Somewhere along my journey, I became a little too acquainted with denial.
It began several years ago when financial ruin stood hovering over me like an angry wolf. I felt paralyzed by fear. Fear of being unable to pay this or that bill. Fear of losing my home, vehicle, and much of everything else. Fear that losing these things would somehow make me, as a person, less valuable, less loved. This fear gripped me tightly, threatening to strangle the very life from me- life as I knew it anyway.
Some days the best I could do was breathe. And go through the motions. And hope for a miracle. My current reality in no way resembled the visions I had conjured up in my mind of a beautiful future. No, this was a hard place. Harder than anything I had ever experienced. And humbling, oh so humbling. Learning to accept help from others. Sometimes needing to ask for help from others. This is not where I wanted to be. This was not my idea of living.
So how did I respond?
I unconsciously created a wall of defense around myself. Although I didn’t realize it at the time, that wall was called denial, and it was my coping mechanism. I began to deny or ignore everything I considered too difficult to deal with -anything I could not tolerate -anything which led me to anxiety.
At the top of my list was the tall stack of bills accumulating in my mailbox. I had no means to pay them so I left them stranded in the box, hoping somehow they would not only vanish, but actually fail to exist. Wishful thinking, I know. But see, that’s what you do in denial. Intellectually, you know ignoring the bills will not make them go away. Yet emotionally, you live as if you don’t know. You live as if ignoring your issues will eventually give you the results you want. And if you live in denial too long, you risk making a bigger mess of things.
That particular season of hardship and denial passed, but I still find myself running back into the arms of denial from time to time.
Lacking courage to face reality.
Refusing to see truth.
Failing to choose honesty before my bump-in-the-road problem grows into a huge-impassable-mountain-of-a-problem.
Going about my daily routine appearing normal to outsiders, knowing all the while a quick peek inside my head would reveal my true state: curled up in a fetal position, hands over my ears, eyes closed tightly, humming something – anything – to drown out the noise of harsh truth surrounding me.
And I wonder … Can anyone else relate?