For a long time, I thought that I was crazy. Although an unsubstantiated diagnosis, my emotions seemed volatile so at the very least, this made me the craziest of the sane. I tried everything to turn the crazy off, but nothing seemed to help: medications (prescription and herbal), self-help books, tapes and etc. You name it, I tried it.
It seems like another life, but really it was just three years ago that my mom was diagnosed with stage IV Cancer. And, in case you don’t know what the stages are, 4 is the worst, outside of death. Whatever the stage, though, as soon as you hear those six little letters (cancer), you think death. This was the day my world changed forever.
I have a fear of heights. What’s strange is this wasn’t always so. I remember on one ordinary day, I looked down from the top of a boulder that I scaled in Lake Tahoe; it was the first time that I ever visibly shook from fear. I was shocked by my own reaction because until that moment, I had no idea that this fear of heights existed.
The grief process didn’t start with my mom’s death. It actually started two and a half years ago when she was first diagnosed with Stage IV Colon Cancer. I remember my therapist pointing this out, but at first, I rejected the possibility. To me, admitting that I was grieving seemed liked I was giving permission to the terminal in my mom’s diagnosis. Instead, I kept my focus on being emotionally and spiritually healthy so that we would be worthy of a miracle and for awhile, it appeared to be working.
“The deeper that sorrow carves in your being, the more joy you can contain.” - Kahlil Gibran
Have you ever felt run over by a Mac Truck? Emotionally, I mean. For me, that’s how the month of June has felt like, being continuously hit by a semi. Most embarrassing part is that I used to toss around the word “intense” in conversations yet only now, do I know what that means. Maybe, it’s a redefinition and that’s part of dealing with life, but this seems irrelevant.
I woke up one ordinary day and realized this was the day that I was going to face my fears. As I’ve previously mentioned, I harbored a deep seeded fear that maybe all the critics were right and I was “crazy” on some level. This was a recurring theme for me- Did I mention that OCD can be a wee bit repetitious? Although I recognized the pattern, I was stumped in regards to how I could fix it or if it could be fixed. Then, a thought hit me or rather, more of a question, “Are you ready to be professionally diagnosed?”
For most of my life, I, secretly, feared that there may have been a hint of truth behind people’s accusations that I was crazy. I emphatically denied it, but still, there was this nagging sense that maybe I was lying to myself. I could say with all honesty that this was my greatest fear. That was until March 4, 2012, the day my mother was diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer. This diagnosis annihilated any of my previous ideas of fear and what arose was a terror that I never could have imagined.