A first step [in remaining open] is to understand that a feeling of dread or psychological discomfort might just be a sign that old habits are getting liberated, that we are moving closer to the natural open state. Trungpa Rinpoche said that awakening warriors would find themselves in a constant state of anxiety. Personally, I’ve found this to be true. After a while I realized that since the shakiness wasn’t going away, I might as well get to know it. When our attitude toward fear becomes more welcoming and inquisitive, there’s a fundamental shift that occurs. Instead of spending our lives tensing up, as if we were in the dentist’s chair, we learn that we can connect with the freshness of the moment and relax. – Pema Chödrön
I’ve found this to be true too. And boy does protracted psych drug withdrawal open the floodgates of fear and terror. It’s not like anything natural that occurs before drug damage. But even with this sort of iatrogenic damage I’ve found that the best solution is to treat it like all the rest. I’ve decided that in the end, it’s the same thing as though on steroids. In this way I, too, find healing as Pema Chödrön prescribes. For more info see: Psychiatric drug withdrawal and protracted withdrawal syndrome round-up
We must start with wee baby steps when the iatrogenic drug damage is at its worse. Be kind and gentle with yourselves. This is how I got started: Life as a meditation: my contemplative adventure
I’m cutting and pasting the fear collection below:
Fear and anxiety: coping, reframing, transforming…
Anxiety is basically a clinical term for fear which everyone at one time or another experiences with or without a diagnosis of some sort of anxiety “disorder.” Psychiatry pathologizes much of the normal human experience and in opposing fashion fear and/or anxiety is often referred to in Buddhism and other alternative philosophies as normal. A normal form of human suffering. Which is why many techniques to cope with anxiety have been inspired by Buddhism. There are many methods to learn how to be with these normal feelings, whether they’re very intense or not. As individuals some of us may be more prone to more intensity than others. We can all work with whatever it is we experience.
In general this blog supports embracing and thus potentially transforming all our emotions. That is how we come to know who we are. The whole spectrum of our emotional lives are of value. It’s a shame that we learn to call many of our emotions negative and in keeping with that we try to numb them out in various ways, including with the use of both legal and illegal drugs. It is in resisting our shadow or difficult parts that those emotions we fear grow bigger! That is the paradox.
I’ve put together a page with some of the posts on fear and anxiety that have been posted on Beyond Meds in the last few years. I will add to it as is appropriate or when I remember other old pieces from the archives. This page will be part of the drop-down menus at the top of the page so that the archives might be accessed.
- Fear and death: how it’s all part of life
- Love and fear are the same energy
- You can’t heal what you don’t feel — by Nicole Urdang — There are many ways people try to avoid unpleasant feelings, and addictions top the list. Engaging in obsessive-compulsive or addictive behavior pushes unpleasant thoughts and feelings out of conscious awareness. Sometimes, that can seem like paradise; unfortunately, the long-term negative effects outweigh the short-term gains of numbness and forgetting, as once the drug or activity is over, all those painful feelings come back. Let’s face it, if addictions really worked, we would all be addicts. Who doesn’t want a bit of relief from life’s stresses? The problem is they are a short-term fix. It takes great courage to move through dark emotions but ignoring them, or sweeping them under the cognitive rug, just makes them less accessible for healing.
- Befriend your fear/anxiety
- If we are honest with ourselves, most of us will have to admit that we live out our lives in an ocean of fear
- Become aware of your anxiety/panic/fear and heal yourself — Why is it assumed that people need remain unaware of their physiological experience? This is exactly what meditation can attend to. It’s called “mindfulness” for a reason. It’s entirely possible to become aware of our bodies, minds and psyches.
- On Fear (or some call it anxiety) and Fearlessness
- Terror wants to be integrated
- Don’t give fear a thought — By Robert Augustus Masters — “When fearfulness infects you, neither avoid it nor let it recruit your mind. Don’t give it a thought. Approach the infected areas with care. No antibiotic heroics, no psychosurgical wizardry, just ordinary everyday caring. Touch the infection with undivided attention, while letting the raw reality of it touch you, penetrate you, shake you more awake. Make contact, intimate contact, allowing it to breathe, allowing to it vibrate, sound off, even grieve. Stop treating it like an adversary or disease. When approached with sufﬁcient care, fearfulness helps fuel our entry into a quality of openness wherein we cannot be threatened.”
- Yoga for your health and wellbeing, helps with your heart and anxiety and depression — with direction for some easy yoga postures’
- Musings on anxiety…
- The uses of anxiety and panic — By Al Galves
- Yoga for fear/anxiety: includes video of session I did today
- Fear is life force… (in clinical circles it’s often called anxiety) – also an IT GETS BETTER post
Yoga: changing the brains stressful habits — “Yoga can supposedly improve depressive symptoms and immune function, as well as decrease chronic pain, reduce stress, and lower blood pressure. These claims have all been made by yogis over the years, and it sounds like a lot of new age foolishness. Surprisingly, however, everything in that list is supported by scientific research.
It may sound like magic that posing like a proud warrior or a crow could have such extensive effects, but it’s not magic. It’s neurobiology. This next statement may sound to you either profound or extremely obvious, but it comes down to this: the things you do and the thoughts you have change the firing patterns and chemical composition of your brain. Even actions as simple as changing your posture, relaxing the muscles on your face, or slowing your breathing rate, can affect the activity in your brain (beyond, of course, the required activity to make the action). These changes are often transient, but can be long-lasting, particularly if they entail changing a habit.”
And this is a collection of links and commentary that looks at embracing whatever comes.Whatever we are experiencing including fear and anxiety: the PRACTICE of embracing everything: The foundation of healing mental distress and of becoming a mature human adult.