The Joy of Spring.

“The joy of spring”
The spring in my step.

We are already well into Springtime; the season of regeneration and the valley shakes off winter’s grey drabness to a symphony of birdsong and explosion of new life. Nature dresses skeletal branches in swathes of verdant velvet. Vibrant flowers dot the landscape nodding their pretty heads and with each passing day the sun climbs higher in the sky filling the world with warmth and vitality. This is the season of rebirth, hope, and new beginnings. The burgeoning world holds the promise of brighter days ahead.

I love this time of year!

It is a glorious time. I love it. It fills me up and I am ready to join the dance. Surely this optimistic contagion must be positively affecting everyone. I know from experience that for some, this is far from true.

What are you waiting for?

The warmer months invite us to be out in the glorious countryside, to venture beyond our gates and meet up with others. Spiders are suddenly much more present during the warmer weather. Frogs awaken from their winter slumber and are out hunting for food and mates. Grass snakes, slow worms and adders can be spotted sunbathing, the bees are buzzing, and a plethora of creepy-crawlies emerge from hidey holes to take benefit from the seasonal warmth. Life seems to reanimate in a glorious awakening. This can be a very unsettling time for those suffering with social anxiety or phobias.

My joy, your pain.

For several people this time incites a debilitating anxiety and discomfort that renders life utterly miserable. The transition from winter to spring involves changes in weather, daylight hours, and routines. This can be unsettling and lead to feelings of anxiety and uncertainty. There is social pressure to be out and about and to socialise more. Pressure to get into shape for summer, to find the money to book that holiday, to have fun, to mix and party. These expectations whether real or perceived create pressure for those with social anxiety, low self-esteem, or a difficult relationship with alcohol. Spring and summer bring an increase in social events, gatherings, and outdoor activities and for those who struggle, it presents a challenging time. A time when half of us fully enjoy the longer daylight hours and everyone else feels alienated, or stressed, obligated, and uncomfortable, or caught in a cycle of indulgence and shame. Scrolling through social media, the rose-coloured presentation of ‘other lives’ in technicolour perfection we buy into the fiction and are left feeling inadequate, unhappy, and unsure. It feels like, in the sunshine there is nowhere to hide. The sunshine magnifies our imperfections leaving us anxious, pressured, and feeling inadequate.

Fear, phobia, and feeling anxious.

If you have a phobia, or know anyone who suffers with a phobia, then you know just how life-limiting the condition can be. And the warmer months are a difficult time for many suffers.

Case in point.

I worked with someone who literally could not be outside from March to June due to their deep fear of frogs. The sight of a wet leaf vaguely resembling a frog would result in extreme panic. They would freeze and be unable to move, their heart rate would rise dramatically, their head would spin and their stomach turn, they would feel nauseous and often vomit, they would struggle to breathe and take several hours after the exposure to regain a normal heart rate and return to regular breathing. As the years went by, in addition to the extreme physiological reaction, they also carried deep shame for what they perceived to be an irrational fear. It was excruciatingly embarrassing. They were the butt of well-meaning jokes at work as people attempted to diffuse the situation, but it only further impacted feelings of isolation and humiliation leading my client questioning their own sanity.

Springtime blues.

Self-esteem plummets when we are unable to trust ourselves and no one else seems to understand. It becomes far easier to try and hide our fear. Far easier to stay indoors. Far easier to make excuses and miss the garden wedding, the neighbour’s barbeque, the lover’s walk in the woods, the festival, and family camping get-togethers. Far easier to over-indulge to feel ok. Far easier, but it is painful when the invitations stop coming. Phobias, fear and anxiety is debilitating, and their affects can be life-limiting, gradually eroding the sufferer’s feelings of self-worth, confidence, and happiness. While spring is generally associated with renewal and rejuvenation, it is important to recognise that for some spring and summer may be particularly challenging times.

Be aware of others who seem to be withdrawing.

At all times be kind. You, like me, might be full of the joys of spring but be slow to judge others who do not embrace the season. As humans we are wonderfully diverse, which is what makes this world such an interesting and curiosity-provoking place. There is room and a place for us all, in all our glorious differences; in all our unique ways of being.

Succumb to the loveliness of this time of year if you can, keep spring in your step but be prepared to walk to a different rhythm from time to time and let someone unsure walk alongside you.

A time of change, and a time for change.

If this time of year is worrying for you, remember you have a right to feel differently, to be different. Do not beat yourself up because you struggle, you are already dealing with enough without adding self-criticism to your load. But I hope you find your way to releasing your fears and pain, and that one-day springtime is a positive and magical time of year for you too.

There is much you can do for yourself, by yourself. But if you have a need and the desire to experience hypnotherapy, you can be assured that I will do my utmost to help you to a place where you feel differently. I am experienced in supporting people with phobias and suffering anxiety and low self-esteem. You can change your life, you can change your mind!

With a smile and warm regards,

Symantha x