You know the feeling. The one that starts somewhere deep within the depths. The one that crawls up your spine, through your muscles, tissues, bones, grabbing at your throat, your chest, your abdomen; constricting, tightening, convulsing. You can’t move; can’t even breathe. It’s cutting off your blood circulation; it’s piercing straight to the heart, to your soul. Your whole being is pulsating with this energy that just won’t cease; it’s overwhelming. You’re drowning. It’s running away at top speed, dragging you along and you feel powerless. It’s got you now, firmly, in its icy grip. Fear and you are not separate. Fear is you. You are fear.
You know the feeling. The one you try to push down. The one you try to distract from. The one you try to escape. The one you try to pretend isn’t there. The elephant in the room of your own body. The one that makes you feel sick to your stomach. The one that makes you unable to communicate.. . . . why can’t I just talk to people, like a ‘normal’ person does? The one that makes you consistently analyse yourself. The one that sends you straight up into the brain draining, endless list of ‘what if’s’. The one that makes you sad, makes you want to sleep the days away, makes you want to crawl out of your own skin. The one that steals your joy. The one that steals everything.
The one that might see you in any of these phases:
*Fight: No way am I taking this. I’m going to hit out at this feeling and fight it until it’s gone away for good. I might even lash out at other people around me too; I don’t want them knowing what I’m really feeling.
*Flight: I’m running. Running as fast away as I can. It’s too much. Too intense. I cannot take it anymore. I’m getting away from this vile thing as fast as I can.
*Freeze: I’m stuck. Completely stuck. I can’t move. Paralyzed by these sensations, there’s nothing I can do. It’s taken over me. I’m deep within the horror of it all and there’s no way out.
*Fawn: How can I appease this? What can I do to ‘please’? How can I avoid this? What do I have to do (no matter how hard, or at what expense to myself) to give this thing what it wants?
Everything becomes dangerous. Your job, your friends, your home, your thoughts, your body, your whole world. You don’t know how much more of this you can take.
We feel fear for many different reasons. Fear can be a wonderful source of alertness, checking for danger, sensing when something is ‘off’, supporting us to use what we have within us and what we need to channel to face challenging, difficult circumstances.
Fear as a habit? Fear as a natural state of being? That’s when things can become much trickier and much more difficult to navigate.
Your fears are real. Very real, for you. Your fears are big and strong; wildly strong. They are living and true, but what if they’ve become a habit? Something you do all of the time, without even noticing that you are doing it? Something that is just there, ever present. A deeply ingrained pattern. Something that has become part of your existence.
Ever had an experience where you think about something so much and are absolutely terrified of the ‘thing’ that you are thinking of? I have, and guess what? The ‘thing’ is usually nowhere near as terrifying as you thought it might have been. All that worry, all those thoughts, all that mind chatter, willing you to believe the great dangers that lie ahead; the horrendous experience(s) that you are going to have to deal with.
What if we could help ourselves through our fears?
What if we could nurture ourselves through that process?
What if we could get to a point where we could sit down with the fear?
Talk to it.
Listen to what it has to say, from a safe space.
Feel where it is living.
Lean into that space.
Let it breathe.
What if we could do that?