Denial

For over a year I’ve been walking a tightrope, vaguely aware of the chasm beneath me though largely ignorant to its shadowy depths.

I probably should have taken some notice of it when this happened in February:

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The corridor of Auckland City Hospital featuring an ambulance stretcher and my middle finger.

Or this, a month later:

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Mixing things up with an ambulance ride to Middlemore Hospital.

Or this, another two months later:

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Surprisingly chipper given the spit cup full of blood to my left.

But when you’re a mentally strong person, acknowledging and admitting the existence of that chasm, acknowledging and admitting the possibility that you could fall into it if you don’t change the way you’re walking the tightrope, feels like you’re admitting weakness, and that itself takes immense strength.

Last Saturday, I acknowledged the chasm to myself. For the rest of the weekend I felt like a cat who’d been petted backwards. That night I contemplated what might lie at the bottom of the chasm, the worst thing being irreversible damage to my health. Unemployment or significant disruption to life goals, although only marginally less worse in my mind, are fundamentally feeders of self pride and ego, so therefore I determined them not world-ending, but still prospects that weren’t pleasant to stare in the faces of in that moment.

On Sunday, I conveyed my acknowledgement of the chasm’s existence to others. I finally admitted my precarious position to myself, my parents, my employer, a close friend.

I admitted my chronic denial.

I’ve never been one to do what I’m told, and I have never, EVER bought into the concept of “limits” (what the f*** are they?). Consequently I’ve continually insisted my physical state isn’t being compromised by my optimism, my ambition, my zest; by my unwillingness to slow down.

It is.

The reassurance of those I spoke to had an almost palpable effect on how I felt physically. Each day this past week, I tried my best to work within my physical limits. If I wasn’t feeling up to going out, I worked from home. I can’t express the gratitude I feel to have that option. The guilt of not doing things to the extent I impose on myself, gradually ebbed. It’s still there, and given my nature won’t disappear completely, but guess what? The world didn’t end.

And as long as I push denial out of the way, it won’t.

 

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