Overcoming Fear

I’ve been having a kind of difficult time figuring out how I was going to say this. No one likes dealing with fear.  We all know how it feels. The sudden pressure in the chest, feeling like your heart is racing and going to explode. Palms get sweaty, in your mind you start losing sense of what is going on around you because you are in panic mode. This could be a brief thing or it could last for long periods of time. We’ve all experienced fear to one degree or another. I’ve experienced fear many times in my life. No, not the, I almost died kind of fear, but the kind of fear that was controlled by my ego. I was afraid to fall asleep, because I didn’t know if I’d be woken to someone beating me and screaming in my face. I felt that I would be defenseless while I slept. I was afraid to talk to anyone, in fear they would judge me. I was afraid to speak to certain people, in fear they would explode on me. I was afraid to go home. Afraid to leave the house. Afraid to go to sleep in fear that I wouldn’t wake back up. Fear literally controlled my life.

During a few year period, I was experiencing as many as eight panic attacks a day. I was put on Zoloft and Clonazepam. I was going through therapy on a regular basis. I felt like a zombie. I didn’t experience any emotions at all and found myself barely getting off the couch. I was a stay at home mom while my husband was deployed. I told myself, I can’t live like this. I can’t even remember what I’m suppose to be doing. Something has to change.

The thing was though, I was to afraid to make the changes that I knew that I needed to make. It wasn’t a life or death situation, I couldn’t justify the means to make the changes that were needed. Everything told me that if I made these changes, I would fail. The only thing was, it was all Ego. I never realized this during the time period though because I didn’t know what ego was. I felt like I had no control over my life and everything was spiraling around me. My therapist asked me why I kept coming back to therapy when it appeared that I no longer needed it. But secretly I felt that I did. Because when I was with my therapist, everything felt like it made sense. I felt better. But when I left, I felt that I was lost with no direction to go and that I had no control of my situation that I was faced with.

I knew I didn’t want to take medication anymore. I hated how it made me feel. My attacks became worse while I was on the medication. I didn’t feel like I was functioning. I know how medication works, you have to find that right one before it actually works. But this was different. I felt and knew that this was different. I told my therapist, I keep coming back because my situation at home hasn’t changed. The words coming out of my mouth were exactly that wake up call that I needed. It was my “Aha!” moment.

Thus started my determination to move through fear. I’m not going to lie. It took me a few years. What?! A few years?! That’s insane! You’re right. Considering the situation I was in, it did take a few years to be able to move through that fear. Making the move is something that you are not going to do until you are completely tired of the situation that you are in. When giving up just isn’t enough. It’s years spent praying for a miracle, putting your foot down and saying enough is enough, and then being pushed through that door because fear has you glued to the floor. That’s an extreme case. I’m sure at some point we’ve all been there. What was I really afraid of? Change. Things being different and believing other people who told me I could never do it. Believing myself when I said I couldn’t do it. Fear of the “what if”. Fear of never going back if it didn’t work out. The list can go on and on.

I’ve been afraid to write this. Why? Because what if I couldn’t per-trey fear like I wanted to. That I couldn’t help you understand that fear is an illusion. That even through my own failures and setbacks with fear, could I really help someone else? The truth is, sometimes we have to say it out loud exactly what we know to be true.

Fear is more than just being afraid of what could go wrong. It’s also being afraid of what could go right. Being afraid of getting that job position. Being afraid of being happy. Being afraid of getting that person we’ve been attracted to, and it working out! This is all because of ego. Ego tells us that it isn’t going to work because past experiences say that it’s never worked out before, so why would it now? Ego says that you are not good enough to be happy. Ego says that my situation is different and it just wouldn’t work for me. Excuse my language, but… fuck ego. He’s an asshole. For real. Why let that little voice who has zero experience in making decisions stop you from making the important decisions that you need to make to make your life better? Fear is an illusion. It’s not real. It has zero base in your current moment. It holds you back.

How do we overcome fear? What can we do to make it easier? Here’s a few ideas for you:

  • I always recommend seeking counseling of some sort. Professional or from someone who you can truly trust who has a positive impact on your life
  • Stay in the current moment. Focusing on the past or the future will just create fear and anxiety. As I’ve said before, the past is over and the future hasn’t even happened yet.
  • Change up your thinking. Every time you think of something negative, replace it with a positive. It will not only lift your mood and make you a happier person, but it will also change your outlook on your life all together.
  • Meditation is always a way to go no matter the situation. With meditation you learn how to calm your mind, build your intuition, and help keep a positive outlook.
  • Think about what you can do, instead of what you can’t do
  • Take time for yourself to relax and do something that makes you happy
  • Remember that fear and anxiety are temporary
  • Don’t forget to breath!

This isn’t a one time fix all sort of thing. Ego is always going to come up. He’s always going to put in his two cents. Its up to you to determine if you are going to listen to him or not. Even though I’ve overcome my fear and my life has improved by leaps and bounds, it doesn’t mean that I still don’t experience it from time to time. I just remind myself of what I already know. I put my words into practice and with my determination do what needs to be done. If you don’t do it, don’t apply for it, or don’t ask, the answer will always be “no”. So stop holding yourself back!

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