Support Group Jitters

I’m gutted by groups.

As I lurk awkwardly, battling the urge to bolt, the remaining strangers meet, beam, chat, laugh and connect. Stuck quaking on the outside of the quickly bonding group, my panic grows, my force field thickens. I’m too mortified now to function at all.

Seeing I’m “shy”, the group may kindly coax me. Ouch. Or toss me to the bottom of their fresh echelon.

I wonder how they do it. And why I can’t. I vow not to “group” myself again.

Yet, today I join the Stepping Stones support group.

So, move over group-phobia. Here comes fear of grief, fear of germs, fear of other women’s fear. Fear of drama. Fear of bravado. Fear that some of us will die.

Will I give myself a break? Will I let myself engage? Will I help and be helped by other recently diagnosed women?

I’ll soon find out…

What, Me Worry?

I’ve biked across this country, coast to coast. I’ve spoken hard truths, when most wouldn’t dare. I’m not afraid of the things that don’t scare me……It’s just that most things do.

Fear of failure, fear of injury, fear of judgment, fear of change. Fear of rejection, fear of responsibility, fear of being misunderstood, fear of loss. I’ve bypassed a lot in life, thanks to fear.  I’ve shed vats of tears and spent hours in anguish replaying hurtful scenarios and guarding myself from social snipes. I’ve lived small and safe. I’ve let fear rule.

Yet, here I am dealing with a life-threatening disease — facing surgeries, injections, toxic chemicals, long-term side effects, loss of income, mortality — and I’m taking it pretty well. I’ve cried more over a single nasty coding bug and anguished more over any of a million family affronts than I have during this entire challenge to date.

And almost daily I’m told I’m brave.

Is it the lack of malicious-intent? The lack of choice? The fabulous team that’s supporting me?
Who knows?

My social anxiety certainly remains intact and  I still get stung by the handful of relatives who continue to snipe or snub me. As much as I’d like to, I haven’t really changed since my diagnosis.

I can’t explain it.  But I sure am grateful.