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- Anxiety Disorders
Let the Light in ~ Emotional Healing
*I am not a professional or a doctor. This article is written solely from my own experience. When things are more than you can handle alone, please seek help. This information is only for guidance in dealing with difficult times. It's is not a replacement for a professional opinion.*
This photo of the dim light depicts how it physically feels to have a "down" day.
Loss of a Loved One
I know there are plenty of well-written articles by professionals on the subject of grief. This article is not in place of those.
I want to share with you my personal story of grief and survival through it.
My grandmother passed away suddenly. Actually, it wasn't even that no one knew she was going to pass. She had been very ill for an entire decade before her time had come.
It took me years to grieve. Time really does heal wounds. Losing a loved one isn't something you'll "get over".
I heard a story the other day about an employee at a local business. I live in a small town. I've seen this employee many times. The thought never occurred to me to actually ask how her day was going. Shame on me. Because had I asked, I may have found out from her, instead of town rumor, what had happened to her and why she was looking for a new job.
This nice young lady has been working at this local business for years. What I didn't know was that after years of trying, she finally got pregnant, and lost the baby when her pregnancy was well advanced. After the funeral, she took a leave of absence. She was finally strong enough to go back to work and when she did, her fellow co-workers had no patience for her any longer. During her pregnancy, they complained to the "boss" that she had morning sickness too often and needed too many breaks during the day.
When she returned to work after her leave of absence, her boss took her in a separate room and told her, "you've had your time to grieve, now get over it".
Have you ever lost sleep over hurtful words spoken to you by someone you considered a close friend?
Emotional despair comes up through events such as:
- Relationship break-ups;
- Loss of a job;
- Harsh criticism by an employer or someone meaningful to your life;
- Injustice done to you or witnessed by you.
When we are faced with emotional despair, we might look upon our faith to help us through. It's hard to remain strong when inside we are grieving and feel to weak to face another day.
It's hard to go downtown to your favorite places where you once frequented with your ex.
If you've ever lost a job, you know the emotions of anger, resentment, even rage that brew like a storm blowing in from the sea. All the hours and energy you spent and you were replaced like a well-worn winter coat.
It feels hurtful to be stung by harsh words from someone you expect to love you or a boss that acts like they have nothing but dislike for your achievements.
Perhaps you were the victim of injustice. Maybe you were falsely accused, betrayed, belittled. Maybe you witnessed a friend in the same predicament.
All of these circumstances can cause feelings of emotional despair. Feelings of entrapment in your own self. A place you can't escape that you wished your heart had never visited.
When my daughter was four, I went to a shopping mall with my family. I needed to pick up some clothing to replace the ones my children had outgrown. My now ex-husband was watching the children. He was holding my son and my daughter was walking by his side because this store had no shopping carts.
I'm a mother hen. I politely kept reminding him to please not take his eyes off of my daughter. He took this as nagging. He didn't like my persistence, so he decided it was ok that my daughter follow him instead of walking by his side.
When he turned around to ask her if she liked the light-up shoes on display, she was gone.
Having said that, unbelievable panic swept through my entire body. I had no time to cry. I had no time to start drama with him. The only thing I could do was not waste a single moment of time.
Thinking fast, I dropped on my stomach and crawled looking for tiny feet hanging on to the inside of rolling clothing racks. I worked in retail and children love to hide in clothing racks!
Screaming for my daughter, engaging fellow shoppers in my search, I quickly realized I had to alert management.
Dashing to my feet, I ran to the back of the store and yelled in horror that my baby had gone missing. The store manager acted swiftly. Calmly following steps he and his store crew had practiced for months, possibly years, without ever having to put in to action prior to this situation...the store manager started calling code over the loud speaker. Having no idea what that meant, I once again focused on finding my little girl.
Dropping to the floor again and crawling, looking, yelling, listening, all at the same time.
My heart raced so fast, I thought it would explode right there. I knew I had to keep it together to find my daughter.
The entire mall was on lock-down. No one could escape through the massive wire doors. The security system was on. Employees were on high-alert.
With only a description of what my daughter looked like, a store employee came carrying her out from underneath a display rack like a fireman comes out from a burning building ~ a hero.
My little girl was safe.
At that moment, I dropped to my knees and hugged her so tightly I could feel her heart beating. I knew she was safe. Of course, she laughed out loud. She won a great game of hide and seek she thought! Nothing mattered, and her laughter sounded like soothing angel whispers after that terrifying ordeal of searching for a missing child.
All noise drowned out in the sound of my gentle weeping as I held her and so thankful to have her in my arms once again.
This is panic. When your heart beats, the palms of your hands sweat, your body feels cold, you shake from chills yet you are hot enough to break a sweat, you feel sick and there is nothing you can do to prevent the emotional battle within.
Causes of Fear
Lack of experience
Failure/Loss of control
Chain reaction from not doing something
There are many causes of fear. The question to ask yourself is this:
Is the fear validated by reality?
On a scale of 1 to 10, how realistic is the fear?
One being unlikely the fearful idea will ever become real.
Ten being very likely the fearful idea will become your living nightmare.
I can honestly say, I have never experienced ten. That means, I have felt fear (like the story about my daughter missing in the shopping mall), but any fearful idea that has ever crossed my mind has never actually happened. In this example, my daughter wasn't kidnapped or injured. She was hiding. A child's game of hide and seek. My fears were real to me but they were never played out like the visions rolling through my mind during the time it was happening.
I feel a lot of ones.
See Causes of Fear in Table A for example of ones.
Let me illustrate with examples. There are many other reasons people feel afraid. (I am not speaking about being victimized in this context. That is absolutely true and real fear. The examples herein are unrealistic fears caused by unknown things.)
I feel fear when I haven't experienced something before. For instance, when I was hospitalized a while ago, I was afraid of possible painful tests. I didn't have any. My mind saw scary looking hospital tools. My ears heard scary noises from far away hospital rooms. I imagined how painful some of my testing could be. But it was all fear caused by the unknown.
I have also felt fear from unexpected events. For instance, when things aren't planned and sprung on me without warning. I might feel fearful about what the outcome will be like if it isn't a well-received idea to begin with. One time I had a meeting planned. Without notice, I was called in to a director's office and told the meeting was pushed up to five minutes from then. Other people would be attending that I had never met. I felt fear at that moment. I didn't know what to expect. In fact, the meeting turned out in my favor. I had nothing to fear after all.
After leaving a job where I had extensive knowledge, education and training, I landed a new higher-paying job with job hunters fighting over my skills. Yet, I had no experience in the areas of expertise I would be working in. What a scary revelation! I had no idea what I was doing! It worked out wonderful. All of the training I had prior, was actually preparing me for this dream job. I had no idea it would turn out so well. But the lack of experience in the new journey I was embarking on left me fearful of failure.
My final example is a common cause of fear. Missing a bill payment or a mortgage payment can cause a chain reaction especially to someone who has always paid their bills but has fallen on hard times. If you don't pay for oil, you will have no heat in the winter. If you don't pay your electricity bill, you'll have your lights turned off. These things are only in your control as long as you pay your bills on time. The chain events that happen if you don't do your part, are what cause loss of control and result in fear.
When we are faced with obstacles or struggles out of our control, it is natural to feel worried.
There are times we have to face what we would rather not. There are plenty of circumstances where I wish a money tree grew in my back yard. There are times that existing feels unpleasant.
It doesn't mean that you have a permanent condition that only a doctor or a pill can fix.
What it means is that sometimes our realities are not ideal. They are not the reality we would have chosen. It means that we have to go through these times, and endure them, to grow stronger from them.
*Anyone reading this feeling worthless or hopeless that has a medical concern for their mental health should seek professional help. This article is only addressing temporary worries that we all face with life trials. The difference is, if you cannot come out of despair alone, please seek help to overcome it. Life isn't meant to go it alone or to live it by feeling at a complete loss of hope that lasts more than a normal "down" feeling.*
This picture depicts how "relief" physically feels. The light shines brighter.
There are already wonderful articles written by people smarter than I am who have figured out how to overcome all of these feelings or how to overcome obstacles in your life.
The point of this article is to let you in on this hope.
Whatever trial comes your way,
Whenever you feel alone,
Do not be afraid to fail.
Do not be afraid to try.
Do not be afraid to lose control.
Do not be afraid to cry.
You don't have to be strong.
You don't have to worry.
Whatever comes your way, let it come.
Let the light in.
You have to get through it to get on with it. When whatever it is that you are going through feels like there is no way out, remember this:
The light will shine through when it's time.
Same photos as above, illustrating the difference between "despair" and "relief".
Meaning behind the photos.
I was playing with my camera settings one day and noticed the way the light was shining in the window reflected how I was feeling at that moment.
In the first picture, the focus is more on the paint on the walls. The light coming in the window is dim, almost yellow in color.
Whereas, in the second photo. The focus is more on the light shining in the window. The rest of the room is darkened. I could see clearer that my "despair" had passed.
It was after uploading and reviewing these photos that I realized how our moods or perception of reality can dim our inner light.
When I feel any of the emotions I discussed in this article, the light seems dimmer. My visual perception changes when I feel relief.
To illustrate an example of this, when I am under a lot of stress and have no idea how I am going to get through something, or if I am faced with challenges and the expectations look grim, my whole perception is dimmed. After it is all said and done, the challenge has passed (whether or not I succeed), I have overcome it. It has moved on. My perception is brighter once again.
It's not how we win or lose.
Success is about surviving the trial.
If we are to overcome what instills negative emotions in us, we have to go through it to gain the experience and trust we need to stay over the hurdle.
Despite what "could" have happened or "could" have been, it is what it is.
Whether good or bad, once through the situation that turned your outlook bleak, peace follows the path of light.