Last night I had a dream that forced me to remember what it was like to constantly live in fear. I woke up in complete shock and it took me a few minutes to convince myself that I was actually awake. It was a flashback to how things used to be. I haven’t felt that way in a long time. It was as far back as sophomore year that I truly felt that afraid. It was constant; from the time I woke up, to the time I fell asleep (if I was even able to sleep).
The kind of fear I felt is so hard to explain. I would find something to latch onto and I let it tear my insides apart. It could have been something most people would brush off and I would let it turn my world upside down. It was even worse when I would find things going on in the world that had the capability to turn bad. Those were the times that I would come up with every negative scenario possible. Regardless of the situation that had me worried, the feeling was always the same. I spent years living inside that feeling. My stomach constantly hurt, like at any second I could throw up. My head was never not spinning and tears were always on the edge of escaping my eyes. If I wasn’t constantly bouncing my leg up and down, or messing with something I felt like I could literally explode. My breathing has never been normal, either. I forget to breathe. To this day I will randomly take a huge breath and people always assume I’m sighing out of annoyance or boredom.
I can’t really tell you the kind of strength it took for me to hold it together everyday at school or in public. Sometimes I would break down- don’t get me wrong. When I would finally break down it was always terrible because I had held it all in for so long. The amount of times I was sat next to my friends at lunch or in class with a smile on my face, and them having no idea I was actually seconds away from falling to the floor in surrender—well, it’s countless.
Waking up to that same feeling this morning scared me. It’s not something I would wish upon anyone. Regardless of how scary it was, though, it also opened my eyes. Look at how far I’ve come. That used to be my constant state-of-mind, and now I rarely experience it. I’m so thankful for that. Except, I won’t ever let myself forget that it can always get that way again. And if it wasn’t for that dream, I wouldn’t have been reminded of my progress. It’s weird how things work out. I’ve felt pretty stuck lately, so to be made aware of the forward steps I’m continuing to make everyday is a blessing.
Whether you’re struggling or not, take this reminder I was just granted and use it as your own. Think about all the progress you’ve made. Remember your worst day and understand that you are still here and that nothing can take that away from you.