Eating out of fear.
Fear as a major root of self destructive behaviors.
Fear is the subject of this post. Not for the faint of heart...
For starters, my husband and I are watching a Great Courses lecture series, Great Minds of the Western Intellectual Tradition. A few nights ago, we learned about Thomas Hobbes, who asserted that people are ruled not by reason but by passions, especially the desire for power and the fear of violent death.
Hobbes' philosophy resonates with me a bit, getting me to think about fear... fear of making a mistake, fear of not being worthwhile, fear of being the first to arrive at the scene of a terrible automobile accident, fear of being alone, fear of falling, fear of terminal illnesses, fear of loss and being lost. This list could go on an on. If Hobbes is right, our fears lead us to seek security. For me, food is a security blanket which can temporarily warm me against the deep chill of fear.
What other defenses do I have?
Thursday night my husband checked MSN.com, seeing the first reports of the tragic events that are still unfolding in Japan. We turned on CNN and watched in dismay as the visual impact of the destruction of life and property by the earthquake and tsunami grew ever more frightening.
After about an hour, I said, "I need some chips." My husband said, "Me too." He brought out a large unopened bag of chips and we both dove into it. Handfuls of chips were stuffed mindlessly into a mouth by a hand that was oddly disassociated... mine, but not mine... and consumed with minimal awareness while I remained glued to the TV screen.
In fact, rarely have chips been a problem food for me. I prefer sweet. But I'm abstinent on sweet. So that night, it was all about me using chips in an attempt to ward off fear.... What was that fear? Wasn't I witnessing our total and complete lack of control over our destiny? So then, is the mother fear, the fear under all the other fears, about not having control? Seems it might be.
Since then, more chips have found their way into my hands. Not a huge amount like the first time, but not on my food plan either. I want to stop my hands and ask their cooperation in exploring fear, to invite fear to expose herself fully to me, to allow fear and lack of control to sift through my body, to feel my feelings.
Back to the question about what other defences I might have against fear. What are some possibilities?
-- prayer, especially the Serenity PrayerWell, that list contains more antidotes than I thought might be available to me. I bet there are even more.
-- actions directly related to the fear
-- shift of focus
-- anti-anxiety meds
-- living in the moment
-- making a bucket list
-- doing things on my bucket list
Chip alert at the end of writing this post: somewhat lower.
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Today's gratitude: neighbor's chickens, time to sew, OA meetings, human generosity, my sisters-in-law