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How do we feel safe in this world?

Discussion in 'Support Subforum' started by MindMood, Apr 16, 2022.

  1. MindMood

    MindMood New Member

    Fear has been one of the main contributors to my TMS symptoms throughout my life.

    In one of his books, Dr. Sarno described the 9/11 effect. Many Americanas experienced new or increased physical pain (and equivalent symptoms) after 9/11. This came with the the realization that they weren't as safe as they previously assumed.

    I've listened to and read a lot of content from Alan Gordon, and he stresses the importance of feeling safe.

    These days, I have a constant, underlying fear and a sense of doom. Prior to COVID-19, I was on a good path toward TMS healing, but the pandemic threw me way off course. Now, we have Russia's invasion of Ukraine and the threat of nuclear war (or perhaps the increased awareness of the threat of nuclear war that has existed for decades).

    I'm really struggling with this. I have kids, and I fear for them. I live in a suburb of a major US city - one which would be a potential target for a nuclear attack. I find myself thinking things like, "what's the point of trying to improve my life or plan for the future if humanity is about to annihilate itself in a nuclear world war anyway?"

    I've avoided doom-scrolling, and I don't check the mainstream news very often. But my recovery is still being impacted by this fear. I often have this image in my mind of a nuclear bomb hitting and wiping out me and my family.

    How do I feel safe in this world?
  2. JanAtheCPA

    JanAtheCPA Beloved Grand Eagle

    @MindMood, I totally get it, and I'm right there with you. For me, the last six years+ have been a bitch. There have been changes and shifts in the dysfunction, but the world is still dysfunctional, and feels like it's getting worse.

    The only power we have is over how we choose to respond emotionally. I subscribe to the meditation app Ten Percent Happier, and I offer this from the weekly email (the share link is at the end).

    Ten Percent Weekly
    April 3, 2022 // ISSUE 247
    Is It the Apocalypse?
    By Lama Rod Owens

    Over the last several years, people have been asking me about what’s going on, in the largest possible sense. As in, Is this the apocalypse? Is the world about to end? What is happening?

    Many religions and spiritual paths have literature that helps us to understand such times. In Christian theology, we call it the apocalypse; in Hindu Tantric Traditions we call it Kali Yuga; and Buddhism, we refer to it as the Dark Ages. The term ‘apocalypse’ literally means an unveiling, where on one hand truth is being unveiled, but on the other hand, we’re facing the limitations of our being able to handle it.

    For example, we’ve seen the truth of how we have been living together as a society, how we’ve covered up so many issues, and now we can’t cover them up anymore. Everything that we’ve not done in the past is calling us to task now. The rise and endurance of [edit: names removed in the interests of balance] feels like the entrance of chaos and the disruption of things we had felt were safe and stable. Now we’re seeing that it was never so safe or stable, and we’re seeing it up close and personal.

    We see it with climate change as well, with the increase of natural disasters around the world, with the extinction of many species of plants and animals, with the melting of the polar ice caps. We see it with the pandemic. We see it with war.

    Naturally, in such times, many of us experience intense suffering: fear, anger, despair, hate, depression, terror. It’s different for each of us. Often we lose the ability to hold a space for that suffering. Our rage, which when it is beneficial helps us to identify that we are hurt, becomes energy that we respond to habitually and that causes harm for ourselves and others. We do things that take a toll on our bodies, our minds, and our relationships. We begin to objectify others. We begin to lose empathy with one another.

    But the apocalypse doesn’t mean the end of the world. It’s about the end of a way of thinking, a way of believing, and that’s painful to let go of. That’s where the fire and brimstone metaphors come from: from that basic fear of letting go of the ways that we used to be, in order to make space for what’s happening next. And that is terrifying because we don’t know what it is.

    What, then, is our work? Let’s talk about two aspects: spaciousness and self-care.

    The original teachings of mindfulness introduced a way of paying attention to what’s arising in our emotions, bodies, and minds. You start with a basic acceptance of saying, Okay, yeah, things are out of control. You return to the breath, return to the body and begin to look at what’s happening for you internally. Once you have some clarity about that, then you can move back into the world in a way that’s more stable and more sustainable.

    Mindfulness also helps us to see what we habitually avoid, and to get spacious around it. We learn to relate to discomfort instead of bypassing it. There is trauma in our experiences which is really tough to sit with, but we can learn how to develop a more open relationship to it by being with it more over time.

    Our work is also self-care. For me, that involves developing a sense of self-love, a sense that I am enough, that I deserve to be happy, that I deserve to be safe. We need to surround ourselves with people who help us remember our goodness, who are advocates for our self-care and self-love. I also remember my ancestors, remembering the positive qualities that have passed from generation to generation in my family, trying to embody their characteristics of resiliency, community focus, and self-care.

    We need rituals of self-care and self-preservation. Many of us don’t actually know how to take care of ourselves. We know how to be self-indulgent, but self-care, in the way that Audre Lorde speaks of it in terms of self-preservation, is about supporting ourselves so that we eventually lean back into engagement with others around us. We sustain ourselves in order to sustain our communities. It doesn’t have to be fancy. I love to go to the nail spa and get my nails done. I love a little shopping. I lean a little into capitalism. I do that because it provides a way for me to then come back and do the work of creating just communities.

    Because what we do for ourselves, we’re ethically obligated to do for others. Love and compassion are bullshit unless we actually do something to benefit the lives of others. So we’re not talking about sitting in the corner and doing loving-kindness practice for yourself and just trying to feel good.

    No matter how much you try to help, though, that doesn’t mean you’re going to save anyone or stop anything. That’s part of the apocalypse, too, that not everyone is going to survive. So this may be our season to wallow through the darkness. It’s hard to do that. It’s supposed to be hard. I don’t know of any spiritual or religious tradition that says everyone’s going to end up in the same place. But the brilliant thing about these prophecies of apocalypse, is that it won’t last forever. It is a stage that we’re going through, and as the Bible says, there is a season for everything.

    Is It the Apocalypse? — Ten Percent Happier
    TG957, Cap'n Spanky and MindMood like this.
  3. MindMood

    MindMood New Member

    Thank you for sharing
  4. Sita

    Sita Well known member

    I go within to find my peace, using meditation and affirmations/mantras. I started many years ago. Peace in the world comes from peace in each person. These are vibrations that go everywhere.

    Plus not watching the news. I stopped following the news January first last year. I know what is going on, I'm informed, I communicate with people, family about it etc. But I do everything that I can to just keep my peace. It's very important for me. So I can function in a normal way, a balanced way. As much as possible.
    BloodMoon and Cap'n Spanky like this.
  5. Sterling

    Sterling Peer Supporter

    I could have written this. Fear/anxiety lifelong for me as well. In 2019 things were starting to go well in regards to the chronic pain. Pandemic blew me off-course as well and I’ve been in a 2-year atypical trigeminal nerve flare up. I’m working on calming my nervous system and understanding that my thoughts are causing the anxiety and fear. Thoughts that are just opinions from my brain and not facts.
    Because of childhood trauma, I’ve never really felt safe. And I was raised by a mother who thought the world was a scary, dangerous place. I’m learning to work from the inside-out versus outside-in.
    JanAtheCPA likes this.
  6. Dorado

    Dorado Beloved Grand Eagle

    My cousins ask me time and time again how I could ever feel safe living in a major city. Lately, they’ve asked how I can stand being in skyscrapers like the Sears (Willis) Tower, knowing it’s in the middle of everything and that tensions are rising across the globe (essentially, they’re asking me if I feel like I’m eating lunch in a nuclear target). They’ve also chastised me for enjoying neighborhood walks by myself when the sun is down and often send me links about Chicago shootings, muggings, etc. As someone who has dealt with intense anxiety throughout my life, I’ve never once thought about moving to the suburbs or another city. Why? Because I really love it here and it’s worth the risk.

    I do understand that complex global issues have a threatening presence and potential consequences. That’s when my mom reminds me of my relatives who dealt with WW2, the Cuban missile crisis (endless talk about unclear threats), etc. I’m so glad they didn’t give up, even when they weren’t sure if they’d wake up to chaos and destruction the next day.

    Do we know for sure that the world will soon be over? No. What about it being over at the end of the century? Nope. Do my cousins know for sure that my city is a target or that I’ll get shot when I go for a walk tonight? No. We can’t prove any of these things today. I think about how my grandfather could’ve given up during WW2 and never experienced the many beautiful decades of life that followed. That said, it’s true that anxiety doesn’t always care about reason.

    When my anxiety stops listening to reason and I start reverting back to my “but what if” thought patterns, I try to employ some of the CBT techniques I learned and view the thoughts as words from a troll. It is possible to retrain your brain and put an end to “but what if” thoughts! I also fully agree with the comments about relaxation and visualization - total game changer for fight-or-flight mode.

    On a final note, reminding myself that I’m not alone - no matter what happens to the world - helps. I also consider how I can make the world a better place. It truly helps me feel more motivated. I have a colleague who actually went to the Poland-Ukraine border to deliver food, supplies, etc. Now, that’s not possible for me, but even something as small as checking in with my colleagues from other countries can make a difference.
    Mr Hip Guy, JanAtheCPA and Sita like this.
  7. Baseball65

    Baseball65 Beloved Grand Eagle

    Here... this is gonna be short to emphasize it's importanCe. TURN the TV off....stop reading news on your phone. You are flooding your head with news that for all intents and purposes effect your day to day experience very little.

    The world has always been scary or peaceful depending on how you look at it....from the topics you've mentioned ZERO of them are in the room with you...they all get to you via Media.
    BloodMoon, Sita, Mr Hip Guy and 2 others like this.

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