I have had an anxious weekend. I am very anxious when a member of my family is suffering. Despite the fact I have difficulties with my family at times, when they are suffering, most especially my mother it seems to cut through the heart of my life and body. I am working as hard as I can to detach at the moment because the anxiety I feel when I concentrate on the pain my mother is currently in does really painful things to my body and as some of you may know who follow my blog in the past I have often put my life on hold to be there for people in my family, I did not feel that I had a right to be happy and be living my life if someone I love is in pain. It doesn’t seem to matter that often the pain is a result of their own choices that were totally outside of my control, I still try to find the way I can help. But at the same time I am now beginning to see that if I don’t want the rest of my life to end up swallowed up by other’s pain and difficulties I really need to put the focus on my own life, without surrendering to guilt feelings or inner self talk that tells me I am being selfish.
The pain my mother is now in comes out of her own co-dependency. She tends to overextend herself in the same way that I can also overextend myself, taking on too much in her compassion and empathy for others. The other day I actually started to feel really, really angry with my mother for this but after some contemplation I saw that as much as the anger has a purpose and a place getting stuck in it long term is detrimental for my own physical and emotional health. I have to take steps in any day to detach. I show my care and love by taking her food, calling her on the phone to see how she is and let her know I love her but more than that I cannot do. I do not have the power to take away her pain. I am just not that powerful much as I might feel if only I could say or do the right thing I could make it better.
I am also angry because on some level I feel some of her pain is emotional pain gone onto a bodily level. I wish she could have let herself feel the pain that comes up at this time of year on an emotional level instead of barricading from it, I feel if she could allow herself to do this her pain would lessen. It seems to be stronger too when she is alone. I may be right or wrong about this. I am not sure.
I try to feel my own pain when I am in it. I try not to immediately lean on pain relief. If there is something I need to learn from my pain I need to face that. If I feel sad, I need to cry. If I feel angry, I need to let myself feel it so I can know what is up. Same thing for my fear. This morning I awoke drenched in hyper-vigilance anxiety. Those of you who suffer from it will know what I mean. I still have an itchy pinching feeling all across my back from the anxiety I am feeling and I had a talking to with myself this morning about how often in our society we no longer call fear, fear we label it anxiety. I know that I don’t have a choice that these feelings exist as they tell me something and occur because I am human, sensitive and subject to worry, but I do have a choice with what I say to myself about them and how I take care of myself in the midst of them. I can learn to identify them and name them and then ask myself what I need to take care of myself in the midst of the feelings so that I don’t drown in or get swallowed alive by them.
I recognise this morning that my thoughts were starting to drive fear into an anxiety state. I am feeling calmer now due to writing this and making the decision to get on with my day rather than stay still paralysed in fear and anxiety. I know if I share about it I will feel better. I will start to have externalised it. I no longer want to stay trapped and paralysed in a painful place. I need to know what I can and cant change. I will always be a deeply caring person but I also know now that I need to at times put boundaries around the extent of how much I care for others to make sure I take care of me in the midst of it.
At the same time I need to keep reaching out and know that due to being sensitive and caring I can and do pick up on others emotions. I may feel them at times in a way they cannot at the time due to barricades or defences. I may get a sense of them and then the work is to realise I cannot take the feeling on as mine but I can and do recognise it as part of being human Having gone through much pain and suffering myself and I can do identify and will for the rest of my life.