When I was a child I was afraid of going down into our home’s basement. It was dark and gloomy. My older brother convinced me that a frightening ghost was prepared to jump on me and eat me if I ever ventured downstairs. Even when the single light that shone during the day couldn’t free me from my dreaded fear of the unknown.
As I grew older and outgrew my fears about ghosts and such I still was plagued with fears about things which popped up unexpectedly in my life. The way I handled these fears was to think of all the possible ways that I would be eaten (metaphorically speaking ) if the dark moods which were created inside of me continued. It appeared that the more I was feeling these unpleasant feelings swirling around in my mind, the more fearsome they did become. It was no longer the ghost in the basement that terrified me but it was my own fears of being reduced to nothingness that sent me spiraling downward into the great dark abyss. In a certain manner of speaking, when I had a situation that caused my whole person to grieve something as much as a part of ourselves , loss of a love, a loved one’s death, loss of freedom through an addiction, again I was being thrust into the dark basement of my childhood, with those old horrific feelings suddenly rekindled and as real a threat as the imagined ferocious basement ghost of my childhood.
Feelings are like that. They seem to just come out of the blue. In reality they come out of our past and those awful fears are being reignited by some of the same situations that caused us such panic in the earliest years of our lives. These fears continue to scare us and shut us down, feeling-wise, as long as we make no efforts to identify them and see how they are connected between then and now. Our body sensors are always alert to danger and so somehow a present danger or unpleasant feeling appears as fresh and new, when in reality it has its origin in a fearful childhood experience.
“By our continual shutting ourselves up in the little world of our own mind, we gradually sink more and more into despair and feel that no one can understand how we think and feel. The biggest freedom that we can gain from confessing to someone else is that we no longer have to have it all together and be perfect. We can then begin to admit we are petty, selfish and self-centered. We can then admit that we want to have restored a sense of peace by getting free from all worry and fear from the past and by turning these feelings over to the Higher Power. We can discover that forgiving ourselves and being forgiven by God are one and the same thing. The group will see to it that the more you admit your own fears about yourself and the future the less terror the present will hold for you.”
For more on this important subject please read Depressed Anonymous, 3rd edition.(2011) Depressed Anonymous Publications. Louisville.
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