Challenging Fear

A few months ago, our anger and anxiety was at its peak. It was becoming crippling. We had slowly started to get a grip on general things, but social events were still such a challenge, small irritations were large irritations and it was all just running away with itself.

It feels like, for now, we are taking a shift away from being overrun with those emotions. Grief and all it’s effects aren’t linear, so we will enjoy this whilst it lasts. It’s not to say that anxiety and anger have left the building, but they don’t feel like they are on the main stage right now.

I could see grief, or more the anxiety and knock on effects, controlling some pretty huge aspects of our lifes. It felt as though, if we continued on that path and let it have more than just it’s moment, but full control that a life of unemployment and homelessness wasn’t far away. And that was pretty scary. Although, perfectly acceptable to me.

I’m all for letting grief and the various emotions breathe. It all needs space. You can’t fight it. You have to feel it, explore it, learn from it. But at the same time, I woke up one day not wanting the outcome of grief to have Leo’s death as the route cause.

Let’s take unemployment for example. There is an “easy” path that we could both take to unemployment. This isn’t actually easy, but it’s potentially easier than fighting for the alternative. When grief takes hold, it seems the only option. Benefits really aren’t that bad, surely? People manage? Who could blame us? Employment doesn’t give us our endless joy like people seem to think? It doesn’t give us Leo back, does it? Is work really that important when babies die? 

Yet, do I want to look back and go We are unemployed and poor because Leo died? Is that really the legacy and memory we want for our son? Do I want the shit that can come from this, to have his name attached to it?

So this is the approach I am currently taking to the countless secondary losses. I am taking and adapting an approach from the book The Life Changing Magic of Not Giving a Fuck as recommended by Florence’s mum.

The book teaches you how to not give a fuck, without becoming an arsehole. Although, at times I think becoming an arsehole is a perfectly acceptable response. I really wouldn’t blame us.

So with secondary losses I’m going with:

Do I give a fuck? Will I look back on our life an feel I’ve let Leo down by allowing that to happen? Do I want that attributed to his life, and death? Would I have allowed myself to have him the cause of that if he lived? Is he really the cause? Is that the legacy I want for him?

So for things like, not living in cardboard boxes, not becoming a crack addict, not being unemployed for life, not becoming sectioned – I’m going with trying as best I can to fight against those things happening only if I can, if I have the energy and if there’s a benefit to us for doing so.

And I might just save the crazy lady act for our retirement plan. What’s better than one crazy lady? Lesbian crazy ladies.

However for things such as friendships that have disappeared, is that Leo’s fault? Is he the route cause? Do I give a fuck enough to fight for it it? 

And I find myself saying no, no and er, no.

For some things I am able to see that Leo’s isn’t the route cause. It is possible to know that Leo died and not be a shit friend. Many many people have proved this a million times over. If people therefore have been a shit friend, I’m not blaming Leo or his death for that, I’m blaming them and only them for their shit frienship abilities. Leo hasn’t caused this. Therefore, I will not fight to save it if it serves no emotional benefit to us, and I’ll continue to place that energy into places and friendships where we do get an emotional benefit.

So, in all, this week I’ve challenged fear and am hopefully avoiding the secondary loss of employment. That is an achievement that I’m actually rather proud of.

Fear, so far, has always been worse than the reality. So challenge fear is my new mantra.

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