I spent the last eight years shrouded in fear. I’ve always struggled financially, but it never concerned me because there was so much I could do to make money in a lurch and pay the bills. That changed when I had a child and didn’t have the freedom I had before, not to mention, the older we get, the harder it gets to get a bartending job and the like on a whim. My business was doing really well when my daughter was born, however, and I was very confident in our future. When her father died from a heroin overdose my world was shaken to the core. My confidence was shaken, what I thought would always be was shaken. I had never experienced anything like that before. This was the only other person in the world who was half responsible for my child along with me. He was my best friend, my confidant, even when he was using, he was useful, sort of. When he died, fear became very, very real.
You know the famous phrase, “The only thing you have to fear, is fear itself”. I came to find out, this just wasn’t true. Because for all the times I tried to tell myself that, the truth was, that philosophy was not going to put food on the table and pay my rent. I was responsible for a two year old little girl, and there was no life line. I found myself not able to sleep at night because my heart would beat so fast it would make my head pound. Even if I had managed to fall asleep, my heart would wake me up because somehow, it never calmed down. Even while my conscious slept, my subconscious told my heart, “we’re screwed”. I had never known this feeling. I knew there was a possibility of bi-polar tendencies because it ran in my family and I had some of the classic underlying symptoms, but suddenly, it reared it’s head and let itself be known. Suddenly I became acutely aware that I was not well. I found it much harder than I ever imagined to seek help. Mental health is not a priority in this country. I was in this fight alone and didn’t realize just how severe it was about to become.
I understood that I was going through a grieving process, but that it would pass, eventually. What I didn’t know was that my personality was changing and I was quickly angered, responsive, reactive. Scared. I quickly alienated those closest to me. I was very, very alone, sad, depressed, scared, overwhelmed and that combination is dangerous. I tried to hide it, but it manifested itself in other ways. I look back now and wonder how I got out of it, and thank God, I’m not in it now. I couldn’t see right and the doctors put me on multiple medications. This must have helped, but it didn’t come without it’s own set of issues. Long term, my creativity waned, my lackluster dulled and my motivation sank. It was about that time my mother was diagnosed with stage 3b lung cancer and I spent my time helping her, working in my daughters pre-school and paying the bills without support by running my quickly deteriorating business.
See, when you don’t have your “person” anymore, and you go to bed alone at night scared with the weight of the world upon you, you’re not the best person to be around. I soon found out, no one wanted to be around me at all. My fault, you see, I was not behaving myself. So the fear and loneliness compounded. I had to move many times due to not being able to pay rent anymore in my current home. I struggled with the business which is artistically based. I was a sinking ship with no life line.
I could tell myself over and over that everything was going to be ok, but when the first of the month came around and I was severwly short on rent, the truth is, it wasn’t ok. When you face that kind of fear, it’s real. It’s your security. I researched many times housing in shelters for me and my daughter. Many, many times I truly thought we were going to be homeless, and I knew, no one was going to save me. I did this for YEARS. When it was decided that I was going to have to move to Washington to care for my father, I knew it was going to be hard, but secretly, there was relief…I wasn’t going to have to pay rent anymore. I mean, THANK GOD. My time with my dad was a whole new set of fears and anxiety as he had dementia and it was a very difficult time. My dad passed last December and a new grief washed over me.
I found myself facing familiar fears and lost even more family members as a result of my behavior. Once again, I was unsure of my future. Once again, I was hit with an intense loss of someone I was living with and very close to. Once again, the doom crept in hard. The sadness of losing so many people due to my lashing out was more than I could bear. Once again, I was alone, without my dad who had become my confidant, even though he couldn’t remember our conversation five minutes later, still, I found comfort in him. When he was gone, I was struck with the loneliness, fear, sadness all over again. I couldn’t work, but I had to. Customers were yelling at me because I got behind in orders, I had to try to keep things normal for my daughter and all the while I was being told I had to leave my dads home. Crap. Fear.
I found myself in the hustle once again and decided on a plan of action. Six months later I packed up his home of 20 years, spread his ashes, and moved once again. For the first time, I have had some relief the past few months. Unlike my daughters father who never put into social security, so my daughter and I never received a dime, my father, was a planner. My daughter and I were relieved of financial stresses, for the moment. I realize now, as I write this, and I needed to write this, money chases away fear. My fear anyway. I feel secure, safe, renewed and inspired. See, I’ve been able to get off of all six medications they put me on. It hasn’t been easy, it was physically painful, and the unknown was scary. I’ve had to take care, do yoga, meditate, shop, all the things that made me feel good! But, you know, I feel good. I’ve come to terms with the deaths of my father and my daughters father, I’m starting fresh with three new businesses (aw, yes, the bi=polar person in me rising to the surface, well, rise crazy, rise!) Because for all the years that I wasn’t medicated I had family and friends. Maybe now, I can get that back. Maybe now, finally, the old Christie will come back in full. I welcome her.
I wish I had some wise words to give to anyone else suffering from fear. I don’t. Except, make money, and lots of it, because when you have money, you have no fear, not the kind you really have to fear anyway!