FEAR! Yes folks, fear. Everyone has something that they are afraid of at some point in their life. Sometimes those fears are monstrous and sometimes tiny and sometimes they started out tiny and have taken over our life. My most recent fear was starting this blog and I have to admit that if Susie hadn’t linked it to the Stara Planina Facebook page, it would still be my little solitary, unseen, corner of the universe. It is ridiculous because I fully intended to make it public, when I was ready…someday. It turns out when I realized that she had shared it I had butterflies in my stomach and my stomach and throat were fighting for the same spot and neither were certain which spot and those butterflies wanted out.
It took me all of 10 minutes to assess and send fear packing. I had planned on sharing anyway. I have a decade of cathartic insights and epiphanies that I wanted to share. I am fully aware of the old adage that you can’t please all of the people all of the time…so, I knew going into this that I wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea and it didn’t derail me. What exactly am I afraid of? It turns out…control. I wasn’t in control. This isn’t the first time this has been an issue and I doubt it will be the last and all I can say is thankfully I have become adept at getting to the root of my issues. Thank you years of psycho-therapy; you really do work.
What I find funny about my not being in control is that looking back I never have been. I think that there have been several occasions where I perceived myself to be but was I really? Probably not. I flippantly remarked to a friend last week that I have no fear and upon further reflection, that isn’t exactly true. I have fears but they are minor, knee-jerk blips on my radar as opposed to the major, ominous storms brewing in the background of my life waiting to wreak havoc. My apologies T.A.. I should have stated that I have learned not to fear my fears but to process them and surrender to the fact that they exist and are inevitable. By accepting that fear exist and that I can and will be at times afraid I am reclaiming my personal power rather than allowing someone or something (my fears) to have power over me.
This process is a healthier option for my mental state. I give myself permission to have that natural fear reflex. I let it run its course without getting stuck in a worried thought or the cycle of what ifs and without those it will subside. I calm down and the anxiety subsides and that is when I run my list of questions. The What?, When?, Why? and How? of it all. It helps me find the root issue rather than going in circles and chasing things that aren’t really relevant. In the beginning this process could take months but it has become almost like breathing…I seldom have to think the process through anymore. It just happens. It turns out that my two root issues are Control and Balance…or lack of.
I wish I could take credit for this process but in truth it is a compilation of several sources picked up and utilized during my recovery. I call this my Method for Managing Madness. When I was in the hospital they referred to our episodes as a Train, they teach you to track your triggers so that you can correct them before the train leaves the station and becomes a runaway freightliner hurtling towards a densely populated urban center. I took that episode and trigger tracker information and combined it with the clichéd but surprisingly helpful questions that a therapist will ask: “When did you first noticed X (X being the issue/fear)?” “How did that make you feel?” “Why do you think X made you feel that way?” “What do you think you could do to make it better?”
The entire purpose of the questions is to make you think it through and solve the issue. It makes you take responsibility and empowers you. The last little bit is a detachment technique. You place yourself in the role of observer rather than participator…it is always easier to solve someone else’s problems and we are always harder on ourselves than others. This eliminates self judgement, guilt, shame and other things that trip us up and keep us stuck. It gives you the chance to rationalize what is going on and remember that you have been afraid before; sometimes for a valid reason, but here you are, you survived those countless other fears and you will get through this one too.
Photo taken by Pamela. Rock Formation at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico