Tuesday, 24 May 2011

The only thing we have to fear...

Sometimes I have these strange attacks of fear that leave me breathless and confused. My mind literally feels alien to me and there is uncomfortable sensation of not belonging in my own head. The worst part of it is the knowledge that these moments of anxiety are all self induced. I'm sitting at my desk and suddenly I feel...unlike myself. I start to worry that those feelings are mental problems, from there I start to imagine the mental problems I could possibly have and I have to forcibly push those thoughts from my mind and focus on something else in order to avoid becoming more worked up and anxious.

Then, the fact that I have to avoid these thoughts starts to worry me and I wonder if this is something I'll battle with for the rest of my life and whether I'll have the endurance to spend the rest of my existence constantly denying negative fears that seem to prey on my mind.

I sat down at work during a down time and tried to put my finger on what exactly it is that scares me.

Number one is having the person I care about the most leaving me, even though he has reiterated over and over, again and again, telling me he will come back and he loves me. I woke up at 4:30 this morning and he wasn't there; suddenly I was seized with fear that he was hurt somewhere or had simply decided he didn't want to be with me.

The number two thing I'm scared of is becoming mentally unstable or insane (even though we have no family history of such a thing happening. I used to be irrationally scared of having HIV and now I'm fixating on something else. Why the hell do I do this to myself?? Why do I allow myself to get so caught up in these stupid worries that only drive me crazy!

So sometimes I lay in bed freaking out internally that things are going to spin out of control beyond what I can handle or that he'll leave or that I'll be diagnosed with some random disease...just all these ridiculous things that I realize in the light of day are just that--ridiculous.

Which brings me to two quotes that I feel the need to meditate and consider thoughtfully as I slowly come to grips with all these worries:

There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear: because fear has torment. He that fears is not made perfect in love.
-1 John 4:18

Which reminds me that God's love for us is perfect and only God does not fear. As humans we all have that natural sense of fear, whether it's for the well being of the ones we love or for ourselves or just a general sense of malaise... The tricky part of it is learning that fear itself can bind us up and cripple us, fear becoming worse than the thing we're afraid of, bringing me to my next quote that Franklin D. Roosevelt repeated during his inaugaral speech in 1933 regarding the Depression which had impacted America:

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance...

The quote "We have nothing to fear but fear itself" was originally coined by Francis Bacon, a philosopher from the 1500s who said with such conviction:

Nothing is to be feared but fear itself. Nothing grievous but to yield to grief.

I guess what I'm slowly learning every day that is this: I cannot allow myself to get caught up in these morbid fears that prey on my mind. I've been given so much and have many things to be grateful for; perhaps focussing on contentment and happiness will enable me to move from living in fear to living fully and victoriously. Even though many of my religious viewpoints have changed in the past year, I know with my heart that God, the God I've chosen to believe in, cares about us and wants us to live our lives awake and completely. The answer to these thoughts that negatively affect my mind and physical state may be that I not only need to focus on the good things I have--I also need to focus on God and the plans that He has for me.

Here's to hoping that the future will burn even brighter than it does now.

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