Fear

The world is a scary place. We all know that. Turn on the news and cry.

I feel like things are getting worse. The right wing is rising all over the world, as nationalism emerges as a twisted reaction to economic troubles and globalisation. Governments increase fear and hatred, finding scapegoats and enemies within and without to divide the people and justify violence and authoritarianism.

Here in the UK, the Tory government pushes ideological austerity, transferring wealth from the people to big business and the ultra-rich. A biased media means that it’s hard to even figure out what is true and what is propaganda.

George Osborne has released his budget, which was always going to be depressing. Once again, disabled people have been targeted for benefit cuts. What starts off as abstract economics becomes a devastating reality for people who are already struggling. It seems that the victims of austerity are those who started off with the least to lose. Of course it makes sense that they would target those with the least power, because what can we do?

This might affect me personally, what with the ESA cuts that have also been announced, but that’s not my biggest worry. I’m relatively well off. I’m mentally ill but at least I have my physical mobility. Benefits are not enough for an easy life, and increasing financial stress for people who are already sick is going to have a horrifying impact on thousands of people. I have a friend who suffers from fibromyalgia as well as currently battling cancer, and he has been sanctioned several times already, left with no money at all, for missing appointments he was never notified of. Now he will lose even more. How can we accept that? How could anyone think it is ok for sick and vulnerable people to be forced into penury in one of the wealthiest countries on Earth?

So I am frightened, and I am angry. I am also at a loss. What am I supposed to do?

I used to be politically active. In Guildford we had Surrey United Anti-Capitalists, and we campaigned, we marched, protested, leafleted, held meetings, supported strikes, spread education and debate, supported each other to not feel alone in a world that too often feels like it has gone mad.

Now I am living in a little town and I don’t know what to do. I feel strangely isolated, and it’s been so long that I don’t know where to start. There are definitely active, conscious people working for change in Derby. I have spent time with some of them and they’re brilliant. It’s my own laziness that has stopped me getting more involved, as well as focussing on my mental health stuff. But I can’t have a ‘life worth living’ (as DBT states its goal) without fighting to create a world worth living in. So enough of feeling afraid and disempowered. Things may be going to shit, but that just means it’s time to start building. The new world will stand in the shell of the old.

 

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Fear

Abandonment & Rejection

Last night I was helpfully telling my boyfriend about all my amazing symptoms of mental illness (aka reasons he should run away), when I realised something. I was going down the usual list of BPD criteria, and as usual pretty much ignored the part about abandonment issues. I don’t really consider that I have them much more than the average person (or possibly I just have a complete lack of insight), but if you change ‘abandonment’ to ‘rejection’ then damn. 

I generally consider that I have social anxiety because I think everyone hates me and I’m terrified of fucking up any social encounter. But what is the real fear? Not just looking a bit daft, I do that all the time – sometimes even on purpose. It has to be something worse than that. I fear ridicule and definitely I fear somehow hurting or angering others. I fear confrontation. But ultimately, the root of all these fears is rejection. I assume that most people want me to go away, and eventually, they will get the courage to tell me to fuck off.

When I hear the word ‘abandonment’, I think of people leaving. Thankfully, I haven’t experienced much of this in my life. But perhaps rejection is a very similar feeling. It isn’t as abrupt or sometimes even as obvious as abandonment, it comes in many degrees. But at its core is still the message: ‘I do not want you around.’ And that message can so easily be skewed by low self esteem and internalised as ‘You are not good enough to be around’.

Having always been really shy, I assumed that I just had social anxiety as part of my generally anxious personality. But maybe it is actually linked to borderline personality disorder as well. I don’t know if that makes it easier or harder to deal with. But hey, knowledge is power, right? And the therapy I’m doing now will hopefully give me some ways to deal with this.

Intellectually, I know that I’m not a completely terrible person. I have an amazing partner, family and friends who aren’t just secretly wishing I’d go away. But in some deep part of my brain which is not amenable to reason, there is a whole tangle of visceral fear and ever-spinning anxiety, just waiting for the axe to drop.

 

 

Abandonment & Rejection

Creepy crawly leggy walkies

Hey, check out this terrifying squid-monster! Oh Hell No!

I have a fear of things with disproportionately long, fragile-looking legs. Daddy longlegs, craneflies and harvestmen send me into shrieking fits. I’m not generally a screaming girl, and indeed, I don’t generally have phobias, but damn no. They creep me out, fill me with a visceral, crawling sense of appalled disgust and horror.

I remember when I discovered that Japanese Spider Crabs existed. I was not overjoyed.

Japanese spider crab
Ugly bastard

Luckily, they are pretty unlikely to ever cross my path, and I sure as hell aren’t going to look for them. Knowing about them, and the freakish squidthing, and many other uglies that I am not linking here because I refuse to even google them, just increase the general sense that there are numerous horrors in the world, waiting. Waiting to crawl on me, with their creepy, ugly legs.

Creepy crawly leggy walkies