How does one kill fear, I wonder? How do you shoot a specter through the heart, slash off its spectral head, take it by the spectral throat?Joseph Conrad
With the escalation of terrorism, the police shootings of Blacks, assaults upon police officers, and crimes against the LGBTQ community, often the recent psychotherapy sessions occurring with my clients have taken a different direction.
Previously, the focus for therapy was usually on personal stressors while now there is a new trend in the psychotherapy sessions. Due to the current increase in world violence there is somewhat of a lessening of focus on the usual topics regarding problematic relationship issues, feelings of grief around the loss of a loved one, career stress, and parenting problems.
Though these issues may not have resolved or disappeared, there is increased attention on dealing with the anxiety and fear many of us are experiencing due to the continuous occurrence of new world tragedies. The discussion during therapy, or with our friends and loved ones often revolves around how these events have affected how we think and feel as well as our ability to cope.
Many of us have experienced our dismay of beholding recurring tragedies expand into a sense of disbelief about what is happening in our world. We are left to struggle with the uncertainty of what may happen next. Thoughts may surface in our mind that feed our fear and insecurity.
Will I be a target because I am…
- In law enforcement
…or just because?
The hate, rage, and mental illness of those who unpredictably lash out has become devastating for most of us and unimaginably traumatizing for many of us.
Previously we might have experienced unbridled excitement about attending an event or a concert—we made a celebration out of the occasion. Yet now our thoughts about entering these experiences may be completely different from before. For many of us the thought of attending may be accompanied with trepidation and reticence.
Reluctance may surface and surround our usual desire to attend typical crowded events such as:
- A fireworks celebration
- A sporting event
- A concert
- A political rally
…for fear that something unspeakable may happen.
Some of us are noticing that occasionally upon waking up there is a low-grade anxiety, depression, or fear tainting our perspective of the coming day. An unfamiliar tension fills our body. It may be difficult to identify the source of the distress because everything in our personal world feels okay.
Lately many of us have struggled with the unfamiliar experience of a subtle sadness, or unease within ourselves despite enjoying a satisfying relationship, career, and circle of friends.
The thought of shattering our inner harmony each morning by turning on Good Morning America or listening to the radio or watching CNN may bring unease and the fear that something else may have happened.
For more tips on maintaining your emotional health while dealing with fear and uncertainty, read my article here.
My wish for you today is for a healthy balance of empathy and joy for each new day.
-Kathleen Dwyer Blair, LCSW, BCD
Director Nassau Guidance and Counseling