In his book The Incurable Romantic clinical psychologist, Frank Tallis explains how symptoms (of unrequited love) can match those of a mental illness. Tallis shares how the Roman philosopher Lucretius’s writing on the mind and behaviour is a description of what happens when people fall in and out of love. He observes that the besotted frequently become agitated and stirred up by insatiable desires. Many of us know this as anxiety, or its cohorts—depression, frustration, and rage.
Sexual union, often passionate and violent, says Tallis, results in only temporary relief because lovers always want more of each other. But it’s not just unrequited romantic love that can play havoc with our anxiety levels.
Love is addictive. Falling in love is a little like becoming ill or, even worse, going mad. Love, Lucretius says, is like an unconquerable disease and lovers waste away from wounds that can’t be seen. They are lovesick: weak and neglectful of responsibilities, they behave foolishly and fritter away fortunes; they become jealous and insecure.
Exquisite poems and love songs often describe the despair of lovers as a malady. Early medical texts also conceptualize love as an ailment. Lovesickness was considered a legitimate diagnosis from classical times to the 18th century, but it more or less disappeared in the 19th century. Today, the term ‘lovesickness’ is a metaphor rather than a diagnosis.
But lovesickness is not a trivial matter. Unrequited romantic love is a frequent cause of depression, anxiety, and suicide. Approximately 10% of all murders are connected with jealousy and sexual envy.
When it comes to our neglected personal passions and hobbies the death toll can be equally as destructive. In many of my self-empowerment books, I cite research that suggests that less than 10 per cent of people are living their passion. Yet love is the very cure we crave.
Moreover, there is a view that intermittently gains traction in psychiatry and psychology that love troubles are not merely associated with mental illness but are the primary course. I have found myself sitting in front of lovesick clients whose psychological pain, spiritual dissonance and behavioural and emotional disturbances were equal in severity to any of the symptoms of a major psychiatric illness.
Some of these include:
Personally, I can identify with all of these symptoms, and without doubt, lovesickness shows up or worsens during times when I have neglected my own self-care and not made time for the people and things I love.
During such times, feelings of shame and toxic guilt stalk me daily, and anger and frustration too, at the inordinate time I have spent ‘barking up the wrong tree’—doing things purely for money without joy.
As I write I think of my long-neglected love, my historical fiction novel, delegated to the backroom as I focus on more seeming ‘profitable’ pursuits. I’ll talk more about this in the chapter, “Past Life, Present Power” in my book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy
There is no question that stress begins in the mind/ emotions—in the psychic realms of our nature. And there are two major reasons for it. One major cause of stress, depression and anxiety, perhaps THE major cause, is being out of harmony with the “Higher Will”. This is the will of our Higher Genius.
“The Higher Will (the Will of the God Within) is the actual origin of all your thoughts and desires, your real thoughts and desires. It is also the Origin of the Life Force or Life Principle within a person. To be out of tune with this is to experience a “reduction of life force” and this is the first “unease,” the Primal Unease, Original Sin as some have called it,” writes Joseph Polansky, in his fabulous book, A Technique for Mediation.
“When there is a reduction of “life force” all the faculties are ‘diminished’—the power to think, to love, to resist disease, to sense, feel and perceive. This is a very dangerous condition to be in. If you think about it you’ll easily see why. The second major cause is being out of harmony with our fellow human beings, relationship problems.
The emotional consequences of falling in and out of love can be enduring and profound. I have seen lives unravel and fortunes lost on account of wild passions that never bore fruit or were never pursued.
I have watched people suffer prolonged anguish because of criticism, toxic shaming, and rejection. I have seen jealously turn to envy and then turn inward as people pathologically compare their lack of success to others. On none of these occasions did I suggest they give up. Instead, I cheer them on, as I cheer myself on.
Our pain is a reflection of how much we loved. Dostoyevsky said, “The darker the night, the brighter the stars, the deeper the grief, the closer to God.” Similarly, Psychologist and author Jordan Peterson says, “the worse thing for a creative person is not to create because you just die.”
“The worse thing for a creative person is not to create because you just die.”Dr. Jordan Peterson
The term incurable romantic acknowledges an unconformable clinical reality. One of the ardent poets of ancient Egypt tellingly wrote that doctors with their remedies could not heal his heart. He may have been right.
Love is a great leveller. Everyone wants love, everyone falls in love, everyone loses love and everyone knows something of love’s madness; and when love goes wrong, our relative wealth, education and status count for nothing. Virtually all the major theoreticians of psychotherapy, Freud, Jung, Peterson and others, agree that love is essential to human happiness.
“The problems arising from love—infatuation, jealousy, heartbreak, trauma, inappropriate attachment and addiction, to name but a few — merit serious consideration, and the line which separates normal from abnormal love is frequently blurred. The merest spark of attraction can cause a fire that has the potential to consume us,” writes Kallis.
But this isn’t necessarily bad— again, be obsessed or be average. The choice is yours.
If you have neglected your passion don’t lose heart. Everyone needs some time apart. Absence from your passions can make the heart grow deeper and clearer.
As Leonardo da Vinci once said it can be wise to take a break. “Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgement will be surer.” I share more strategies for keeping your energy levels high in Love! Love! Love!
Love endures. It does not give up or lose faith. Love is hopeful and withstands every situation. Remember this truth—love lasts. Take positive steps, even baby ones, to create changes that transcend fears and help create the changes to help you reunite with your love.
You’ll find plenty of encouragement and support throughout my book, Anxiety Rescue: How to Overcome Anxiety, Panic, and Stress and Reclaim Joy. You may also like to grab a copy of my book, How To Find Your Passion And Purpose: Four Easy Steps to Discover A Job You Want and Live the Life You Love
Take positive steps, even baby ones, to create changes that transcend fears and help create the changes to help you reunite with your love.~ Cassandra Gaisford
START YOUR LIFE ANEW
If you have a dream, passion project or want to transform your life LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! is for you.
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! is a life-changing group coaching program that will infuse your life with bubbles of joy and inspire you to uncover your deepest desire and say I LOVE IT.
LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! is a bespoke and fun programme that brings structure, learning and clarity about what you love and how to take lovely practical and empowering steps to make it happen. I SHOW you at 50, 60, 70+ that it’s NOT TOO LATE TO DO WHAT YOU LOVE!!
Cassandra’s road map to Free To Be You PLUS 20 live calls consisting of:
A 2-hour intensive one-to-one call at the start
And 18 weekly 1-hour group coaching calls
(And you’ll have life-access to the recordings of these calls)
Videos, information sheets, reading lists, activities and weekly guidance on the next step for you.
Posted in: wellbeing
I am an artist, storyteller, intuitive guide, mentor and Reiki master. All my creations are infused with positive energy , inspiration, and light. I believe in magic and the power of beauty, joy, love, purpose, and creativity to transform your life. My greatest joy is helping your realize your dreams. That makes my soul sing!
RECENT BLOG POSTS