Denial is everywhere. No, it isn’t. See what I mean? Remember the joke that goes, “Denial is not just a river in Egypt?” Budda-bing! Denial is big business. New-Thought entrepreneurs promote workshops with optimistic titles like, “Unhitching the Yoke of Denial: Unfettered Freedom as the New You.”
My talent in using denial as a blindness newcomer took two forms. First, I denied losing my eyesight. That didn’t last. Walking into door jambs blew my cover. Second, I denied needing to compensate for poor eyesight. I stubbornly held out for the miracle of restored or, at least, stabilized vision. That lasted until I fell into a pothole while my white cane nestled in my briefcase. Shame and pride prevented honesty and the result was denial that led to six weeks on crutches.
Denial is the unwelcome guest. I do not wish it in my resume. It springs, fully formed, from bad news. Shock and trauma precede it, legitimize it. Denial grows seductive. It is self-denying and self-fulfilling. Asserting myself free from it is its own proof.
Having denounced and indicted denial, I must now turn 180 degrees and admit that I need its services. Denial protects me from taking on too much too soon. It is the emotional equivalent of the physical state of shock. Neither mind nor body can assimilate catastrophe in a single dose. “I can’t believe this is happening,” need not be viewed solely as pathological; it is a vital reaction in the service of survival.
Since I’m stuck with denial, I can only try to grow in spite of it. Recognize and moderate it. Maybe the best I can hope for is to accept that denial is normal and necessary. To accept denial is to accept my humanness. What a concept! Denial and acceptance in the same breath. New-thought entrepreneurs would be proud.