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|Healing Social Anxiety Through Healthy Grief|
|Written by Janice23|
|12 April 2010|
This is a Good Article on healthy grieving for anyone, Social Anxiety or not-- Even though it deals with "Social Anxiety" (which I personally have) it is really mostly about the principles of opening oneself to a healthy grieving process (the idea being that 'healthy grief' can help you to let let go of things that were previously hard to let go of). For me it helped me to let go of control issues around my anxiety problems (which I suspect were really a kind of 'emotional scar' dues to earlier abuse and trauma). Anyway, I haven't posted the whole article, but have excerpted part of it--
Healing Social Anxiety through Healthy Grief
Feelings of sadness are especially well known to people who have suffered from years of social anxiety. Sadness has been for many of us a frequent companion. For others of us, sadness may remain buried at the unconscious level, packed away under the constant stress of living with social fear; or kept at a distance by a life built around perpetual avoidance. Whatever the case, unresolved grief is a major feature of the social anxiety syndrome. This is hardly surprising since we are people who have experienced a great deal of loss. Although individual patterns vary, we have all experienced loss of one kind or another or we would not be in Social Phobic’s Anonymous today.
Some of us have lost dear friends because of the strain that social anxiety put on our relationships. Others may have lost intimate partners for similar reasons. Or we may have been unable to even initiate these relationships in the first place. Or we remain trapped in unhealthy relationships for years, unable to separate ourselves from abusive or draining individuals or situations because social anxiety has convinced us that our choices are limited.
Many have lost jobs or may have remained trapped in low-paying or otherwise unsatisfying work because our social fears held us back. Others of us may have had to cut our education short because we could no longer tolerate attending classes. Or perhaps we remained in school but learned less because social anxiety preoccupied our minds instead of our studies. As years passed many of us also suffered from physical exhaustion as chronic anxiety took its toll on our bodies. Feelings of constant tiredness may have then further limited our choices. Others of us may on the surface have all of the trappings of a normal life— but have lost the ability to take pleasure or satisfaction in any of it because social anxiety has stolen our peace of mind. Being able to go through the motions means very little if our emotions always trouble us; draining the joy from significant relationships, vocations or life events.
This leads us to the painful reality that most of us have lost not only what was, but what could have been. We carry unresolved grief not only for that which we once had; that which we were never able to have; we grieve our own lost opportunities and our own unrealized potential.
Given that feelings of loss and sadness are constant features of social anxiety, how then could they be of any use to us? Isn’t grief just a symptom of the problem? The answer lies in the problem of control. Control in its various forms is the invisible engine that perpetuates social anxiety. As we struggle to control our fears, they paradoxically get worse. As we struggle to control our performance, our performance suffers or, at very least, our critical thoughts about ourselves go wildly out of control in response. The desire to control social anxiety is certainly understandable, after all feelings of anxiety are terrible, or at least we have come to think so. In any case we desire to control our feelings because we truly are suffering.
Yet many of us have been dogged by sadness for years with no letup of social anxiety. Surely, we protest, long experience has therefore shown that sadness has no real use at all. The problem lies in our unwillingness to feel more fully. The reality for both feelings of sadness and anxiety is that one level or another we constantly resist these feelings, and this resistance is also a form of control.
Making room for healthy grief is one way out of this control trap. This is because sadness is the letting go emotion. For example-- when someone we love dies-- we feel sadness, because sadness is the hearts way of letting go; And letting go more than anything else is the antidote to control.
It is important to note that working with sadness is not the only way to let go, direct work with faith and spirituality can also be very effective, but may also involve dimensions of sadness in the process as well.
So if sadness is the letting go emotion, then how do we use it to good effect? If it was of little use to us before, how can we turn it into an asset and make good use of it now? Understanding the issue of control is again a key to this riddle. If we try to force sadness to work for us, this will also backfire and make our social anxiety worse. So will wallowing in grief. Wallowing is merely a way of tightly holding on which is just control in a new disguise. So if we can’t force sadness and if wallowing in sadness is also a form of control then how can sadness be of any use to us at all? Rest of Article on Healing Social Anxiety through Healthy Grief
Source: From the Social Anxiety Anonymous (free) ebook "Twelve Gentle Steps to Healing Social Anxiety" (Social Anxiety Anonymous is a 12 Step program, and a Nonprofit organizations).
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