By: Morgan Collins
“Quiet the nausea of self-doubt, and take a Pepto Bismol.”
It’s half past midnight and I’m awake. No, I’m not out at a bar having a late night rendezvous with friends. I’m in bed staring at the dark shapes circling on my ceiling. I can feel my pulse pound and my temples throb. A cold sweat soaks my pajamas, and they cling to my clammy skin. My mind races as I try to convince myself that I am awake and not stuck in a nightmare where failure is the only option and the only road leads to nowhere. As the panic resides, I force myself out of bed and grab a glass of water. This is my body on self-doubt.
Self-doubt is sneaky. It pops up when I least expect it. Big test coming up, did I study? Doesn’t matter because self-doubt may show up in the essay portion. Did I really think I was going to finish that screenplay? It’s a waste of time because it wouldn’t be any good. Self-doubt creeps up on me like a chill through an open window. I pull up my collar, toss on a scarf, but it’s still there. It’s a master of disguise. I can never guess how self-doubt will appear next. A whisper from the unconscious beyond? A snide remark from an enemy? A piece of advice from a friend with good intentions but bad perspective? Who knows, but it will come.
I close my eyes, count to ten, and hope the fear resides. “Trust your instincts,” I tell myself. “This isn’t reality.” “Stop talking to your self,” says Self-Doubt. “Now people think you’re crazy.” I can’t escape it. Self-doubt is my shadow, and at night it camouflages itself in the corners of my room, waiting for the moment in between rest and sleep to hijack my brain. It hits me with a fury of pain and pity. I try to run, but I slip and fall down an endless tunnel and think that this is the end. Finally. But then my alarm rings, and the sun rises. I wipe the crust from my eyes and pick up the cover and sheets that ended up on the floor. It’s a new day, and I’m ready to face self-doubt in whatever form it chooses.