I have found that talking about growing up with Bip is emotionally and mentally exhausting. While I try to focus on the good memories, the shadows still frighten me.
We’ve all heard the saying, “Just because you are paranoid does not mean they aren’t out to get you.” Living with a dragon is like feeling you are being watched. All the time.
The difference is, the watcher is hiding behind the thoughts in your head. It is like seeing something in your peripheral vision, but it disappears when you turn to look at it.
I could feel the size and the weight of the dragon, but it would disappear in a wisp of smoke every time I tried to look at it closely. It was like having a dark ghost hovering around the edges of my conscious mind.
This can be very frightening and disconcerting. Especially if you do not know who or what is watching you. Your imagination can often make it out to be worse than it is. It can also make it much less than it is.
Either way, the fear is real.
When people watch you, you can often feel the “tone” of the watching. Your partner looks at you in a way that makes you feel all tingly. Someone gives you a look that says, “Really?!” Someone looks at you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. You get “the look” from one of your parents.
I could feel Bip’s hunger as she waited. I could feel the anticipation, like a child waiting for cookies to come out of the oven. I knew that if she found me it would mean pain and darkness. I felt fear in the very depths of my being.
Bip wanted the real me. The truth that I had tucked safely away into the deepest recesses of my heart. The darkness that was her would consume me utterly if I was found.
It was like playing hide-n-seek, but if I lost it would mean destruction. Every thought and word were closely watched and carefully evaluated by the dragon in my head. These were the clues being used to find me. Could I truly be me and still hide from the ever-seeking shadow?
I could feel the hot breath through the cracks in the door as I huddled in my hiding place. Peeking through the key hole all I could see was a swirling, living darkness. The fear threatened to steal away my sanity as I struggled to quiet the painful thudding of my heart.
Lashing Out in Frustration
I cannot say how many times I held my breath while Bip sniffed around my hiding place. It got to the point where she had found the area but not the exact hiding place.
I could hear Bip’s claws on the floor as she searched. I could hear her scales as they unknowingly scraped across the door. I could feel the ground shake as she lashed about with her tail.
What I feared most was her roar. As she voiced her frustration, the sound would vibrate the very air causing my heart to stop. It did not start beating again until echoes of Bip’s roaring had subsided.
I knew that she was getting closer and closer to finding my hiding place and that one day I would be discovered. What would I do then? I would fight, but so much of me had already been consumed by the dragon that I had little strength left. I knew if she found me I would die.
While this is obviously dramatized, the sensations and emotions are real. The fear and exhaustion dominated my life for a very long time. The darkness of depression was slowly eating away at my thoughts and blanketing my feelings.
- What was this thing in my head?
- Why was it watching me?
- How could it be so big, and I still not see it?
- Why did I feel so threatened?
These are questions I asked myself on a daily basis. Most of the fear I felt was because I did not know what was wrong with me. How do you find help if you cannot identify the problem?
Not knowing can be 100 times worse that knowing.