Sit the fuck down and be sad

In Consciousness, Pronoia by Amanda Tan

There was a time in my life where there were only two ways of handling a situation; fight like hell, or get the hell out of dodge. AKA; The Fight-or-Flight response.

[Some wiki facts] This response was first described by Walter Bradford Cannon. His theory states that animals react to threats with a general discharge of the sympathetic nervous system, priming the animal for fighting or fleeing. (More specifically, the adrenal medulla produces a hormonal cascade that results in the secretion of catecholamines, especially norepinephrine and epinephrine. The hormones estrogen, testosterone and cortisol, and the neurotransmitters dopamine and serotonin, also affect how organisms react to stress. Blah blah.)

At this time, I only knew these two ways. I read once that in some individuals, the brain goes through so much stress that it develops anxiety (or Fight-or-Flight) as a response and that coming back from that can take quite a bit of effort.

Let’s give this idea a story so you can get a better idea of what I mean.

  • If I felt fat, I would run to the point that I had shin splints, then I’d run some more. That’s fight. (And flight, cos you know, I be flying through the tracks!)
  • If I was heartbroken, I’d quickly develop feelings for someone else so I could stop having nightmares about the ground zero individual. Pretending my feelings for that person didn’t exist. That’s flight.
  • If I felt lonely, I’d go out and talk to so many people, I’d feel dizzy and make out with one or two boys in one evening. And this was a perceived solution for me at that time. That’s fight. (Remember, physical connection is always, always, about connecting with another human being. All you proud fuckboys and girls better recognise.)
  • If someone pissed me off at work, I’d try to logic myself out of the situation and justify things for them or for myself. And I’d work like hell to make peace in an unfixable situation. Instead of just being fucking angry. That’s both fight and flight.

I could never just sit in my feelings and let them be. I was constantly fleeing or fighting them. (Mostly fighting, cos I’m a fighter; cue Christina Aguilera’s cheesy fighter song, baby.) And I was exhausted, every day. My body crumbled under this condition. And even though I was fighting, or fleeing, I was always stuck in the same place.

As the buddhist saying goes; “What you resist, will persist.”

And damn did I resist. It was like getting Ryan Gosling to eat his cereal. I just wouldn’t do it. I wouldn’t. And for Ryan, someone had to die to make him eat his cereal (Oh… I don’t mean to be insensitive but it’s a good analogy). And similarly, I had to die to change this habit.

And damn did I resist. It was like getting Ryan Gosling to eat his cereal.

Or at least, a part of me did. I had to hit the bottom so hard, the only way to survive was to stop fighting, to stop running, to stop kissing boy no. 4, to stop.

And sit with my feelings. Woe is me, for fuck, do I hate feelings.

Now I’m not saying let depression overtake you and become some sort of shadow of yourself, I’m saying acceptance is a big part of getting over crap. And acceptance is crappy. Being sad is crappy. But running all the time, doesn’t solve anything. So it’s time to sit on your own shit and smell the roses… and the shit.

Obviously, I’m going through some stuff now, which is why I am writing this. And a couple of days ago on a Saturday, I made a choice. I had the options of meeting friends, or working out like a psycho or partying (partying is always there eh). But I chose to stay in bed and feel shitty. Journal through my thoughts instead of fighting them or ignoring them. I sat in a sop of my own tears and just let it be.

And it was the best thing I could have ever done for myself that night.

About the Author
Amanda Tan

Amanda Tan

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Amanda Tan is a filmmaker, VJ, writer and artist based in Singapore. Amanda is currently the director of Empyreal, a creative company specialising in film production, live visuals, and content creation. Amanda writes mostly the ratchet things that appear on Psymbiosis.

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