So you get the call. The call that says the doctor wants to see you immediately. And you panic because it was only this morning that you had blood tests to finally determine the cause of your aches and pains, and now you think you must be halfway to dead. Which is odd because halfway to dead really doesn’t feel too bad at all.
And so you hurry in to the room to see your new doctor and he is a charming sixty something man called Gary who smiles and says don’t worry you aren’t dying. And you breathe a sigh of relief because it isn’t cancer, diabetes, fibromyalgia, dangerous hypertension, or even tubes blocked with cholesterol, he merely wants to feel your tummy. To see if there are any suspicious lumps, apparently. But no, there aren’t. So perhaps you are a medical anomaly. Or maybe one particular, naughty liver enzyme was having a funny turn. Or maybe, very probably, you are low on calcium, for heaven knows aren’t you always low on something? Platelets usually, whatever they may be. And though you can’t quite fathom why he has come to these conclusions, you hear the word liver and declare that you have given up red wine and he looks up from frowning at his computer and says “Are you quite mad?” and you decide there and then that you like him and forgive him for being so very dramatic and summoning you to his surgery.
All is well. There is nothing wrong. Not anywhere. Not in your silly, weary body or in your gorgeous, happy home. You find this rather shocking. For lately the fingers of fear have been wrapping themselves around your neck late at night, because when one has been so frequently knocked off her ballet shoes, contentment, good health, real love, a thriving business… all of it feels dangerous.
You wander around your day with the scent of suspicion up your nose. Mildly astonished at the lack of things to worry about.
You are so engrossed in your beautiful work that you convince yourself you just aren’t noticing the things that require concern. That perhaps if you lift your head up from your computer long enough you will notice a giant, impossible bill you have forgot to pay, that your child has developed a ketamine habit, though he barely leaves the garden and you haven’t noticed any shady, greasy dealers chucking drugs over the fence. That though you do not have a jealous bone in your body and trust him implicitly, you will discover your man having a passionate dalliance right under your nose or that the freckle on your arm is actually a hideous tumor that will finish you off in the space of three weeks.
This then is the fear. An imaginary game of jeopardy. A sublime state of anxiety and distrust that feels so very familiar you are more at home with it than you are the truth.
That night the man who would not dream of having an affair, lies next to you, stroking that same freckle on your your arm and telling you how incredibly well you are doing. And because you are sometimes ridiculous, you argue with him. Tell him that he doesn’t understand and that no, you cannot lift your head up from your computer, because doesn’t he know that the whole world might fall down if you do?
And he says it’s time to practice what you preach. To practice extreme self-care. To get your hair done. Take proper time out to read not just to try to absorb words on a page late at night, when you are so tired you can barely see. He says you need to remember to eat lunch. To stop being scared when there is nothing to be sacred of.
He whispers “You are ok” and for once you believe him.