Sunday, September 30, 2012

Fight Club

Though we're still recovering from the attack and will be for a while, life must go on. Hard truths haven't been in short supply over the last few years. We mourn our dead and tend our wounded even as we work and learn to laugh again. More and more it becomes clear that despite our hope for a more unified society there will always be those who tear down what others try to build. Because of that I don't know that there will ever be a time that we aren't in recovery of one kind or another.

I spent a good chunk of my morning getting my face rearranged. I'm doing the combat training as promised, and those ladies and gentlemen aren't playing nice with me. I need that. One-on-one sparring with no pulled punches is definitely something that wakes you up in more ways than one.

This morning was the first time since my incident that I felt some kind of fire rise up in me when I needed it. I actually did a little bit of fighting when the wall breaches were being swarmed by zombies, but that was mostly cleanup work behind a shield. Hard to feel angry when you're doing what has become routine work while others take point and fill the gap with their bodies.

No, this morning I got mad and didn't for a moment feel the specter of anxiety or depression creeping in on me. I was fighting my third bout of the morning against a woman named Faye who is whip-fast, slender, and very good at quick strikes to vital areas. We're under orders not to let our fights disable, but that doesn't mean they can't hurt a lot. Faye has a thing for light kidney strikes as a distraction. Nowhere near enough to make me piss blood or do any real damage. They just hurt like hell.

She also used a lot of taunting. Most people wouldn't bother since talking in combat is a distraction to the one speaking as much as the listener. Faye is a lot faster than I am, though. She could get away with it. She must be one of the people here that regularly read this blog, because everything she said mirrored my own personal fears.

How would I protect Jess if I had to, if I couldn't fight properly? Then a flare of pain in my back. If I feel bad now, how terrible would it be if I allowed a child to die because I hesitated? Another strike and more pain.

On and on for several minutes like that. Faye knew her business, because I started getting really angry. At first I thought it was directed at her, but I recognized the truth quickly. It was all me. As trite as it sounds, I was furious at myself for allowing my depression to overwhelm my priorities. I let the anxiety control my actions. The most frustrating part, what truly fueled that rage into something cathartic, was knowing that I literally had no control over either. I was raging out over something I knew intellectually I couldn't have overcome.

You can't just choose not to have a panic attack. You can teach yourself to lessen their intensity and duration by harsh mental discipline, but they happen. You can't think yourself out of depression so bad it keeps you in bed. It's a chemical process.

But I've spent the last month healing. Lots of time put in with therapy and building a framework for long-term recovery. I should have been able to strike out those feelings, push them down when needed.

Compelled by the truth in what Faye said to me, I did. I didn't just respond to her attacks. I felt the urge to live, to fight, to protect. Whatever instinct drives us to do stupidly brave things while ignoring the overwhelming possibility of death and failure...I rediscovered mine. I don't know how else to explain it. I feel complete for the first time in many months, if not whole. Sounds like a contradiction, I know, but a circuit can be complete and still be made of worn-out and damaged wires. That's me.

Pretty sure I'm ready to take on whatever dangers we might face. I need to. I need to know if what I'm feeling isn't just the thrill of finally taking the offensive in a tussle with a woman half my size or if it's a genuine watershed. There has to be a way to know.

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