The Fear Train

Is it just me or is the general state of the world a little hard to handle right now?  The list of people I can currently have a conversation about the state of the world with, without anyone getting fairly upset, is at an all-time low.  For me, that’s a pretty good meter for how we’re all doing, and let me tell you, it’s not pretty.  I see a whole lot of anxiety, fear, depression, blaming, fear, finger pointing, did I mention fear?  Boy is there ever plenty of fear.  The general energy, attitude and mood of the world at large has me feeling like I am at the edge of the tornado, clinging onto a palm tree for all I’ve got, trying not to get sucked in.  Fear is like that.  It builds power as it gains victims, the more people jump on board the fear train, the bigger it gets.  Now a few months in with 24-7 coverage, this fear train is officially the biggest of our lifetimes, and it looks to many of us as though it’s jumped the tracks. 

The result?  Anxiety, stress, depression, and even more fear.  I’m certainly feeling it.  Are you?  Like a small heard of winged elephants dancing in my chest as a troop of pixies poke holes in my brain, I am definitely feeling the effects of the global fear.  The fact is, I’m not afraid.  No, that’s not accurate, I am afraid, I’m just not afraid of focus of the fear so much as the fear itself.  The fact is fear makes me extremely uncomfortable.  Far too aware of human nature, I understand that people acting on fear are not considering all the angles.  When faced with fear we are biologically programed to act.  There is not much room for considering the options when flight or fight enters the arena.  Run or face the lion, that’s how we are made, a survival instinct that has placed us at the top of the food chain.  But what happens when the lion doesn’t ever stop chasing you?  Or the chase lasts for weeks instead of the minutes you were designed for? 

You end up like me, over here, pacing the floors and feeling like I just might pop at any minute.  Since anxiety and I go way back, I can see very clearly all the signs that she’s here to visit once again.  Irritability, restless nights, lack of focus, add literal pacing and a healthy heap of unhealthy emotional eating, and the evidence is clear, I’m anxious.  Not about getting sick mind you, oddly enough as the world cowers in fear of a global pandemic, that is actually not even on my list of concerns.  I don’t fear COVID, I fear the fear of COVID.  I worry about the impact, I empathize with those it will cripple, the dreams it will crush, the fallout it will leave behind.  I stand beside those who are delaying diagnosis and treatment for diseases that will shorten their lives, or the number of good days they have left.  I am painfully aware of the realities of paycheck to paycheck living and wondering how you will feed your children and keep a roof over their heads.  My heart aches for those who reside with people who have hate and hurt where love should have been.  Between the brutality of reality and the reality of anxiety, I am teetering at an edge I haven’t seen in years.  Just between us?  It’s a view I’ve worked really hard to put in the rearview mirror.  The past couple of weeks that edge has been my campsite.  I think I’ve seen enough.  I think its time to take a leap of faith and get off the train.  Even if that means dodging it for the rest of the year.  I was always more of a sprinter than a long-distance runner.

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