The world has gone mad, it seems.
It is my first week of the step down from a "higher level of care", being weaned off of the treatment center slowly but surely, going only a few days a week rather than living there twenty-four seven. It is also the first week of a new, potentially fascist president, and it seems that all of my fears on a personal and societal level are being validated. These days I find myself hiding in uncertainty and fear, making a home in paralysis and overwhelming anxiety, too incapacitated to accomplish anything meaningful in my life.
I am afraid of everything, from relapsing and being in the throes of the Monster forever to fear for my friends facing discrimination and oppressive policies. I've been told that fear is a healthy response to change and transition and potential danger, but this angst is eating me alive. I am deteriorating : disintegrating : crumbling under the weight of this.
I am not sure how to turn myself to stone to protect my heart from the corrosive effects of fear and feeling everything so deeply.
They throw out catchy phrases like, "feel the fear and do it anyway" but the words fall flat when I am faced with this new reality: facing a world that is terrifying and strange and where I may not be strong enough to stand, and simultaneously facing a world where injustice abounds and my friends need me to stand and be strong enough to fight for them.
I feel myself pulled back into the tension once more, finding myself caught in the middle of the spectrum of LIFE and DEATH. And while I've made so many steps in treatment anchoring me firmly on the side of LIFE, this Fear with a capital F claws at me, yanking me back towards the darkness, back towards self-destruction and despair.
I don't know who or what to turn to: What do I hold onto these days? What's pumping air into my lungs? What will be the story of my survival?
I close my eyes and take a deep breath and pull my fuzzy purple blanket up around my shoulders and think of how I got to this place, how I started eating again and how I pushed through each meal and how I began to heal my own wounds.
And I remember the staff at the treatment center bringing over a keyboard to the hospital so that I could play, so that I could sing. It was my antidote to the meals that I thought were going to kill me, it was my refuge after difficult conversations in family therapy, it was one place where the anxiety dissipated and I felt at peace. And I remember reading my spoken word pieces to the therapist, feeling confident and grounded for the first time in ages. I remember writing till I felt like the pain was out of me, till it was on paper and I could breathe again.
There is an Andrea Gibson poem that says "We have to create. It is the only thing louder than destruction."
That is my answer, at least for right now: not turning my heart to stone, but creating. I have to create. I have to. I have to pursue art with everything in me, dive into that which is holding me and pulsing through my veins lifelifelife.
No cheesy platitudes will help right now - the fear is too strong and the world too bleak. But I can create, countering destruction and uncertainty with the best weapons in my toolbox.