Anxiety, Humor, Menopause

Headaches, Heartaches, and Fear

During my perimenopause, I became a pretty negative person. As a result of my near constant pain, I grew resentful. I became numb to emotions like happiness and optimistic outlooks like hope.

I’d wake up every day afraid to be optimistic for fear of being rewarded with a headache later. As if the Universe was listening to me and would punish me for that optimism. 

Why should I be afraid to begin a new day on a positive note? Why didn’t I believe I deserved a pain-free day?

 

Fear.

I was terrified of being in pain. To be honest, I was terrified of everything and I didn’t know how to stop myself from suffering.

Therapy wasn’t even touching the fear I held inside of me. I would politely go along with all my therapist was suggesting, but I was still overwhelmed. 

By the time my five-year stint in perimenopause was over, I almost didn’t want to live any longer. 

fear does not prevent death.


Fear has haunted me my entire life. 

The summer before my freshman year in high school, I was terrified of going to band camp because it meant sleeping away from home for an entire week. 

As a result, I didn’t sign up and missed my first year of marching band, which I had been training for since fifth grade. 

I attended community college part-time at night from the age of 24 until I was 37. After all of my hard work, I was accepted into a competitive nursing program, but I declined because I was terrified of the intense clinicals. I was afraid that as a single mother, I wouldn’t be able to keep up with the routine. 

As a result, I earned an Associate of Science degree. Do you know what jobs you can acquire with an Associate of Science degree? I can’t either. 

I was invited to attend a meet and greet in New York City with the cast of the Netflix show, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, during its second season. It was a chance I got through Netflix because I was writing monthly pieces for them. They would’ve covered my hotel, airfare, and meals. However, I declined because I would have had to travel alone. 

As a result, I saw fellow writers who were bold enough to make the trip, mingling with celebs, writers, and literary agents on my social media feeds. If I wasn’t so afraid, I too could have mingled with other writers and made some new friends. Perhaps I was destined to attend this New York City trip in order to meet my future literary agent. 

But I declined because I was afraid to be alone in a new city. 

These were things I had specifically requested in my life, and I was turning them down.

A goal is a dream with a

 

Throughout my life, I’d questioned, “Why isn’t anything good happening to me?” I was under the impression that all of the good things were occurring to other people.

But now that I am sitting here, I can see all the good things that have happened to me. I was simply too afraid to do them. 

A goal is a dream with a (1)

 

I used to think that most of my headaches were caused by hormones, but now I’m wondering whether they were partly caused by fear.

Maybe I hid the shame of my fear and because of the shame, my heart may have broken a little. 

I guess my heart also crushed witnessing so many things I’d always wanted crumble beneath the weight of fear. 


Since beginning my soul homework in September of last year, I have mourned the losses of the things I wanted to accomplish but couldn’t due to fear. I finally had to let go of the burden of those losses. 

I’ve learned how to incorporate mindfulness into my daily life. Learning how much of what my thoughts previously told me was actually my ego lying to me. I’m less afraid because I’m living in the present rather than in the past or future. Present-moment thinking, mindfulness, is the best thing to come out of all of those books I’ve read so far. 

Meditation is the other. 

A goal is a dream with a

 

My soul homework came into my life to help me overcome my fear. I believe it arrived when I most needed healing to happen- during the start of menopause, which also happened to be during a pandemic.

Do I have good timing or what?

 

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Healing does not imply that my fear will vanish completely. I needed to find a solution to cope with my fear. To sit next to it and perceive it as a companion rather than a threat. As if it were an extra limb. 

This quote: 


A goal is a dream with a (1)

 

This quote changed how I looked at obstacles like fear or change or scary shit?

Obstacles ARE the path. 

When anything scary happens in my life now, I choose to deal with it calmly rather than chaotically. I’m aware that I have that option. Maybe I didn’t realize I did before? 

There will be hard days and weeks ahead. But I will view my fear differently this time. Instead, I will walk into the scarier days and weeks, knowing that I can handle them. 

I’ve always had the power. 

I have decided to focus on all the good things in my life that are being handed to me. The things I ask for.

But this time, I’m not turning them down. 

Is there something that you wish you’d done in the past but were afraid to do it? Has fear prevented you from accomplishing goals in your life? 

43 thoughts on “Headaches, Heartaches, and Fear”

  1. Fear is a terrible thing and makes us miss what could be golden opportunities an experiences. Menopause is also a terrible thing which hijacks our bodies and minds. I’m so ready to be done with it, but sadly it’s not done with me.
    😩

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh this is such a good post!! Yes….fear stopped me from trying for a dream, getting divorced from my first husband sooner, etc…great and timely piece!!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. This is heart-breaking, Kari. So sorry that you’ve been derailed by fears. I can’t imagine. I am so very glad that you are making headway in your journey and taking a different approach. Continued luck in your efforts – I’m confident all of your energy will be rewarded. Many good things heading your way.

    I laughed at your WHAT JOB CAN YOU GET WITH AN ASSOCIATES DEGREE – I have no idea. Bummed that your nursing program didn’t work out for you. You have a lot of compassion and a sense of humor. I think you would’ve made a great nurse. I guess you can say that I wanted to be a nurse (or technically my dad wanted me to be a nurse and when I was younger and impressionable it was hard to separate what my parents wanted for me and what I wanted), but I pass out so easily that I decided I couldn’t handle it. Look at us – two almost nurses. 😉 I would’ve been the kind of nurse that handed someone their IV and asked them to insert it while I turned away.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Well with an associate’s in applied science for radio/tv/film and an associate’s in specialized technology for animation and media arts…I am working two decades as a Digital Archivist for the library sector…So I wholeheartedly agree that associate’s degrees essentially open doors their not intended to open.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s fantastic news! Mine was more focused on the medical side. My oldest daughter asked me yesterday if I had ever considered going back to school to become a nurse, and I told her no. I don’t think I knew what I wanted at that time, so it’s possible that was the Universe redirecting back then.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Here’s what I get from this post. While you may have some regrets about what you didn’t do, it is because you didn’t do those things that you have the opportunity now to write your book. So like most of us who didn’t get what we thought we wanted out of life, we got what we needed. Feeling philosophical here, for what it’s worth.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh yes, I was much to afraid to go away to college and instead commuted. I let fear keep me from a lot of things– small things like attending pool parties or field trips with friends and then big things like international travel and applying for jobs I wanted but thought I’d never get. Fear and anxiety do seem to go hand in hand don’t they? It’s only as I’ve gotten older (and wiser I hope!) that I’ve been able to combat both of them.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. What a wonderful post. I too am fighting through fears with my life. Driving I have terrible anxiety. That limits my world. In writing I have great ideas for stories and projects and fight picking up the phone to make connections and interview my subjects. I didn’t have these fears pre menopause.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Oh, it’s probably on my end. On some devices it works well, and on others it doesn’t. (Boo.)

        What I said earlier is that this post gives us so much to think about. It’s hard to know when fear is a driver, because some things that look fear-based aren’t, and others that might seem brave aren’t. (I’ve both married and divorced from both places.) It also makes me think about how fear can be a useful thing, keeping us away from dangers. But I know you’re talking about anxiety-fueled fear, which is a liar in the same way that depression is.

        Like Ally, I hope you can see those previous experiences as something important in getting you to where you are now. In general, I think we are all where we are supposed to be, and things happen when they are supposed to. Doesn’t always feel like it at the time, but when I look back on my life that feels true.

        Can’t wait to see where your growing self takes you. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I’m reading a really good book, and when I opened the chapter this morning, the title was Fear. LOL, I’m surrounded by it.
        I used to be resentful of my fear but I’m looking at it differently. This is a daily life lesson, which is why mindfulness is beneficial to me. Some days are amazing while others aren’t. I believe this is why soul homework (aka- reading non-fiction books) is helping me stay on track.

        I’m excited to see where it takes me, too. 🙂

        Like

  7. Fear and anxiety go hand-in-hand. I’ve been this way since I was a little girl, too. I’m working on both though…and I’m finally getting professional help. Just recently started seeing a therapist. Thank you for your openness and honesty in this post!

    xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Holy mackerel: Obstacles ARE the path. *mind blown* How amazing is that?
    There are a lot of things I know I could be good at, or accomplish, but there was always a fear of NOT succeeding, so Suz, don’t even try.
    *sigh* It’s not just you Kari.

    I am SO glad that you are coming to the realization of so many things and this is the root of it all. There is NO stopping you now. This reminds me of Dorothy: You had the power all along.
    XOXO

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Aw Kari. It breaks my heart to read about the pain you have endured and the regrets you have. I am so proud of you for fighting to find a way through! You are marvelous!

    And it is so big to realize what stops you from achieving what you want and to also decide to live in the now. Looking back on the past with regret can suck it! 🙂

    Weirdly…. For me, fear & even anxiety are actually helpful advice from my subconscious, my intuition, my gut. Weird I know, right? But there u go. My amygdala should totally play the stock market. I’ve learned to listen to my fears bc those forkers are often eerily insightful. But that’s me.

    That is the best part of getting older – knowing yourself and your quirks. Also looking around and thinking – this is enough. What I have right now is wonderful. I’m going to appreciate it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re gonna laugh. I heard you saying, “you are marvelous” in Billy Crystal’s voice and it is everything right now. I feel like you will get that reference.

      Not at ALL weird. I am learning how to use fear as my partner in that way. As a friend and not an enemy.

      Like

  10. I didn’t finish an education degree to avoid student teaching and decided to go to law school instead. I had no idea how tough and intense it would be, but survived and graduated, practiced for a few years and ended up teaching law. Looking back I realize how fear led me to a very difficult graduate degree. But finishing it, and passing the bar exam (the only thing I found worse than that test was childbirth without an epidural!) gave me confidence that I was lacking.

    I hope your soul work and meditation continue to help. They sound like wonderful antidotes to fear based decisions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love how you were trying to avoid teaching and ended up teaching. ❤️

      Thank you, Sally. I’m so grateful to have your perspective and comments. I’m glad you’re part of my blog family. 😘

      Like

  11. Congratulations on your progress! It comes down to first making the decision to do the (self) work and then actually going ahead and doing it, all the time not knowing where it will lead. This whole process can be pretty scary!

    Looking back, which I have been forced/driven to do a lot lately, I could possibly say that fear held me back in my early 20s, mainly from putting myself in front of new people. I just now realized that I feared how they would see me as, in my mind mainly, an overweight and therefore not very attractive person. This need to look good in other people’s eyes I know came from my mom’s fear that I would never get married. That is also what drove me to therapy and to realize that it was more important to be pleasing or at least acceptable to myself than to anyone else. This realization got me past that fear and took me to a lot of good places in my life. Recently that self-confidence petered out and now I am looking/preparing to build it back up again to take me to some other new and fulfilling places.

    To get that reboot going I am trying to look back to before the bad times to note the good things that came out of taking the chances I took, to realize and appreciate everything I got from it, most of which I still have and would not have had otherwise. One of those things is that I got through menopause almost before I realized it. Based on these comments I can se how lucky I was in that respect and am grateful for it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! And thank you for your encouraging words.

      Your story is one I wish I had read 20 years ago. It’s really tough to avoid living in a world of should-haves and could-haves. You are living proof that conquering your fears can lead to some of the most incredible experiences. Thank you for sharing your story here. It will serve as a reminder to continue facing my fears in the future. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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