I’ve always admired a cat’s ability to totally relax, regardless of circumstances. Check out the little presentation I couldn’t resist compiling about cats and life! When we go through difficult times, it can leave a lasting mark on our ability to trust others and life. The problem with this, is that a person who has been overwhelmed by bad experience in the past can then start to avoid a lot of life experiences for fear of becoming overwhelmed again. I call this the start of the “Law of diminishing returns”.
I knew one person who started off struggling to trust others and expecting things to go wrong. She then started to avoid people. The next thing that happened was that she was struggling to go to the supermarket. In effect, the more she avoided, the less she did, and the less she did the more she struggled with what she could do. This led to a vicious cycle which ended with her being a virtual hermit and prisoner in her own home.
It is really hard to develop skills that enable us to confront our fears, and this is where counselling can be really helpful. I’ve met some incredibly brave people in the past who have forced themselves to keep going despite having several panic attacks a day. The way forward is to find ways to deal with the anxieties first and to build inner resources so that there are new ways of having “inner strength”! This is so much better than struggling to keep on going.