Ann-Sophie Briest (MD, C-IAYT)
Updated: May 19, 2022
This year is special. For all of us. 2020 has been an exceptional year and it doesn’t seem to slow down just yet. It is not only COVID-19 as a disease which threatens our way of living but everything that comes with it: the fear and confusion. The restrictions and political polarisation etc. But in all of that there’s one theme that stands out to me: uncertainty.
There is this saying: ‘When nothing is certain everything is possible.’
During the last year we’ve all been asked to step - in one way or another - into ‘the unknown’. Whether we labeled that as an opportunity for growth or not. Basically, things and actions which used to give us a sense of stability were challenged. Conditions we took for granted, just changed over night.
But letting go and detaching from old patterns and conditions is not an easy task. In fact, stepping into the unknown - out of our comfort zone - is by definition uncomfortable and scary.
To experience the fear of i.e. not being able to sustain oneself and family financially is touching on our basic needs. That has a deep impact on our psycho-emotional state.
Truth is, psychological & psychiatric emergencies have been exploding during the last couple of months because people's ability to self-regulate has been greatly challenged.
Whoever studies the nature of the human psyche knows that diagnosis of a psychological disease is merely a quantitative but not a qualitative evaluation. That means we all experience moments of feeling i.e. depressed or anxious. But that doesn’t mean that we suffer from depression or anxiety.
What determines whether the moment of feeling depressed or anxious becomes longer and longer, eventually leading to a period of depression or anxiety?
Well, it’s important to remember that moments of feeling depressed or anxious are part of a healthy emotional spectrum and may be an adequate response to a certain situation. No need to change that.
The more relevant questions to me are:
‘What are the causes of depression and anxiety?’
And if we agree that it is not an event or situation which is causing the disease but the ability to respond and self-regulate to the circumstances, what is the key?
In his book ‘Lost Connections: Uncovering the real causes of depression’ Johann Hari takes the reader on a scientific yet empathic journey into the causes of depression.
In addition to a chapter on childhood trauma, Hari explores 6 other reasons people are depressed. Some of these include: Lost connections to
a sense of hope for the future
and lost intrinsic values such as love
If you are curious to learn about this subject check out this research article: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6550286/
For us to relate or connect to anyone or anything around us we need to be able to connect to ourselves as well. We need to learn to connect to our inner environment.
Where do I feel ‘depression or anxiety’ (or any other emotion) in my own body?
How does it look, smeel, taste, sound or feel like?
Can I allow any perception to arise within me without the need to judge or fix it?
These questions may sound peculiar but from all the work I’ve done with myself and others I can only share that these have been absolutely key to getting in touch with emotions in a healthy and self-empowering way.
In fact, ‘allowing’ emotions to be felt and witnessed is not making us more ‘emotional’ (in the meaning of dramatising) but instead we learn to hold space for ourselves (and others!). We develop and increase the ability to self-regulate and adapt to even extremely challenging external circumstances. Taking responsibility for our emotional reaction.
This is fundamentally different from coping with our emotions through suppression, avoidance, by-passing or blaming others.
And there we are - this way of working with emotions is, in my opinion, rarely understood and/or trained. But it is absolutely worth it!
In the beginning it may be uncomfortable to deeply feel and allow emotions… but the more we learn to hold space for ourselves the more natural it becomes to experience a strong body-mind connection from one moment to the next.
And this in turn helps us to connect to our family, friends and community in an authentic and openhearted way - healing the root cause of depression: lost connections.
Fascia can be considered as the bridge between the physical body and the mind and nervous system - it literally helps us to stay connected.
Starting to work with fascia is a powerful entry door to feel and allow emotions.
Give it a try! And observe whether it supports you to stay connected.
May you be surrounded by loving and supporting people.
May you have the courage to allow your emotions.
May 2020 bring you inner growth and maturity.
May you be healthy and happy.
All the best,