A friend in need is a friend indeed. In bad times, most friends tend to disappear. I would say that this behaviour applies to relationships in general. If you have ever met people with clinical depression, you will know that not only their friends vanish but most probably also their spouses. Why is that, you might ask? I think it is a natural process. We want to be happy and we want others to be happy. We cannot bear our own suffering but more importantly, we cannot bear the pain of others. It puts us down, it drains us, it makes us weaker and we often doubt our ability to help.
Depression and anxiety are two demons of the dark side. They are a toxic mixture of fear, guilt, anger, sorrow, self-deception, illusions and attachments towards the wrong things or people in our lives. As some readers may notice, I refer here to the shadows that are written on the signpost of the Vortex in Riambel. Together with hate, greed and despair, those shadows can lead us to the evil side.
In my last article, I have written that most of us strive to belong to the good side. I wrote about the moral compass in us. But what happens if the shadows take over, and anxiety and depression rule our lives? Fear, today’s topic, is closely related to this state of mind. Sometimes, it is simply the experience of being overwhelmed by our daily tasks that makes us fearful. Often, however, it is more severe and culminates in the fear of not being able to cope with our lives, the fear of losing our jobs, money, loved ones, relationships and so on.
Since the beginning of the second lockdown in Mauritius, many people have experienced anxiety or even some form of depression as they were not able to recreate body, mind and soul. Many things were not possible, such as picnicking on our beautiful beaches, swimming, sitting together with friends and socialising, eating out or going to the movies. The Covid-19 pandemic is a worldwide challenge and the problems related to extended lockdowns are not specific to Mauritius. We, however, have to acknowledge that our children were those who suffered the most during the last couple of months. They could neither socialise with their friends nor enjoy their favourite sports. As a result, not only adults but also some children developed social anxieties or even depression.
I often ask myself how we can overcome our fears and also help our children to cope with them. How can we live a life that is not determined by fear to lose something or someone? I think the key to manage our fears is radical acceptance that everything can happen to us at any time. We can suddenly lose loved ones, our health, money, freedom or even our dignity. In the same way, a relationship with someone we love can end abruptly. Things in life are constantly changing. Life is about coping with this uncertainty and still embrace it every day.
We often feel burdened because there are so many challenges in our everyday life. Yet, the art of living is to live each day as if it were our last. I have not yet discovered the formula of how to live a life without fear. I have good days where I can enjoy the moment and I have bad days where I am full of anxiety about the future – both for my son and myself. I know I am not alone with these feelings. Many of my readers will have experienced these emotions at some stage of their lives. Meditation often helps me. Usually, when I am too weak to meditate, I simply pray. When we are in despair, we – as Christians – say that one can never fall deeper than in God’s hands. My heart usually calms when I remember this. Instantly, my anxiety vanishes and I can breathe again. I believe that we should accept our fears but not let them paralyse us. We should trust that with time, there is a solution and that nature, God or the universe will open a door for us that was previously closed. My son enjoys his first social interactions after months of lockdown. I am happy that he comes home again with dirty knees from playing football and with a smile on his face. Thus, I would like to conclude this article by encouraging not only my readers but also myself: Have no fear!
Fear – my old friend.
You are sitting in the corner of my house.
Most of the time, I lock you into my closet.
I am safe then.
Sometimes, you creep out at night.
Often, when I least expect it.
And then you cause havoc in my life.
Disaster strikes and I am helpless – fearful.
Until I catch you and lock you in again.
My house – called life – is badly messed up then.
Your little brother – called confusion – also had fun.
Screw them both – I want them to leave my house.