Fear’s Greatest Enemy

Brandon Garland
5 min readDec 9, 2020

2020 has been a great year for me. I know that sentence is odd to read- it felt weird and slightly wrong to type. But it has been.

My (at the time) girlfriend Maya moved to Charlotte and started an internship in the beginning of 2020. Maya and I got engaged in March 2020. As Covid made doing things outside the house nearly impossible, I got to spend an incredible amount of time with my family. And my family got to spend more time with Maya than they ever would have in a “normal” year. Then, in July 2020, I got married. Now, Maya and I both serve at the same church. Many of the most pivotal, significant moments in my life happened in 2020. For that reason, 2020 has been a profoundly good year.

I write that knowing that 2020 has been a hard year for many. I don’t mean to diminish that. I just want to set the scene for the rest of the piece.

Marriage has been, to me, a greater blessing than I even imagined it would be. There is an experience of love, care and closeness that I’ve never had before. There’s a level of being known and knowing of the other person that is incomparable. 2020 has provided incredible blessing.

But, in the middle of all this blessing, to be uncomfortably transparent, I’ve never experienced more fear than I have this year. I had a roughly 3 week period before, during and directly after our wedding where I felt odd, physically. I had some weird symptoms, like a perceived lack of feeling on the right side of my body compared to my left. I had what felt like some mental fogginess. I did exactly what you should never do: I googled my symptoms. And as a result, I genuinely convinced myself that I had a certain degenerative disease.

So, I saw my doctor. She didn’t think there was anything too problematic going on, but she told me that she’d refer me to a neurologist if it’d make me feel better. Never one to sit back, Maya and I went. And I was worried; I had convinced myself I’d hear bad news. Oh, and the doctor I went to happened to be a specialist in the disease I’d talked myself into having.

I shared my symptoms with him, and I also told him that in the past, I had sometimes unintentionally imagined myself experiencing things that I wasn’t actually experiencing (once, when I was 11, my favorite baseball player, David Ortiz, was diagnosed with…

Brandon Garland

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