Whenever I feel like getting depressed, it usually helps to look at pictures of the world – of people – nature – everything.
Pictures that remind me of beauty. Like … Unsplash. But really, there are lots of places on the ‘net.
And in the world.
The trick is to remember that you need to look for them, whenever you feel that shadow coming into your heart.
One thing I learned at hospital many years ago, and after I got out, is that you can’t win by waiting for the perfect solution to come up before you act.
You have to act, step by step, to do something that works. In other words: If you feel like 90 per cent crap and you go do the dishes because that is all you can muster the energy to do, then that is better than sitting and trying to think of the perfect solution.
What to do to heal all your wounds, use all your time for the best, etc.
Think about that before you act, and you can think a long time.
If it really is the case that a shadow is still in me and very deeply so, then I ask for the help of you – universe, God, etc. –
help me break free from it.
As soon as possible.
If you need something – money, validation, etc. – then it can be hard to create.
Creation springs from a feeling of abundance. There are already so many ideas and visions that you want to ‘get out’.
If you are caught up in fear that you don’t fulfill your need – any need – by not creating, then you automatically diminish your ability to create from that place of abundance.
Because you step into another place, another mindset, another feeling – which is not abundant. Not brimming with ideas. Not open to inspiration. Not open at all.
It is closed and looking for a way out to satisfy the fear.
So that is worthy practicing if you are a creator of any kind – starting to create without any needs at all!
Now, I don’t know of course if this kind of self-hate is the same as yours, in substance or in strength, but surely there is a familiarity.
Those feelings must spring from somewhere, and IMO it is very much the same source, so to speak. Something inside is broken and needs fixing. Medication can help but it has side-effects and it is NOT a cure. See a health professional about this, but make sure you see more than one.
What helped me was, to some extent, therapy but mostly therapy I trained myself to habituate – i.e. I learned how to think differently. All the time.
To stop the hateful thoughts and replace them with something else. Cognitive behavioral therapy, I believe it is called – and it was a self-made variation thereof I used, with some help from therapists.
But what I would really like to point out is that I did not seriously commit myself to this kind of therapy, including the 24/7 practice (which was the most important) before I realized, deeply, that my current status quo would lead to self-destruction.
You can fill in the blanks there … But I realized that I hurt myself and that ultimately it would not do me any good to continue.
Whatever it was inside me that apparently believed I would do something or other that I, well, needed by hating myself … that illusion was dispelled and I could finally seek help.
… to remember that when you feel despair about something, then it can stop that feeling long enough for you to take constructive action, if you ask yourself a question:
‘Does this help me change the situation I despair about – that I continue feeling despair?’
(Hint: The answer is never ‘yes’.)
That somehow seems to shake me enough to feel up to acting.
It would really be a great help, and steady a lot of things, if one of us got a steady, high-paid job – after years of uncertainty here. And now with Jay along.
So of course there is fear it won’t come anyway. Or ever.
But … perhaps that fear just has to be accepted. Lived with.
I mean, I can write all sorts of good things about how we are just going to press on if things don’t turn out as we hope.
But before that … how about just accepting the fear instead of fighting it?
It is not easy. But I will try. I think it actually helps.
As I get older I find that I still struggle with fears, perhaps more so than before – fears that come out of nowhere.
But, I suppose, founded in reality. Or potential reality.
Fear of growing old, dying suddenly, getting ill, becoming handicapped, losing Char or Jay like that, etc.
Those and other fears. But the physical ones – about physical danger – seem more pertinent. They circle like shadows of sharks.
I have before berated myself for those fears, but as I grow older I also find that the only way to deal with them properly is to accept them completely.
And then use the rest of the time to the best of my ability, regardless whether the fears come true or not.
It is difficult but it is the only way. Otherwise you get a vicious circle with fear of … fear.
And I could say the same about a lot of other sharks.
What it is that we can come closer to that makes life stronger, despite the outward signs that it becomes frailer and closer to an ending?
What is it that makes life worth living for, even more?
I have an ex-friend who has now more or less walled himself in. He sits in his apartment all day long. He is a pensioner. He has the occasional cancer-scare, too.
He has some reasons, yes, but overall it has, I will argue, been his own choice to give up and just wall himself in and not reach out for any other life qualities than safety.
Which he can never completely have? How safe is it sitting and watching TV and waiting not to get cancer?
Maybe he won’t get it, but in terms of having a good life experience I think my mother is better at finding that path that makes her life feel stronger, despite all the shadows that chase it.
I have heard that you should always make economic decisions with your head, not your heart. I suppose that goes for decisions about how and where and when to save, and not just where to spend.
The chemo choice is not about managing cancer, it is about managing fear. And that I know for sure.
And that is something I will use all my resources to help her with, because as long as there is life and no reason to believe it ends soon then that should be a life fully lived, not half lived. And a life half lived is a life in fear.
Or conflict. So no calls to my brother trying to persuade him to be less harsh with my mother. I’m not even sure he was “harsh” – maybe just blunt. And, of course, afraid on her behalf – of her making the wrong choice. But my mother made it sound, well, different … “I think he thought I was crazy” she said on the phone.
Well, that I hardly think my brother thought, much less said. But it just goes to show how vulnerable my mother is right now.
But fortunately, that is, as far as we know anything else, an emotional vulnerability. There is nothing more physical for the moment.
And that is what we must face. And deal with.
Management of fear, not cancer.
Although the two tend to be closely related.
But it is good to keep that in mind, what it is really about – when you try to help.
It is about that – and so it is about my mother’s peace of mind.
So no calls to my brother.
The point is, I am convinced by now more than ever, to continually ask ourselves – what is it about our experience of life that we can continually make better and brighter, no matter circumstances and conditions which appear unchangeable? No matter, that life will end?
What is it?
We will have to find out – all over again.
Fear is an integral part of human life and it doesn’t matter that we are no longer living on the savanna looking over our shoulders all the time for saber tooth tigers. It doesn’t matter if we – as I do – have a more or less comforting spiritual world view and accompanying experiences (or beliefs that we have had certain experiences that confirms this view). It doesn’t matter if we are generally endowed with a very strong psychic condition whether from nature or from training, as certain special troops in the military many have, for example.
Fear is not something you eliminate from life. Even Jesus feared the cross. Joan of Arc feared the fire. We fear all the time.
Fear is not something you eliminate from life. It is something you learn to live with in better and better ways.
And fortunately, it is possible to do so and still have a good life.
So the list is long – of things we can still do to get ready to make the birth as little as an ordeal as possible, to the degree we believe it is possible to control pain and anxiety of an even that is as natural and old and beyond human control as anything. To get ready for that, and for the many strange and extraordinary things we’re going to have to deal with as newly minted not-quite-so-spry parents.
But sometimes … like tonight I find myself thinking that it’s okay to have a little faith and not be obsessive about all that, and just relax and watch a movie.