Fear can rule your world. I know, because I have spent most of my life afraid. On day one of life, if not sooner, I was afraid. I only finally walked at 18 months after my mother brought me to the doctor. He told her to wait one month and if I wasn’t walking, bring me back. Fear of the doctor’s office trumped fear of walking. I was terrified of animals, people, the phone, school, water, heights, bugs, you name it. A specific memory of fear I have incorporates obsessive compulsive disorder. I would obsessively pray every night and every time I got into a car that nothing bad would happen. I would have to sign the cross to open and close the prayer a crazy odd number of times to feel satisfied. I don’t know what was going on with me, but I also didn’t know it was abnormal. I grew up to being afraid to drive, afraid to go to parties, and afraid to go away to college.
The anxiety I felt when facing a fear was unbearable. As a teen, going out with friends was horrifying. There were three levels to pass to get me to a party. Getting in the car, getting out of the car, getting through the door. Once through the door, I mostly sat somewhere in a corner, frozen, watching the clock. To me, it was clear from birth that I had social anxiety disorder. It was a term I only had to hear once and I immediately identified with it. I knew I also had an intense irrational fear of things other than people. It wasn’t until my twenties that I was also diagnosed with general anxiety and paranoid personality disorder. To some, hearing something like that might be upsetting, but to me, the day I could label my nameless bullies was the first day I ever felt relief. When the blindfold was off and I knew what I was facing, I learned how to fight it. I began to collect the Arsenal of tools I needed to live a normal life. Rationalization, acceptance, clarification, calming techniques and boundary pushing tactics. Over years I transformed. The paranoia downgraded to insightful and cautious. I identified more as a realist than as a neurotic, and as observant instead of anxious. The only thing I was left with, was fear. Making the conscious effort to banish fear everyday is what set me free.
For help starting your fight against fear, identify what exercises your personality is most responsive to. Do you need to analyze things? Start seeing a counselor you feel comfortable with. Do you need to relate and compare? Read self-help books and blogs about people who have fought your battle and won. Are you the type that can quit cold turkey? Plan something this weekend that you have always been too afraid to do and shock yourself right out of fear. Find something to believe in, whether it’s religion or mystical therapies. Help is out there and it is never too late to seek it.
Self-help books to conquer fear and anxiety
–The Highly Sensitive Person by Elaine N. Aron
–The Language of Letting Go by Melody Beattie
– Coping with Anxiety by Edmund Bourne
–The Tao of pooh by Benjamin Hoff
–The Confidence Gap by Russ Harris
Removing outside influences is an excellent way to conquer fear. If there are places you’ve been wanting to go, you should. Planning a trip is easy, did you know that it doesn’t cost anything to use a travel agent? They are traveling pros and have been all around the world. They can guide you where to go, what to do, and book any flights, rooms, cars, rails, or tours you may need.
The best day of your life is the one on which you decide your life is your own. No apologies or excuses. No one to lean on, rely on, or blame. The gift is yours – it is an amazing journey – and you alone are responsible for the quality of it. This is the day your life really begins.”
Eze, France- The Eagle’s Nest
Fear is an ugly, dooming, lurking entity. Fear starts around you, it gets in you, and you become the host. Fear is a liar, and if you are the host, so are you. You lie to yourself, making yourself believe things you can’t do or can’t overcome. Get the fear out of you and in front of you by pushing the limits. Trust that you are in their somewhere and that you can do things outside of your comfort zone. Bring yourself back with each stride you make. Know that you don’t have to be ruled by fear. Once you get fear out of your existence and into your environment, call it a liar to its face. Tell it that you can, and you will. Banish it from your life. The whole world is out there waiting. How far do we get when we are afraid? Sometimes not even a literal baby step. How far do we get when we are not? We get it all.
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