Fear is something I will most assuredly discuss off and on for as long as I have this blog running. Every single person out there has at least ONE thing they fear or are afraid of. For some of us, like myself, we have a plethora of fears. I know there are people out there who claim not to be afraid of anything; they fancy themselves immune to fear. But here’s a question, what does fear look like? I can guarantee that when asked about fear, most of us think of phobias…spiders, darkness, snakes and it’s usually either childhood type phobias or all that is creepy and crawly. What if I told you fear is less obvious than your basic phobia. What if I told you it was the underlying culprit to many conditions?
I have anxiety, but more than that, I have anxiety disorder. I have panic attacks, but not just panic attacks, panic disorder. I have also endured depression, which anyone who has depression knows it doesn’t magically disappear, but it can go dormant as I refer to it. Just to reiterate, I don’t make posts like these for sympathy, I make them for one simple reason: to help others. Now, with that said, I want to touch on something for a moment before continuing on to fear. Over the last few years I have noticed many people saying they have “anxiety”. While they may feel the “normal” feeling of nervousness or uneasiness associated with your average person, the simple fact is it’s not consuming them. It’s not debilitating to them. It doesn’t affect their daily lives and paralyze them. It doesn’t morph them into a person whom they can’t even recognize in the mirror. I am not trying to judge another in any way, but when you actually have anxiety and panic disorders, it’s easy to recognize the authentic from the ones who nonchalantly throw the terms around. I’m very confident in the near future I will blog further about my experiences with anxiety and panic disorder, but let me get back on track to fear. The reason I brought up anxiety, depression and panic is because they all stem from fear in some form or another. In my case, lack of being in control is also a factor. Think about it for a minute, those of us with anxiety and panic disorder have many fears. We fear losing control/going “crazy”, others being able to tell something is wrong with us, things happening to us that are out of our control, having some sort of serious illness, no one believing us and our feelings and the list goes on. For myself, at an extremely bad time with my anxiety, I was like a zombie…lifeless. I sat there with no emotions on my face at all, no matter who talked to me or attempted to, I just looked off and never even acknowledged their presence. I wouldn’t eat because I believed I was allergic to anything and everything. I feared going outside of the house because all kinds of things could potentially happen to me. I missed many days of work because I feared leaving the couple of people I deemed my “safe people” who I found some sort of comfort in. I thought every day was my last day. I hardly slept at night because I was convinced I would die in my sleep. My body would go into uncontrollable shakes which weren’t as severe as seizures, but resembled them in certain small aspects. Fear plays a significant role in panic and anxiety disorders. Depression, in many cases, can be caused by fear. Some fear speaking up for themselves or speaking up about their past traumatic experiences and that can cause them to fall into depression.
I was asked, “What if you woke up tomorrow and all your fear was gone, what would you do?” My answer was, “I would live.”
It seems like an odd answer, considering I am literally alive…but often times I am not living. Many times I am controlled by fear; I let it dictate my life. It tells me where I will go, what I will do. In certain times it becomes all-consuming and I lose myself. I become a shell of a person, unrecognizable to those who know me best and love me most. When you’re in those hours, weeks, months or even years, you can become so discouraged. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’re “crazy” and “broken” and you’ll “never be the same” and you’re not “normal” (whatever normal is!) kind of look at that last one as a positive 🙂 None of those are true statements. You have the ability to come back from all of it. I don’t want others to live in that constant struggle every single day. It’s like having to be a fighter every single day, whether you want to fight or not and you have no choice. It gets to a point where you just say, “I don’t want to fight anymore” and that is when you start to lose yourself. It’s not easy at all and it’s not “all in your head.” I quote movies A LOT and when referring to anxiety and panic I will use a quote from Titanic, “All the while I feel like I’m standing in the middle of a crowded room screaming at the top of my lungs, and no one even looks up.” People feel like if they cannot see physical signs of your condition, you don’t really have any issues. They are conditions that others cannot fathom because they have never truly felt them.
The most important message I want to put out there is that there IS hope! You can come back and learn how to control your fears. I am not saying you will be “cured” or you won’t have times where you revert back, but you’ll have more confidence in your fight and in the end you’ll be the one still standing. Personally, I would not be where I am today without my faith in God and actually, I would not be alive at all. God has protected me through so much in my life, and it’s amazing to look back on certain situations I have been in and realize I made it out. God does not want us to live in fear, but to come to Him with anything that is troubling us.
I’m not sure if any of this was very cohesive, hopefully it made some sort of sense 😉 I would urge all of you to think about you fears and how big of a role they play in your life. Try to learn more about the triggers of your fears and work on getting to know yourself more. The more you learn about yourself and your fears, the more you’ll be able to work on them more effectively. I believe in the power of prayer as well. Take time to bring your worries and fears to God and watch how He works in your lives and uses you to help others. Much love and God Bless. ❤