There’s a part to emerging from a difficult situation that is sometimes overlooked: the inertia that can creep into a life out of a fear of taking risks again. I mean ordinary, everyday gambles over remembering and feeling things. The past can feel too much. Getting closer to someone or something can feel too frightening – and perhaps what makes this most difficult is that the fear I’m referring to is almost impossible to catch hold of. It might simply come upon you like an itch, a sense of wanting to squirm; an instinctive no, or a sense of relief if you move towards it (away from where you might actually need to be: getting to know another person, trying out another way of doing something, or looking back at something you did and realising it wasn’t quite like you’d imagined).
People can stay in this space for the rest of their lives, accumulating bitterness and resentment over what they know they are steadily losing.
I’ve met people who’ve gone through therapy and led lives compromised by insights gained with therapists who didn’t think repression itself might be a helpful Freudian a fantasy. I know sportsmen and women who have lost their edge because coaches and psychologists have given them reasons why they might be failing instead of encouraging them to keep playing and lovingly scooping them up when they fail. I can think of politicians who will never make a good decision because they remain obsessed with knowing what bad ones might be.
Life emerges out of the unknown, not ideas.