I would like to apply the wisdom I gained in dealing with anxiety attacks to the overcoming of all fear. When you first experience an anxiety attack, you tend to avoid crowds so that you won’t have a panic attack in public.
You begin lying to family and friends and declining invitations to any social gatherings out of fear of it happening again. Other changes occur. You begin to carry unconscious “safety blankets” and other props to protect yourself outside of your hiding place, such as drinking from a bottle of water constantly to keep your nervousness busy, or brushing your hair with your hands and so on, which you use almost compulsively. You begin searching for a quick fix to stop the sensation of anxiety, and most likely begin using drugs that will help you overcome this obstacle to living your life fully and joyful once more. With big, fast, or small fixes, you intensify the fear of it happening again, as the fear of being without them increases.
If just reading this article is increasing your level of anxiety, stay with me please. You can potentially find your healing and the conquering of fear by reading on.
Somehow, at one point, you may have subconsciously perceived your daily life as a threat and, consequently, your brain started a mechanism called the fight or flight response. That was when the crazy cycle began.
What’s vital for you to realize is that you placed a mental electric fence around yourself and have given it enough power to hurt you immediately. This is the origin of all your fears, an invisible electric fence that you yourself have established.
What you have to be aware of is that every time you avoid a moment of fight or flight by hiding or by simple security measures, such as drinking water compulsively and trying to fake you’re okay, you’re just increasing the power of the fence because you’re telling the brain that this is terrifying for you.
If you don’t confront and tear down this imaginary fence, you can potentially limit yourself to living in your room, isolated from others for fear of having an anxiety attack. This isn’t much better than solitary confinement in a prison cell. Is that what you want? How about turning to courage?
How does the Electric Fence work?
This electric fence isn’t exclusively for anxiety. It’s the activation mechanism for all fear. For example, let’s say you want to speak in public, but every time you dare to do it, you feel a lump in your throat, you feel like you’re about to have a heart attack, and you have an upset stomach. You’ve just activated the electric fence and you’re trying to cross your self-imposed limits. After such an experience, you face two decisions: 1) It was horrible; I’ll never do it again. 2) As horrible as it was, it’s just a matter of repetition until I master it.
This electric fence is being programmed and powered by your old beliefs that make up how you perceive daily life. If you believe something is dangerous to your physical or emotional stability, such as giving a talk in front of a group of strangers, you could potentially be electrified by your own belief.
What’s important to know is that you can easily turn this electric fence off if you remain calm, determined, and courageous.
Turning the Electric Fence off
It’s important to realize that the electric fence won’t physically kill you even when it feels as if it could. Having a terrible anxiety attack won’t kill you; neither will a phobia of heights or speaking in public.
Have you ever been in a rollercoaster? As horrible as it felt, it was just an experience of a few minutes. You can perceive it as fun or you can perceive it as a nightmare. I promise you that if you repeat the experience by choice another 3-10 times, it will lose power over you and you’ll be immune to its effects.
If you gauge your level of fear from 1-10 with 10 being paralyzing fear, it can only go down from that point. If you’re determined to remain calm while facing the electric fence with the knowledge that nothing can happen to you for real, it never comes back with the same intensity and can even disappear forever.
The answer is repetition and more repetition. Remaining in the experience of fear with courage, and not trying to escape through the back door or faking it by the use of safety blankets and props. Your brain isn’t dumb, it knows exactly what you’re doing, and it knows exactly when you’ve lost all fear as well.
When you experience any sort of fear, say to yourself with determination “This is just an experience, and I’m choosing to remain where I am, knowing it will soon pass and I’ll be okay”
Rate it from 1 to 10. What level is it reaching? Rate it when it subsides.
Unveil the security blankets you use to cover up your fear. Don’t think you can fool your brain. It knows exactly what you’re doing.
Be determined to face your fear as a habit until it becomes an ordinary experience.
See you on other side of fear J