The Power of Naming Our Fears
A seed of fear in the back of my mind said, “eventually, he might stop choosing you because of this illness.”
We’d promised one another “in sickness and in health” mere months before my recurrent tumor began impacting our daily lives. Newlyweds thrust into the harsh realities of life, we fought to stay afloat the best we knew how. Together, we made life-changing medical decisions, were one another’s second set of eyes and ears as we met with doctors, considered treatment options, and adjusted to this new path life had put us on. None of it was easy, but we barely had time to linger over our present reality—over the fact that this was not how we’d imagined our first year of marriage. Instead, we simply tried to live through it with brave faces on for one another.
That tiny seed of fear? It didn’t surface right away, but as the months turned into years and there was no end in sight, I’d feel a panic rise within me as the thought entered my mind. Weary from a long day at the hospital after receiving treatment, the seed of fear surfaced. During the moments I had to rely on my husband to cook a meal or clean the house because my body didn’t have the strength, the seed of fear surfaced. When scans revealed new growth after a long period of remission, the seed of fear surfaced.
That seed of fear was always surfacing in my weakness causing me to wonder why my husband would choose to stay. But those fears stayed tucked in my heart—a seemingly safe space for unnamed fears.
Believing my husband was clueless to this inner turmoil, I never gave voice to my fears. I was too embarrassed to share this truth of mine with a husband who always made me feel secure, loved, and taken care of. So instead of giving voice to my fear, I avoided it—certain one day it would go away.
Giving Voice to Our Fears
As the years passed and my husband continued to honor our vows, insecurity deepened as my fear went unnamed.
Only when we decided to invest in marriage counseling did I understand: we can’t deal with what we won’t acknowledge.
The revelation of this truth brought newfound freedom to our marriage in multiple ways. I uncovered that giving voice to my fears didn’t weaken our marriage but created an opening for vulnerability and honesty. Instead of allowing shame to dictate the strength of our marriage, we learned the power of naming our fears and what it meant to fully embrace vulnerability in our weakness.
The truth is, medical trauma impacts a marriage. Taking the first step toward unpacking years of trauma and pausing to rebuild our foundation was hard work — and one of the best decisions we’ve ever made.
Giving voice to our fears within a safe space transformed our marriage.
We aren’t meant to stuff our fears. We aren’t meant to pretend they don’t exist. We can welcome our fears as a way to uncover a deeper truth about ourselves. Fear doesn’t have to be our enemy. Naming our fear can help lead us out of the valleys we encounter and into the light.
For Anyone Struggling With Unnamed Fear
Fear is a struggle for everyone that lives with a rare disease or chronic illness.
If you are struggling to talk about living with a rare disease or chronic illness, I encourage you to take the brave step of contacting a therapist. Whether you need to unpack past medical trauma or deal with it in the present, therapy creates space to process all the challenging pieces of the journey others may not understand.
Rare disease and chronic illness are heartbreaking to navigate when we feel isolated and alone. There is power in bringing your fears to the light. Whether it be with a therapist, a pastor, a family member, or a trusted friend, find a way to voice your fears in a safe space.
Instead of allowing our fears to bubble up shame and feelings of weak faith, may we acknowledge them, may we name them, and may we allow them to open us up to a deeper truth within us.
If you feel ungrounded as you navigate unnamed fear, I’d love to gift you with a copy of Ungrounded. May it be your companion as you pause in God’s presence. Enter your email below and a PDF of the ebook will be on its way to your inbox.
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