when the fear of being left behind overrides the fear of being with people, i see the courage to change

upon meeting my man, you would never know that he struggles with anxiety and depression.  he seems so good at conversation, jokes and listening.

but it’s a lot of work, he says.  he tells me i have no idea how hard he has to work to be around people.

if he had his way, he’d sit inside the house, in his chair.  his favorite activity is watching detective shows.

but as i get on with my life, and do things that we’re invited to, he tells me he’d rather not.  so i leave him behind, and join my friends. in the past, i’d stay in with him, knowing that’s what he wanted. to be alone with me.

at first it felt weird, not having him with me. over the years i’ve gotten used to it.  at some point, i started hearing him say, ‘it’s really hard for me to be around people, but i’m afraid of you leaving me behind.’

last night he came with me.  it was a BBQ at the beach with friends we’re just getting to know.  they’d invited us last year, and then he just couldn’t make it, so i’d gone without him.  this year he made it.  i didn’t have to push him, i didn’t have to say anything.  he just made it.

it was great. we’re getting to know these folks and as we continue to say ‘yes’, i’m hoping to get to know them even more.  and as i continue to say ‘yes’ to life and all its invitations, i see brian having the courage to do the same, on his terms, on his time line, not mine.  i can’t make him change, he has to want that change himself.

i’m so grateful it’s happening. slowly, but surely.  as i let go of the desire to help him, to nudge him along, he’s finding the courage to take the steps toward change on his own. funny how that works.

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