Fear Saga Part 2: “Handling Fear.”

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Weird and wonderful had began Fear Saga Part 1: ” Baseline” . Now the Saga of fear continues with Part 2: Handling fear, using the process of reflection to see if I can focus on how to combat fear.

Why did you choose Yoda to start the handling of fear?

Yoda, who would have thought the little green man had so much wisdom and so much to say? I didn’t. I really didn’t imagine my life would come to fearing a person so much that I would be worried about turning to the darkside. Let’s be metaphorical about this whole darkside fear moment.

“Fear leads to anger,
Anger leads to hate,
Hate leads to suffering.”

I mean, even if you are surviving the worst bullying, or an abusive relationship, or the loss of a loved one; Yoda pulls you back into the light and makes you realise you can have the integrity to keep it together.

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So the little green man should take some kind of a bench mark in philosophy; he had the answer all along. I mean, you could have this fear of losing loved ones, or, you could be so enraged that you become jealous of other’s. Thus Yoda is a perfect example of being able to handle fear. The answer was written and spoken of for many centuries, they answer how we could control our own anger which causes war. The very anger which causes children to abuse one another endlessly or be abused by other’s. Break the cycle with Jedi training. This is only sarcastically speaking but Jedi is an actual recognised religion in the world. It only seems appropriate to give credit where it is due.

How does your body feel when you fear things?

Honestly, I have been gripped with fear before. I can feel my knuckles tensing up, my shoulders and neck become stiff. I just freeze on the spot. My breathing becomes irregular.

Now I have been to the point where the fear has been a slow reaction. I went through the opposite shock motions because it was a series of things which occurred. I remember I needed the toilet lots. I remember the insomnia. The worst part is when you ruin your sleep pattern so much you cannot get back into a routine quickly.
This is like constant fatigue. I remember having the flashbacks and never feeling as though my life was not moving on, even though it was. The fear had gripped me and I couldn’t feel my future.

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I was beginning to see death more in the news and when I did – I wouldn’t have an expression of sadness. I was consumed by my own flashbacks…. not being able to hold a job for long because I would be in an accident or I would bs late and maks excuses, I was too embarrassed to say:” I felt breathless”.  The weight on my chest was unbearable. I felt dizzy and disorientated when I did try breathing exercises to open up my chest. I would basically stare at people with a glazed expression or a vacant one.
Seriously, reflecting back I agree with Alan Watts when he said:

“Running away from fear is fear; fighting pain is pain; trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his own thought.”

I remember the fear was pressing on my chest so hard – pushing deep into my rib cage. How could I leave her with that animal? I would say to myself out allowed.
I just heard more lies from him. The police reports of the past meant nothing. My voice meant nothing. I was none existent. I was a nothing. I tried to get help to fight but there was no help. If I only faught then I would lose. I felt breathless. So I would breath heavily to help myself.

My head was always pounding like a drum. I just couldn’t sleep. I even tried turning my heat up because I had a broken window,  just to make me sleep but it had gripped me. This is it, I didn’t just want revenge I wanted out. My vulnerability of crying until I shook was not effective, it made me have convulsions.

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I wouldn’t go out for a walk because I was frightened. My legs tensed up,  I would be scared. I always felt like I was safer in my car. I was stabbed in my arm walking back from the supermarket. My body and mind felt like there was no escape from negativity. I made my ex – boyfriend realise I was vulnerable, at this stage there was absolutely no turning point of change. I was beginning to lose my dignity.
I find many make the mistake of not knowing what actually retaining dignity means and the  Cambridge dictionary pin points significant value of Dignity (2016)   :

C2 ​calm, ​serious, and ​controlled ​behaviour that makes ​people ​respect you:He is a man of dignity and ​calm ​determination.She has a ​quiet dignity about her.I ​think everyone should be ​able to ​die with dignity.

› the ​importance and ​value that a ​person has, that makes other ​people ​respect them or makes them ​respect themselves:How could you ​wear something so ​indecent? Have you no dignity?In ​hospital, she ​felt ​stripped of all her dignity.He ​longs for a ​society in which the dignity of all ​people is ​recognized.

I feel your mind and your body are connected during fear and to not be respected at a time when you feel most vulnerable is more detrimental than anything else.

What advice did you receive about handling fear?

I had a counsellor who was amazing, he said all the things that I was afraid to say out aloud and he made me say it. This was at university when the fear of being there and failing was gripping me so tight:  I wore fear on my face daily. I had to travel so far to get to university daily just so I could be near Aimee.

I finally told a lot of people to take a hike – he was a good counsellor who empathised with me and then gave me back some way of restoring balance. He made me realise I was gripped with fear. He made me realise I was unable to accomplish anything without accepting I was in fear. I needed someone to tell me.

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Maybe last year was the final straw. Maybe, I was gripped by so much fear and stigma my body needed to be told by someone else:

“Tell them all to Fxxx off!”

It crushed me deep. The second time I had someone give me advice on fear was when I let my ex- boyfriend of 10 years abuse me at my front door. A friend said:

” Do you think I would let anyone talk to me like that in front of my child? What happened to Justice? Why are you not allowed to live your life? Come and live in Birmingham?”

My reply was a thank you because she asked me to listen to my body. I declined her lovely gesture because I had tried that already and yet my Ex turned up on my door step and tried to manipulate me the time before that. So I needed to be away, but far away. I needed to listen to that voice of my friends and motivate myself.

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I felt like I needed someone to remind me who was putting the fear into me. He was using tactics to make me fear. He was suffocating my exisitance. He was killing my spirit. I was sapping my soul. Every threat that he made felt like he knew I was helpless to fight back. I had no support and he knew it.

“You can discover what your enemy fears the most by observing the means he uses to frighten you.”

I needed someone to advise me about how he was making me fear. My friend hit the nail on the head. My friend was right. My friend helped me see that I couldn’t take it anymore. Even though it feels like he had  won…. at least I have my health.

How do you feel about handling your fear now?

I am sort of taking each day at a time. I know I am not rich; I won’t have a fancy car or I won’t be able to buy a new bra, yet, recognising my behaviour and preventing stigma is so essential:

F ragments of
E motions
A nxiety
R ecogntion response may lead to
S tigma

                 Weird and Wonderful  (2016)

Stigma is not my best friend. I will talk about relapsing in Part 4: “Not relapsing!

Firstly, Part 3: “illicit change” will express in more detail how to make changes even with long term and short term goals. Making each one achievable and more greater as the flow continues. Acknowledgment is the Baseline but in order to actually handle the symptoms of fear I read  7 things you need to know about Fear, Theo Tsaousides Ph.D. (2015) :

1  Fear is healthy: “Feeling fear is neither abnormal nor a sign of weakness: The capacity to be afraid is part of normal brain function. In fact, a lack of fear may be a sign of serious brain damage”.

2. Fear comes in many shades: “Fear is an inherently unpleasant experience that can range from mild to paralyzing—from anticipating the results of a medical checkup, to hearing news of a deadly terrorist attack. Chronic stress, the low-intensity variety of fear expressed as free-floating anxiety, constant worry, and daily insecurity, can quietly but seriously harm your physical and mental health over time.  ”
3. Fear is not as automatic as you think: “Some fears are instincts, other fears are learned, and other fears are taught.”

4. You don’t need to be in danger to be scared:” In fact, because our brains are so efficient, we begin to fear a range of stimuli that are not scary (conditioned fear) or not even present (anticipatory anxiety). We get scared because of what we imagine could happen.”

5. The more scared you feel, the scarier things will seem: ” Through a process called potentiation, your fear response is amplified if you are already in a state of fear. When you are primed for fear, even harmless events seem scary.”

6. Fear dictates the actions you take: “When the fear is overwhelming, you experience fright: You neither fight nor flee; in fact, you do nothing—well, you obsess about the layoffs, ruminate, complain, but you take no action. Being continuously in fright mode can lead to hopelessness and depression.”

7. The more real the threat, the more heroic your actions: “We react differently to real and imagined threats. Imagined threats cause paralysis. Being scared about all the bad things that may or may not happen in the future makes you worry a lot but take little action. You are stuck in a state of fear, overwhelmed but not knowing what to do. Real threats, on the other hand, cause frenzy. When the threat is imminent and identifiable, you jump to action immediately and without flinching.”

Theo Tsaousides Ph.D. (2015) makes a significant point about fear. It is the acknowledgement that maybe without knowing you are fearsome of things: you are brain dead. This factor made me realise we are unable to be fearless without consequences.  We just make it look as though we are fearless.

Did you recognise fear in another person once you had been through this process?

Only when I had recognised my own fear was I able to actually say:

“Please stop pushing your anxiety on me!”

Which meant I didn’t need someone to push their fears on to me. I needed to combat my fears. Just think about the Alan Watts quote again:

“Running away from fear is fear; fighting pain is pain; trying to be brave is being scared. If the mind is in pain, the mind is pain. The thinker has no other form than his own thought.”

Life is challenging enough without having someone tell you how you are meant to feel or how you are supposed to fear. Of course, you have those fears it makes 90% of your decisions but really having a voice to say stop….. stop pushing those fears you have on to me because I am acknowledging my own trials and tribulations. Saying this should be enough to make people understand. It’s okay you are dealing with it. Maybe they may have a problem accepting change?

It was as though handling my fear was all about the recognition. Through this process I didn’t feel helpless – I was combating my fears. I was thinking in a positive way.

I felt the person who was anxious about me leaving was anxious about life. They are living in fear. So if they are constantly living in fear then trust is an issue. I mean, I had gotten to a stage where personally, handling my own fear was more important than discovering the other person’s fear because it had gripped me so much and it felt like the other person wanted to drag me into their problems.

I don’t think this is a sign of lack of empathy at all. It’s not selfish to do this. I feel many people think it is a selfish thing to say. I feel we all have limits. I feel if many don’t understand we have limits then there is a problem. We are unable to coexist if we cannot see there is a possibility the other person is scared.

I remember sending a message to a relative and saying the only thing I fear is that Aimee will not be influenced by my family members. It really should not be just down to a parent to influence a child. Grandparents play vital roles in societies and they have infinite ways of combating fear without even using Yoda to express themselves.

If people have not established the dignity to uphold for you then they are unable to even acknowledge how to help you in your role to combating your fear. Replacing fear with another fear is like saying – it’s okay we will continue to put our bodies through constant pressure. I don’t think this is valuable to the existence of other’s.  I would like to establish in my own mind what my limitations are so if my fear becomes too big then maybe I need to start taking control of some of the things.

Do you think people are unable to change because of fear?

Yes. Unfortunately, if you are too afraid to change then you won’t change. Change is good and quite effective for Smart goals. So, my own mother feared I would change and make changes that were big. I needed to because reflecting back these were very conflicting times. I know my mother said something about not sharing your goals to the rest of the world. I did – I shared them because I felt it was necessary for me to take charge of my life without having to fear all the time.

So smart goals personally gave me an anchor to illicit change:

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Please read part 3: “illicit change” where more coping strategies will be available at your fingertips.

Weird & â‚©â—‹NdeRf#ll _____

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