Fear and its offspring
Modern man is greatly distinguished by detachment - from themselves, from others, from nature and the natural. They are led to acquire the material, short-term and expendable by many things. This is already enough to develop anxiety that, at some point, there will not be enough for everyone; because material resources are indeed limited. We spoke with Petrovic, a psychologist and body psychotherapist under supervision. Ana has recently launched her own site where you can read interesting texts: www.car-je-go.com
“In ordinary circumstances, many annoyances are suppressed and / or controlled, and thus we keep the balance. However, in irregular occasions this changes. In the beginning, our defenses are getting stronger, but then they give in under too much pressure. Then, the experience of oneself and the world can become very unpleasant and even unbearable. Various discomforts emerge - sadness, anger, powerless anger, anxiety, panic attacks, lack of sense, weight, great internal pressure… It's a natural experience. Everyone has something that has been bothering them, and now it is threatening to become bigger and stronger. If you feel clear and sudden anxiety, what you can do right away, is to focus on your breath and try to keep it as slow and even as possible. It is also a good idea to seek the support of a trusted person who knows how to calm you down. If you feel that the situation exceeds your current capabilities, contact professional help. These are irregular circumstances on so many levels, and it is absolutely alright to seek help in regular and other ways, ”says Ana Petrovic.
On the website of the Association of Psychotherapists of Serbia there is a special and extensive list of contacts of psychotherapists who currently provide free psychotherapy assistance on a volunteer basis:
Also, here are some other phone numbers that might be helpful:
1. Phone number of the Ministry of Health for Psycho-social Support 0800 309 309.
2. Special telephones of the Institute for Mental Health in Belgrade: 063 7298260 for children, young people under 18 and the parents of children under 18; 063 1751150 for adults (over 18 years old).
3. National SOS Line for Suicide Prevention of the Clinic for Psychiatric Diseases "Dr Laza Lazarevic" in Belgrade, phone 011 7777 000 or chat sos.lazalazarevic.rs/index.php/on-line-chat.
Center Heart-suicide prevention - the phone does not work due to the curfew, but chat and mail are available:
e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, chat www.centarsrce.org.
Is there anything that can give us relief in this emergency and unknown situation?
We can feel relieved if we understand what is currently happening to a human as a being. Like all living things, they are made for movement, flow and exchange. This involves a continuous two-way flow - alternative listening and answering, going back and coming forward, receiving and giving, shrinking and expanding, absorbing and expressing, filling and emptying - the forms of manifestation are different, but they all come down to the input and output of that natural flow. The most obvious example is breathing - in and out. Our feelings fit into this scheme.
And what to do with fear?
Fear is a type of withdrawal in those circumstances that we perceive as unfavorable and too demanding to deal with. And these are exactly the circumstances we are in. We perceive a lot of things as a danger, we retreated and braced ourselves for protection. Our protection system is in effect, and fear is one of its tools. However, fear as a tool is not intended for long-lasting conditions; the longer this condition lasts, the pressure people are under is stronger. It's getting harder and harder for us. Since fear is shrinking, its "antidote" is expansion - the actions in which what is inside goes out. Expanding as expressing an exit direction involves any kind of expression - feelings, thinking, singing, writing, drawing, physical exercises, making something… Whatever is convenient for you, it is important that what is inside comes out. It is only important that you do not endanger anyone by expressing yourself. Expanding can also be about getting to know the lives of people different from us. In this way, we expand inner experience. we can expand our inner world in many other ways. Daydreaming and imagination are valuable tools. If you have a picture in your head or a symbol that pleases you, you can pay attention to it more often. Also, expanding the experience happens every time we try something new. No matter how small it may be, it doesn't matter. It is important to do something new, what you do right-handed, try left and vice versa. Change where you sit or change your head parting, rearrange the furniture … There is also time spread that refers to extending the time frame we are focused on, e.g. making plans for the period that awaits us afterwards.
There are no universal solutions, find what works best for you.
Of course, one should nor exaggerate with spreading. It is important to achieve as much balance as possible between collecting (receiving) and spreading (expressing). Because receiving also plays an important role. Thanks to it, we get to know what is happening in the world around us. But, again, moderation is important. This is especially true for listening to the news regarding the virus. Reading (and listening) is an input of information, then an input channel is active, the channel associated with shrinking and fear. A constant or immoderate exposure to fear excites our sensory-conceptual apparatus, initiates physiological processes for fight or flight. Since nothing pays off at the moment, our body is stuck in a state of tension longer than predicted by nature, and many other problems arise from this. Exaggeration in any form of intake, whether it is food, information or contact, has similar unfavorable results.
Does this situation we all find ourselves in have any advantages?
We can use this state of emergency as a kind of psychological scanner that will show us what the picture is like inside. Everything that is currently overemphasized, has already existed within us. Furthermore, these circumstances teach us some lessons. They show us there are things we can influence and those we cannot. Noticing this difference takes time to reflect, check, and change your current worldviews.
They also show us what is more and what is less important, what we really need and what we don't. Another important lesson is learning to be patient. The challenges are different for people with children, singles, those who work from home, those who have to go to work, the old, the young, people with dogs ... Everyone has their own kind of torment. But we all learn what patience means and feel how difficult it can be.
We also learn to tolerate powerlessness. It is important here to distinguish between experiencing powerlessness and “bearing” powerlessness. Powerlessness is terrible in itself, but it is even more terrible if we put ourselves under the pressure that we must not be powerless. If we let ourselves do this, then we open the door to knowing what causes us this distressing experience and we reduce its overall validity. From here it is easier to find other fields where we have power and influence.
All in all, there is so much going on that it is very easy to become overwhelmed. In these moments we should use our power of withdrawal (conscious shrinkage) and detach ourselves from what creates anxiety as much as possible. Turn to people and actions that provide comfort and calmness, seek professional help. It is not easy. But humans are a tough and adaptable species. We survived so much, we will survive this.
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