’s armor-like scales, while it barely feels the heat and redoubles it’s own efforts until I am done, cooked, unable to continue fighting? Will I choose to stare down the troublesome beast? Perhaps looking at it intently will inspire the dragon to back down, as if it’s realization that I know it is there, with malicious intent will cause it to cower and stop ruining me. What if I engage the marauder in dialogue, convincing it that it’s presence in my life is overwhelming and unhelpful. Or maybe, completely defeated, I will join forces with the dragon, harnessing it’s energy and turning the dragon’s head to kinder deeds. Maybe I will never make the journey at all, and miss my chance to choose dragon’s method of defeat.
I continue, each new day, to wake up, pretend the dragon isn’t out there, and go on with my day. I pretend to be confident. I might even feel motivated, as though the dragon doesn’t really exist. I begin projects, I accomplish minor goals, maybe a major one here and there, then it shows up again, covering the accomplishments and victories with it’s magical cloak of invisibility. I can’t see the good things any more, only the fog of the dragon. It covers my mind, my limbs. It creeps into my muscles, and bones, causing me to feel weak and brittle. I am sluggish. I am apathetic. I am stagnant.
I am afraid that I will succomb to the dragon. That I will stand, without struggle, as it burns up every right thing around me. As it throws it’s invisibility magic over me. As it drags me into it’s fog to become a part of it, to hunt down someone else and become their fear.I am afraid that I will never begin the hunt for the dragon.