Listening with Love #2: Learning to Love
Warm greetings to all of you.
I've been grappling with fear for some time and wished to seek your perspectives on it. (trigger warning: Mental Health issues)
After going through multiple episodes of anxiety and depression, a fear has developed towards the oncoming of more such episodes as it makes me feel drained and lonely and turns my world upside down without any guarantee of how long it's going to last. I have taken therapy, and it has helped a lot, but the fear is there and gets triggered by experiences of intense emotions, even if they are just fleeting. The fear makes me want to escape from the emotions, therefore, making me feel distant from myself.
Any suggestions on how I can make sense of the fear and help myself deal with it? Thank you for listening.
~ Learning with Love
There may be a lack of understanding of why the series of anxiety and depression attacks were there.
If the therapy has helped you understand the root cause of all that has happened till now, then you require some acceptance. Since the patterns are strong, it may take time to come out of the patterns and there will be intense triggers sometimes.
However, if the root cause is not yet clear, even acceptance will not work as it will be superficial. Therefore the working of mind-body mechanism, the root cause of emotions, has to be understood in depth so that you come to a point of acceptance. Also, you keep implementing the learnings so that the patterns become weak with time.
Dear Learning to Love,
Thank you for sharing about your fears of fear itself! It is very real, and it grips each of us in different ways.
I see fear as a child who is craving attention in the classroom. When I try to avoid fear, I set myself up for even worse tantrums that disrupt my class.
Maybe, your fear sees itself as the most ignored of all the strong emotions that you are tentative about. It is seeking its fair share of love, without which it is bound to cause outbursts. The illusory peace that distraction or avoidance brings is replaced by a far stronger turmoil every now and then. Thus, I have learned there is no hiding from fear.
When we greet it like an old friend, it automatically creates space for other emotions in our life; it gives us the space we need to heal.
Everything you fear is rooted in probability. Everything you don't do out of fear is a missed opportunity or wasted potential. We learn to live with fear not by avoiding things but by doing the things we avoid. Try one new thing every week and then stay with whatever arises with you! So go out there - smell the flowers, commit to new experiences, and express what you haven't expressed before.
I wish you courage in your heart and compassion for yourself as you navigate all the emotions that arise in you!
Dear Learning to Love,
The fact that you're referring to yourself as someone who is learning to love speaks a lot about your openness and desire to learn to love yourself. That sounds like a wonderful start to embracing all the parts of you that exist. Hold yourself like a baby - offer words of endearment to your fears, worries and joys. They are here with you now, and it's not forever - the joys and fears.
Whatever you describe, to me, it also feels like you're really exhausted from this situation. Exhaustion can often make us almost forget that we hold within us this expansive capacity to be resilient. You've been through this dark, difficult place before, but more importantly, you have found your way through and out. So maybe, recognise this exhaustion, and offer it some warmth - drink a warm cup of tea, light a candle, take a warm shower or play some instrumental music; then hold your hand and sit down with yourself and speak to yourself or write to yourself. Meet yourself wherever you are - in exhaustion, fear, worry, disgust, distress, joy and happiness.🌸
Also, sharing with you a little something I drew yesterday. I hope you find solace in it. :)
Thank you for sharing this 🙂
I get that, completely, that fear, that sense of exhaustion, that effort to stay away amidst the uncertainty of not knowing if there is going to be another episode if there is how long.
I have an autoimmune condition that is highly unpredictable and uncertain. I don't know when it will get aggravated or when it will reduce, which part of my skin will get affected next, or how I will look if this condition worsens. A grave sense of fear, what if people who love me today stop loving me if my condition gets worse? All I had been doing was hence to keep myself at a safe distance and stay as detached as possible so that their presence or absence makes no difference. Mostly on my own. I also am so disconnected from my physical self ( a recent discovery I had when I started running) long distances.)
I have had some really difficult past experiences too, from being told that I should be touched or neared in grade 3 by an entire set of classmates to being called defective. I have all the reasons to detach and feel small.
Recently, I have been practicing accepting my condition (there is no cure so far for it) and myself. I said this is here to stay, so now what? And that left me with some peace of mind and also allowed me to give some space for people and their love.
While our situations are not the same, I have seen that people are much much bigger and kinder than we think they are, and in fact, it is through some peoples' love (sister, partner, friends) that I am feeling a lot more confident and peaceful with the condition and as you start connecting with people, you start connecting with yourself (my personal experience).
So, in summary, while I had all the reasons to detach from people, I went beyond, and that was cathartic. Also, running and physical exercises made me get reconnected to my physical body beyond this condition and with this condition 🙂
Thanks for sharing this fear. I resonate with it at some level!
About Listening with Love
As a group of community weavers, we have been wondering what it would mean for all of us in the group to share our worries, challenges, joys and fears here with vulnerability and honesty while feeling safe and not feeling the burden of having to reveal ourselves to the group. These may be questions, thoughts or feelings about the past, present, or future; about ourselves, our loved ones or strangers.
Hence, we are starting a new thread called "Listening with Love" to help community members find perspectives on their situation.
If you have something on your mind, you are welcome to share it with us using this form. We will tap into our community's compassion and wisdom on your behalf.