Thursday, 14 September 2017

To Those Who Worry

The austerity doctrine is as bad as the prosperity doctrine.
To those who worry,
And feel they ought to worry,
Because there's such a lot they care about,
And such a lot that matters,
And it really does matter and maybe if you don't worry
You'll forget to care, or not care enough,
and you need to care. That's why you're alive.
Don't worry about worrying,
Or worry about not worrying.
I promise you care enough, you won't forget to worry
and you won't forget to care.
You don't need to worry about worrying,
it happens by itself I promise you.
You just get on with the caring,
and let the worrying worry about itself.
I love you. How much you care is so very  beautiful.
My own story about worry. I worry, but not as much as I used to. I used to worry a lot but eventually I made things so bad for myself I had to stop worrying. I worried, but I didn't know how to fix it, and it wasn't actually possible to worry that much. I couldn't do it. It damn near killed me. So I had to stop worrying.

I still worry a bit. I still need to care more. But I do care, a lot, and it seems like I can care and mostly do the right thing when it matters, without having to worry. So I don't think I should worry, I don't think it actually helps at all. So when I catch myself worrying, I stop.

I hate worry and anxiety. I consider them my enemy. It was fear that got me, I've known (as so many of us have) real terror. So in as much as I'm able I'm not going to be afraid any more. Whenever I have a choice and whenever I notice a choice I'm going to choose to not be afraid. That's as much as I can do but I will do it.

A large part of anxiety can be imagining the worst, and being caught up in imagining the worst. Following possible thought trains into dark places. The images can be very compelling because it's hard to convince yourself that it's not possible, which makes it feel real. Or at least possibly real, and that's a scary thought.

Which is exactly what it is. A scary thought. I'm afraid that all sorts of terrible things are possible. But an awful lot of incredibly wonderful things are possible too. And if it makes sense to think about the possible awful, then it makes sense to think about the possible amazing too.

And if the awful we can't prevent, and you can't prevent it all you just can't. Then all we can do is be sensible, judge risks carefully and put in place appropriate mitigation where possible. We can only do what's possible and we have to balance risks against costs. But we're quite good at that, we do it all the time. Every time we get in a car we're taking a measured risk. They're pretty safe, generally, if you're careful.

So we can handle the awful, as best we can if we have to. We'll do what we need to do and try and help each other to do it. But we don't need to imagine the awful to do that. We hear such a lot about such scary things, but almost all of them are really rare and worrying doesn't help. We can be sensible about risks without needing to worry. It's genuinely hard, but it's also genuinely possible.

It's a difficult habit to break, imagining the worst. But that's what it is, it's a habit, and you can change habits. Slowly, gradually, but you can do it.

I've found meditation really helpful. In practising focus you learn to let go of other things happening in the mind. That's what helped me. Recognising thought patterns, and not pushing them away but letting them peter out helps. Recognise them as thought patterns, just ways of thinking. Watch them but don't get too involved. Resist the voice that tells you you need to get involved. You don't.

You can choose to concentrate, when you can and when you remember, on thinking about the good and imagining all the good that's possible. What you're grateful in life for. There's always something, usually a whole bunch.

That's one of the beautiful things I learned from my Mum and her own difficult struggle with depression. Part of her emerging from, and escaping from, depression was choosing to focus on what she was grateful for. As hard as everything else seemed she could always find a few things that she was grateful for, and she wrote five down a day. She still does as far as I know. She's a beautiful, caring, loving person and she found things very hard for quite a few years. But she enjoys life now, and being alive, and she's never been more alive. Such a wonderful thing to see.

There's such a lot of hope, there really is, so much hope. There's a lot of love as well. It can be hard to see, perhaps even hard to find, but it's out there. More love than you can imagine.

The full nature of humanity, all that it is possible for it to mean about being human, is a terrifying thing. We know that the most awful atrocities are possible, because we've seen them and heard about them. So we're scared of the full nature of humanity.

But what makes the terrible possible is also what makes the beautiful possible. We can see, and  experience, the fullness of what it is to be human whilst not participating in the horror of it. We can see the awfulness, even within ourselves, and not be scared. Because we can love, and as we love the horror goes, and we can choose to love. We don't have to do or be anything of the awfulness, change happens slowly but it's possible.

To not fear yourself, who you are and who you could be, is a wonderful thing. Because then, the best of whatever could become possible actually does become possible. You still have to do it though, but it's fun.

"I really like living in a country where literally nothing wants to kill you. Nothing at all. The weather might suck, but that's why Great Britain largely is a green and pleasant land."

"If you really know what hell is like you'll be determined to find heaven. I'm not talking about after death, I'm talking about here and now."

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