Post-carrying Day 14
Today I was reminded that not all Fear rises to the surface unless summoned.
On my morning walk with our dog, I stopped by a neighbor's for a bit of a chat as they were out in the driveway. It was a beautiful morning tinged with just the slightest autumn chill beneath sunny skies. I was feeling bouyant in the wake of the 30:30 challenge being completed. While I had work to do, there were no deadlines awaiting me by day's end.
As we stopped in the driveway, I thought to wish our neighbor an early "happy birthday." He is exactly one year older than my dad, so I always make a point to wish him well each year. This morning he didn't seem to take note, but, looking somber he informed me that a young man who'd been causing a bit of upset and unsettled the neighborhood over the past 8 or so years had committed suicide and would be buried today in the little local cemetary down the hill. I said, 'he was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder wasn't he?" My neighbor confirmed this and we talked about the young man's life and his death. I learned quite a bit more than I was ready to hear; but my neighbor, understandably needed to talk. The boy was the grandson of his best friend.
We parted, both of us shaking our heads at the tragedies of life and of death in it's odd forms.
As I walked home, I noticed my own life present itself before my thoughts and the suicide began to seep into my bones and cells drawing up the deep Fear there. Someone close to me has Bipolar Disorder. While the young man who was buried today lived under his own circumstances, the Disorder is serious under any circumstances. AND, while I am deeply deeply grateful the person I am close to with Bipolar is actively seeking to learn how to manage it, I was surprised at the unconscious response my body underwent in hearing about the suicide. By the time I arrived home, I was near tears and needing to process the impact of being reminded in such a graphic way of the potential outcome of Bipolar.
Suicide IS one possibility one always knows is there when you care about someone with Bipolar. But being conscious of that doesn't mean there isn't Fear surrounding it on deeper levels.
I guess that brings up the notion that no matter HOW aware I am of my Fear, there are always going to be nuances or levels to it that can only be seen let alone understood when the Fear is brought to light by life circumstances. I wish I COULD pick out Fears one by one and stick them under a microscope, examine, poke, prod, even carry them around for a while and get to know them then be free of any surprises as I move on with life. Unfortunately Fear doesn't work that way.
Again, this brings to mind why I carried the Fear Chair. Not to rid myself of Fear, for that is impossible, but to better understand it and perhaps even lessen my Fear of Fear. My Fear about a loved one committing suicide (like any BIG Fear I suppose) is complex and layered. I can intellectualize and analize it and get to know it pretty darned well. And even let go of a bit of it. But when faced with the actual, flat-out reality of the statistics and then someone I know (even not well) actually committing the act, will open the deep tendrils and layers like intellectuallizing and analysis cannot. This is because, duh, Fear is not a function of intelligence. Fear is primal. It's even more than emotional. It's physical. It's historical. Most basic of basic experiences. Before language. Before communication. Who knows, perhaps even before Love, was Fear.
Anyway, I called a couple friends and processed. Did my work. Then spent ample time in my studio working on a Fibre Collage that is the final piece in the 3 piece Prayer Flag Series "The Serenity Prayer." I've done "Courage" and "Wisdom." Last is "Serenity." How fitting. "Grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the Courage to change the things I can and the Wisdom to know the difference." Counter to the order of the prayer, perhaps "serenity to accept the things I cannot change" is hardest for me... "serenity to accept the Fear I cannot change," hmmmm...