Like pretty much all people, I have been living with fear my entire life. In my case, however, that fear has been paralyzing. I felt stuck for a very, very long time. I kept waiting for it to end, for life to get better and less scary, but that just was not happening.
I tried many forms of escape to keep me from dealing with my problems and facing the truth. I have already discussed on this blog my obsession with World of Warcraft. Obviously, I over-ate. And I had a whole host of financial problems. Each of these fed off the other, spiraling around and around, keeping me in a very dark place for a very long time.
I was unable to break the pattern and set any kind of realistic goals for my life and I was not doing the things I know I needed to do to make my life better. Furthermore, I was absolutely convinced that my obesity was going to kill me sooner rather than later. I could not handle any kind of real stress. My blood pressure was out of control. I had pains all over my body. My feet are a mess. My back is a mess. I was certain I was days away from a stroke or heart attack. I was afraid of dying. I was afraid of not dying. I hated going out with my friends in case I got myself into a situation where I could not walk to where they wanted to go or I could not afford a cab if I needed it. Not to mention my finances were out of control. A few more months of ignoring the problem and I’m sure I would have been homeless.
What did I do about all of this? Nothing. I spent more time living in Azeroth, (see previous WoW reference), than the real world. I mean it would have been fine if I was living inside some fantasy world that I created in my head and was writing it all down in the form of short stories or a novel, sold the book on Amazon and made a mint, but I wasn’t. My escape was a computer generated fantasy land where I totally rocked. Except in real life, I did not. My real life was falling spectacularly to pieces around me.
I had to do something. I finally accepted that my life would not improve if I did not take action. When I made the decision to do something about my health, I just started fixing everything else as well. I kind of had to. Everything was connected. Things were a mess for quite a while, but they did start to slowly get better. Some of the health changes that I started making before the surgery really improved my quality of life just a little. And let’s face it, a little bit of improvement was a big change for me.
I took control of my finances. I had to borrow money from a friend of mine with the caveats that I would take decisive action to fix the problem and that I pay him back. I am happy to report all of my bills are paid. I have money in my savings account. Furthermore, I only owe him one more payment, which will occur next month. I’m not proud of the fact that I had to do this, but I am very proud of the fact that I was able to turn things around and pay him back. He’s has been my best friend for 25 years and I would do nothing to jeopardize that friendship. Clearly he is way too good to me.
I have moved out of Azeroth. I no longer play WoW. I did have a very short visit there recently when I took advantage of a 10-day free trial. I took that time to put a whole bunch of game gold in my personal guild bank which was chock full of game goodies. Then I gave it all away to some random newbie player. When the 10 days ran out, I did not re-up. They had my old debit card info and I never gave them my new info, so the account has been deactivated and I have not looked back.
My health has significantly improved. I have lost 90 pounds. I walk everywhere. My back no longer hurts so much. My feet still have some problems, but they are getting better. I no longer live daily wondering if today is the day I will have a stroke or heart attack. I know I still have a long way to go and that I still have many health problems to fix, but I feel so completely different. I feel good for the first time in a very, very long time.
I am no longer afraid of every little thing. I feel more confident. My friends have even told me that I act more confidently. At one of my writer’s group meetings, one of my friends told me that during a critique I spoke confidently and with authority. I was kind of surprised. I never thought of myself that way. Yeah, my little brother and sisters always told me I was bossy, but that was only because they are family. I immediately thought, what right do I have to speak with authority about someone else’s work? I’m a novice and a dilettante at best. Then I thought, meh, somebody has to do it, why not me?
You see, I still have fears and doubts, but I am no longer crippled by them. I still find myself falling down that dark hole sometimes, being tempted by horrible food. Not wanting to leave my apartment. Still tempted to return to my old ways of escape. Still wondering if my bad choices will catch up to me some day. I just do not let those thougths paralyze me. I recognize what is happening much sooner so that I can stop it. I just feel much better equipped to face my fears. Maybe one day, I will actually conquer them.