Fear of feeling: avoidance of pain and denial of life

Sadness and deep trouble–like a chili bubbling on the stove; a feeling of being out of control and anxious for what might come. We can wish time away, desperate to feel more often. Why else do people risk hurting someone they love with an affair? Sometimes we can desire the pain that made adolescence so vivid, we wish that the feeling of being alive was more common. In a sense it is wishing to feel something out of the ordinary, something that was of spontaneity‘s creation rather than routine’s.

But then comes the second part of the process: the arrival of the feeling one has lusted after. Cognitive behavioural therapy posits that there is an interpretation of danger over depression or sadness. But the perception is the key to the cycle. What is it that one is feeling? Fear of the danger of being weak and in confrontation? Is it a masochistic introspection that generates adrenaline? Does it give us a buzz? A thrill? We watch TV, film and theatre; we get addicted to boxsets and binge watch seasons of shows. But it is not real and whilst this is a truism, it has a profoundness that it is easy to miss: we pay to feel. But realise that the feeling is false! We put our own experiences outside of ourselves and watch from afar. Watch from safety. But life is not safe, and life does not happen at a distance.

Comfort: the antithesis of pain, the sponge of life. As the daylight disappears before 4 o’clock, primal impulses to nestle grow. And in so doing we erect a shield, a buffer or a safety net. If we continue through life with a distance and a moat between ourselves and our experience then we are denying ourselves the joys of the human condition.

What we ought to do, is bring our two eyes into focus: our animal instinct and our abstract awareness. We ought to look through both eyes at the same time, at the same thing, and see the entirety and understand that nothing beyond matters.

My Goldfish Flutters

Hanging from a hook
under my heart; 
a goldfish in a bag 
from a fairground in my teens. 
If always it was there, 
and since then I learned its words, 
or it grew in response, 
I don't know. 
It makes no difference 
that hormones settled.
It pays no mind 
to victories since.

I sit here
and its tail flutters,
uncoded in my blueprints: 
the miracle balance 
of bone and muscle. 
She tells me it's a construct 
of wayward associations 
but my truth 
is my life 
and I'm here 
because I lived it. 

So take my truth 
and take my past
and leave a child. 
And I'd love to loosen 
but the handrail 
I've warmed so nicely. 
And I guess that it's true 
what they say 
about change, 
and age. 

But I'm not living enough for one 
and my orange friend makes two. 
So he flutters; 
and my world shakes.

Anxiety, life and a quote from Anaïs Nin

Anxiety is a completely natural reaction to a completely unnatural way of living. But if you’re blessed with a stable ground then appreciate it because that’s as blessed as one can be in our world – take it and run. Don’t allow yourself to be painted with the thick black tar because it’s fucking hard to get clean. Faith is hard in our cynical, agnostic world.

With or without the black dog have faith in yourself and the promise that with positivity comes positivity. We can be our own light in dark times. Love yourself. Trust yourself.

“Anxiety is love’s greatest killer. It makes others feel as you might when a drowning man holds
on to you. You want to save him, but you know he will strangle you with his panic.”
– Anaïs Nin