Last night I googled ‘how to talk about your feelings’ which is hilarious because – its me! I’m always talking openly about my life. In fact, in previous blogposts I’ve talked about suffering with depression, feelings of anxiety, suicide attempts and relationship issues. I spent a long time last night skimming through article after article of understanding fears and expressing feelings. I learnt that I’m completely comfortable blogging about them because I’m not having a conversation with anyone in particular; in fact, I feel like I’m just talking to myself, which is great. No conflict. No one to tell me that my feelings are bad, or silly. Or that I’m pathetic and stupid. That is what I am most afraid of.
I already know that most of my fear stems from intimacy, I’ve had counselling and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) in the past to help combat this. I remember being terrified by something my therapist told me. She said the best thing for intimacy fear – is intimacy… she said that being in a safe, secure relationship – one that shows me not all people are bad – will be most helpful. I tried this. It didn’t work out.
So, I’m back to square one and it’s frustrating because I felt like I was making good progress, which I am still optimistic about. However, I know I have a lot more work to do now and I’m exhausted from continuously trying to move forward. This continuous circular endeavour reminds me of a Virginia Woolf quote:
“Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end.”
Life is one great cycle of shit! A luminous halo is perhaps a little more poetic. Either way, I believe that everything is connected and we’re all going round in a loop. The path is not always clear, we experience happiness and sadness in waves, nothing is a constant state of mind – and that’s okay. It helps to put this into perspective when I find myself struggling to accept my circumstances. It also helps to write about how I’m feeling, especially as I struggle to vocalise it.
Sometimes I feel completely suffocated by anger and fear, almost as if there’s a tangible block stood before me, stopping me from moving forward…
I have a Susan Jeffers book (my counsellor recommended me) called Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway; a life motto, almost. I often refer back to this when I feel stuck. It kicks me back into reality and really helps me to understand that: This Is It. This is all we have. Right Here. Right Now. I cannot hold back forever, and I won’t miss out on things that have the potential to be amazing because I’m too chicken shit scared to do them. Fucking, yolo n that (I’ve read so many self help books that I’m starting to think I should write my own).
Jeffers suggests ‘that while inability to deal with fear may look and feel like a psychological problem, in most cases it isn’t.’ She believes ‘it is primarily an education problem, and that by reeducating the mind, you can accept fear as simply a fact of life rather that a barrier to success.’ She goes on to teach and ‘experiment with taking the concept of fear out of the realm of therapy and placing it in the area of education’ and found that her students were ‘amazed at how shifting their thinking magically reshaped their lives’.
I’ve been working on this change myself and am starting to notice what triggers my fear and what I can do to help it. Again, it’s a cycle of ups and downs, and more ups and more downs… etc, etc.
I think you can either let fear control you or let it guide you. And I think the fact that I sat up for two hours last night googling ‘how to’s’ suggests I want it to start guiding me instead of being burdened by it and running away. I’ve been burdened by it, got the t-shirt, had it signed; the whole lot. So now it’s time for change. I mean, come on, Em, you’re a fighter. You got this.
I got this.
– peace and love, Emily ox