Learning to stop fear controlling your life
Fear has an incredible power over us. It can be very contradictory in the way it affects our lives. To some measure, we need fear. I remember once being told by a doctor, that everyone needs a touch of anxiety. It’s what helps us do things in life. If we didn’t worry about not waking up in time, when the alarm goes in the morning, then we could be late for work. If we didn’t worry about looking both ways, when we cross the street, then we could be hit by a car. Fear could be seen as the thing that keeps us alert. However, when that fear grows, it no longer keeps us ‘alert’. Being alert is overruled with almost paranoid fear / anxiety.
For a long period of time in my life, fear overruled anything I did. My anxiety was and still is primarily rooted around death. So, in the past, I would somehow find a link to any action leading to death and would therefore not do it. For example, going on vacation. In order to go on vacation abroad, I would either have to get on a plane, get on a boat, or go on a train. All of those I would somehow be convinced could lead to some fatal accident, that would result in the end of my life. Therefore, no vacation. Leaving the house became something I couldn’t do very easily either. When travelling anywhere, I would be close to tears throughout the whole journey, shaking, my hands would become clammy and I was on high alert non stop. I had managed to let my mind cripple me from doing anything, or experiencing anything.
I don’t remember the breaking point, but I had had enough!
I had loved being outdoors, among nature, going on adventures and exploring. That was who I was and fear had some how let me forget that. I stopped listening to those fears and found new ways to cope and overcome those crippling thoughts. For example, with flying I spoke to my doctor about anti-sickness tablets and found out facts that made flying seem less scary. For example, I repeated over and over again in my head things like ‘you have more chance of being eaten by a shark’. Repeating things like this during take off, whilst blasting music through my headphones, really helped and before I knew it the flight was over! I was ready to explore. When it came to coping with the smaller day to day things, it was more like forcing myself to do something and realising I was perfectly fine. Realising I was safe, I was fine and that I was in fact having fun in life!
What happened next?
Not too long after, everything began to just feel right and I did a complete 180. I was booking vacations, I was regularly out of the house – almost fearing being trapped inside! I learnt what worked for me, where my comfort zone was and how far I could be pushed out of it. I enjoy crossing my own boundaries and I love experiencing new things, but I’m very aware of what my mental state can handle. If I know something has the potential to make me become a shaking mess, or feel mentally scarred/haunted, or that I just simply won’t find any happiness from, then I know there is no need for me to go through with it. It is ok to say no.
I think if anything, that is a huge part in growing up. Learning what you can say yes, or no to and what does, or does not work for you. I love my life so much and I am someone who loves doing as much as possible and yet equally balancing that with down time, to just relax and chill out. I do what is best for my peace of mind.
The point I am trying to make, is that fear does not and should not overrule your life. It should not dictate what you get to do and it should not stop your happiness. Give yourself that little push. On a day that you feel like staying at home, because it’s raining outside; go and put on your raincoat, open up your umbrella and walk in the rain. When there’s a fancy dress party you’re thinking of avoiding, because you could just stay at home and watch the party on your snapchat – PICK OUT THE BEST COSTUME EVER AND BE THE SNAPCHAT STORY! If you need those down days, that is ok too, but don’t make your entire life a down day.
Try your hardest to not ever let life be taken from you, and enjoy every second of it, because the minute you let fear overrule you, that is when you give up any chance of having the life you deserve.
How can I help my fears?
Below I have left some links to helpful websites, that have give you helpful tips on managing your fears: