By Brian Thornsburg
I came into the new year with high hopes for good things and to accomplish some pretty tasks, but quickly found myself falling back into old cycles. I started not going out again, despite going out two times the previous week as a part of a new years resolution. I then started over-medicated again and freaking out over slack of instant success. It was almost as if I was punched in the gut and told there was no point in trying to change.
It was disappointing, to say the least, but while I intended to socialize and start to make friends again, I found myself in paralyzing fear. . What I didn’t initially realize however were all the surrounding factors that were also contributing to that fear cycle and how it made them worse. Mostly it was about how I needed to deal with my emotions and not let them get me to a point where I’m panicking. How I needed to create positive thought cycles to dig myself out of these mental ruts.
The thing about fear is that it can be the result of the emotions you are feeling now and the feelings you didn’t acknowledge earlier. It also seems to center around the habits you set for yourself when you start to face difficult times. For example, my downfall started with not going out, then it was my Grandmother going into the hospital for surgery. By Wednesday, it was the fact that I was failing a class. It felt like all those things demanded my attention, but I was too afraid to even attempt anything.
Things got worse when my Dad and I got the call that my Grandmother had passed away. This was my grandmother that would invite me up to see her every summer and who I would call three times a week on the phone. It was an immediate wave of emotions after we got the news and I found myself not being able to believe it. I started wondering what life would be like without her, and if I would be ok without our special conversations every week.
That’s what fear does to you. No matter what your original intentions are, fear mostly lies to you. It tells you that you aren’t going to accomplish something Or that you’ll never get over a loss and not be ok again. That if you go outside and try to intermingle, you’ll just be ignored or outcasted. It tells you that there is no point in going out. That there’s nothing to accomplish and that my only choice was to sit in paralyzing fear over what I couldn’t deal with.
That’s when I realized a big part of my mental health was actually taking the time to deal with issues and not just be afraid of them. That I needed to invest time and energy into building myself up and stop letting the fear cycles win. I needed to stop going back to my old habits and letting this cycle continue. Stop overeating, stop over-medicating and focus on experiencing life without numbness. Live in honor of those who passed, not the fear of the unknown without them.
I need to acknowledge the positives in my life. Learn to start getting in and maintaining positive thought cycles. I need to show people who I am and start trying to build relationships in the real world. I need to stop letting the immobilizing fear win. It’s not healthy and I’m only hurting myself by being cut off from social interaction.
Making resolutions and following them can be like going to war with your mind. You are going to win some battles and feel great. You are also going to lose a few though. These are ok and normal to experience though. You just have to learn from them and not stay in that self-defeating cycle for too long. Otherwise, you become consumed with fear and aren’t able to act upon your actual intentions.