What Fear Looks Like
Think about a time in your life when you were REALLY afraid. Not everyone has these moments. But, if you do you know it. There is no doubt. Fear is pain. This pain can be physical or emotional. I have experienced both emotional and physical pain and fear in my life. For the purposes of today’s blog I am going to focus on the physical pain and fear from that.
The times in my life I’ve been in real pain: kidney stones, childbirth (including miscarriages), and my recent cycling crash. Now, I’m going to say that childbirth was different for me. Not really the kind of pain that I am writing about today. Not because it didn’t hurt, or wasn’t hard as hell, I’m crossing it off because it was a choice I made. I chose to be pregnant. While I didn’t choose the miscarriages, they were part of a bigger picture. During the birth of my children I was also safe and taken care of. Totally worth it. So, I’m going to call this a DIFFERENT kind of pain, for me.
Kidney Stones…. Well these totally suck. Yeah, it’s bad. I don’t like when people compare them to childbirth. Totally different category. I had a backache for a week or so. Then the next thing I knew I dropped. I feel on the bathroom floor and as a grown up my parents drove me to the emergency room while I was curled up in the fetal position in their back seat. It was weird because the kidney stones move in your body. As they move the pain will intensify at one moment and disappear. The first time I really asked, “is this real?”
My cycling crash… that hurt. It hurt so bad that I now actually understand PTSD. I wish I didn’t. When I was crashing I thought, “Well I’ve never had a road cycling crash. I guess this is my time.” After my head (in a helmet before you ask!) bounced like a basketball as I slid down the road I don’t remember how I fell. I have put together an idea based on the broken helmet and damage to my bike and gear. Survival instinct- this was a first. With a broken pelvis and back I low crawled to the side of the road with my forearms and left leg to avoid getting hit by a car. First time I really wondered if I would die. I could feel my bones move as I breathed. I was triaged on the side of the road. I did not know at that time if I would survive.
So, onto fear. During 12-ish hours I was moved, poked, prodded, treated while screaming. At one point, I was so drugged and medicated I had no idea who I was or where I was. This was all while constantly tugging on the neck stabilizer and trying to get it off.
Fear makes us do really dumb things in the name of surviving. Fear makes you question life and death. Fear puts you in the moment. Like REALLY in the moment. Every second matters. Perception of time is gone.
Emotional pain works like this too. I think that’s why most who suffer from severe emotional pain are likely to develop addictions. Anything to make it stop.
Fear also exists in non-life threatening situations. While I rationally know my body is healing, I still get afraid. While most of my cuts and bruises are healed, looking at my damaged body is scary. Looking at my torn stomach muscles is scary. Ugh.