When we think about fighting dragons we picture heroes and knights and warriors. We picture swords and shields, spears and armor. We feel excitement, anticipation and fear. The battle is filled with action, suspense and violence. We cheer for who we think should win and feel intensely for the outcome. The reality is so different.
I’m NOT Brave
I have talked a lot about Bip the bipolar dragon and how hard it is to live with her. I’ve only mentioned Pots, the Post Traumatic Stress Dragon. Fighting one dragon was hard enough, but fighting two was too more than I could do. I did a lot of hiding when it was just Bip. It was easier than fighting. When Pots came along I discovered that I could not hide from two dragons. While hiding from one, the other would sniff me out. The anxiety and panic grew with each passing day.
Bip is a large black dragon covering everything in the shadow of depression. The darkness swirled around her like a living creature. Pots is a large crimson dragon filled with anger, selfishness and fire. Both dragons like to hide in the dark recesses of my mind waiting for me. I can taste the fear.
To Fight Is To Die
It takes a lot of energy and stamina to fight a dragon. I had been fighting Bip for two decades when Pots came onto the scene and was already exhausted. As Pots made himself known I thought I was losing my mind. The more I fought the less of me there was. As the darkness and fear began to cradle me my soul cried out in desperation. There was only one thing that I could do and I did it. I put my mind and body on automatic pilot and curled up inside myself and cried.
My body went through the motions of daily living. My mind was the autopilot that kept the schedules and routines going. My heart reached out to my children but couldn’t always touch them. I just wanted the pain to end. My body was tired but more importantly I was soul weary and just wanted to be done. To fight would be to die, but to live was almost worse.
I had to make peace with my dragons. It would not be easy and it would be the most frightening and painful thing I have ever done. The question was, would I survive the negotiation. I was forced to confront both Bip and Pots, face-to-face, at the same time. I was terrified and exhausted. They were enormous, angry and hulking over me.
Even though the anxiety and panic were higher than ever before I could at least accept what was and, with the help of doctors, name my dragons. It is amazing what you can do when you know who your enemy is. I was able to befriend my tormentors. I accepted their tantrums. I admired their strength. I stood by and watched them fight each other over who would consume me first.
Author’s Note: While this was the most difficult time in my life I had good support and, with time, the medications prescribed began to work. As my dragons began to slow down I could cope better with life in general. The medication never got rid of them. It didn’t even put them to sleep. It did, however, slow them down allowing me time to start to heal.