In my last newsletter I spoke about the fear connected with the coronavirus. I also mentioned that ten minutes of intense anger reduces the function of our immune system for up to 24 hours. Anger is very often the expression of an underlying fear.
A memory of the so called Spanish flu comes up, the flu that swept over the earth in 1918/19. An estimated 500,000 million of people got infected, about 50 million died. How much might have World War 1 contributed to it? There sure was enough aggression and fear all over the globe to disintegrate the immune defense of many people.
As a family doctor in Germany in the 1980ies I still saw regularly cases of measles, chicken pox, mumps and scarlet fever. I noticed that in the rare cases when children had a hard time to overcome these diseases or when they had minor complications, usually there was fear in the background, for example that the parents were fighting or in divorce. Children need safety in order to be able to relax. When we relax, this is when our immune system works best. When children cannot relax in safety, trouble is on its way.
So how do we deal with fear?
The remedy for fear is not courage. The remedy for fear is connection, it is not being alone in fear.
When a healthy child gets scared, it runs to mom or dad. In a parent’s hug, the fear melts away.
Children very naturally are looking for connection when they are afraid. As long as the parents are available, everything is okay. When parents, however, are overwhelmed themselves, then they cannot provide safety for the child. They might say something like: “Don’t be afraid!”, or “You don’t need to be afraid.”, or they even get angry or ridicule the child in saying: “You are a sissy!” In all these cases, the child will feel alone, the fear cannot get digested, it stays somewhere in the nervous system. When this happens repeatedly, then the child will not reach out anymore. The child learned: I am alone and I have to deal with it alone. From then on the fear is likely to become a constant companion.
Naturally, fear is an emotion that connects us. When we were alone with our fear as children, then we will shut down also later in life, stay alone and will not dare to admit our fear and not share it. It will be really hard then to overcome fear. Our nervous system is built for community, not for being alone. In community we can ground our fears, alone we often cannot. The fear might get the best of us.
What do we do then? We might go to a doctor. But the doctor learned to keep a professional distance, so we come home and still feel alone. Or we might have triggered the doctor’s own unintegrated fear, so he will try to get rid of the fear and prescribe an anti-anxiety drug.
What would be really needed?
Simply somebody who can be with us without trying to treat us or save us or fix us. Someone who can feel with us, sit with us in our fear without telling us that there is something wrong with us.
Can you remember sitting with somebody and feeling your fear die down? I hope that you have experienced this. It happens when we feel seen, when we feel heard, when we feel that the other one “gets me”. Maybe it happened with a good friend or when you met a stranger in the park and shared. Maybe it happened with a professional therapist trained in working with trauma.
As children we need parents to feel safe; as adults we need community to integrate fear. Fear integrated becomes curiosity, with curiosity creativity grows. With creativity new ideas, new possibilities will expand the scope of our lives.
If you know someone who is dealing with fear and things seem not to work, tell him about homeopathy and give him/her my web contact www.VancouverIslandHomeopathy.com. Homeopathy builds connection: you are being seen, and an expression of that is the remedy. Many of my clients report remarkable changes during the homeopathic treatment. Life can become fun again.