The Fear Factor
There isn’t much that’s more paralyzing than fear. Even worse, in my family, there wasn’t much support. Bullying gave it form. Our family had moved, and my sister and I were the new kids in school, which was difficult enough. Add to it that – for me – I was bright, wore glasses, but I was small, too. A perfect target. I was ostracized and subjected to daily attacks – tripping, pushing, even having snot rubbed in my hair. With little sympathy at home, I took matters into my own hands, and dared my chief abuser to fight me. No matter how many times he knocked me down, I got back up. I was suspended from school for a week but my bully also became my friend. I also knew we were moving again, and I was terrified. Even worse, in my family, you weren’t supposed to talk about your problems. So I didn’t, but the fear was still there.
As with so much in those days, treatment didn’t deal with the cause, just the symptoms. So they gave me this medication. It tasted awful, but deadened the fear, and enabled me to get through the day. My worst fears – of physical abuse – didn’t come true, but we had moved to an area where most of the students had grown up together so I still felt isolated and making friends was difficult. What few friends I did have were often what would be considered the ‘wrong’ choices – ostracized for being different themselves.
When we moved again, though, I was prepared. I had lost weight, I took off the glasses, and became somewhat popular.
Bullying, by the way, begins at home – both for the perpetrator and the victim. It certainly was true for me. I had been writing stories since I was a small child – especially as an escape. Knowing that my parents – and especially my father- wouldn’t consider sending me to college to learn creative writing, I decided to study journalism. That didn’t happen. In fact, both my parents would spend the next ten years sending me newspaper and magazine articles about how bad a career being a journalist was.
Needless to say, I was more than a bit discouraged. And then life chipped in. My first marriage was a classic example of domestic violence – which I at least escaped early.
Writing, in and of itself, is a difficult career – one which everyone feels they have the ability to do and the right to critique. *laughing* I couldn’t have chosen a more difficult job, although I did lots of others in the meantime.
Over time I would write over 20 stories, books and novels.
Then I was diagnosed with liver disease, and with it came a whole host of new problems. Not including the most terrifying one. At its worst, I woke up one morning absolutely panicked, and unable to remember how to do some of the most basic functions – like brushing my teeth. I couldn’t remember how to use mouthwash. Bless my husband, who got me calmed down. (No thanks to my doctor, btw, who had kept palming me off on nurse practitioners.) Memory returned. The fear, though, lingered in the back of my mind. I also found myself forgetting things, important things like words. And with that came doubt. Crippling doubt. No matter how great the idea, in an hour the doubt would set in. Is this any good? It was aggravated by every bad review, which only seemed to confirm my doubts. Despite all the good reviews my books received, the anxiety every time I try to write kills me every time.
I’m still working my way through it. Still fighting it. Wish me luck.