Fear is a negative emotion like anger or hate; Fear is a state of mind and it is as simple and complicated as that. When you realize that you are in control… in control of all of it, your whole life… the negative, the positive- the good the bad AND the ugly.. When you realize that your mind and your thoughts create your reality… only then will you know freedom and only then will your life really begin.
Growing up I dealt with some pretty serious anxiety disorder that was triggered by specific factors, some inexplicable, like public transportation. The mere thought of taking the train was enough to send me into a full blown panic attack. My response? I avoided the things that scared me, avoided them like the plague. While I was in this state of avoidance, roughly 11 years, from 6th grade until my senior year of college, my condition disintegrated- rapidly. Avoiding the things that scared me made the fears bigger and bigger until they got so big that they consumed me completely. I wasn’t myself anymore; I was fear. I had become fear itself.
I embodied negativity all the time and I drew negative things to myself. All I knew was worry. Worry that something that scared me might cross my path that day. Worry is a dangerous thing. Worry drains all of the hope your mind has of creating positivity and replaces it with something useless and bleak. What you worry about consumes your thoughts and the thoughts in your powerful mind become the truths in your life. If you worry about debt, you will accrue it and so on and so forth… and so I did, I accrued more and more anxiety and more and more fear until I barely wanted to wake up and face the mess I had created in my own mind.
My life became a carefully orchestrated dance in which I avoided the world as it was and lived only in a “safe zone” that I had made for myself. I knew every exit, every bathroom, every fire escape within a 40 mile radius of wherever I was standing and I slowly slipped into a state that was not like life at all, but more like death or what I imagine purgatory would be like. I went along my day like a trolley car rolls along a track. No meaning or purpose other than to avoid anxiety and panic… movement without intention.
What’s more? MOST of the people around me had no idea that I struggled with this every single day. That it was making my hair fall out and making me a lifeless drone. I don’t know what was worse, the fear or the secret. I sought help a few times, even going as far as to see a hypnotherapist. Everyone I spoke to about it could do the same thing, they could help me get to WHY I was anxious… but couldn’t tell me what to do now! They gave me a few tactics, like counting to ten when I got nervous, but you try counting to ten while your freaking out. I could barely breathe, never mind count. Aside from prescribing medication, which I refused to take, no one could help me. At first, I was angry. It was everyone else’s fault. WHY couldn’t they help me?…. and then it occurred to me…it was because I would have to help myself. I had made myself sick and I would have to heal myself as well… and that is precisely what I did.
I am writing this entry because so many people that are in the grips of depression, panic, anxiety, insecurity, addiction; people who live in darkness and silence every day while they fight this huge battle in their own mind; don’t realize that it is as simple as flipping a switch and turning the lights back on. It was hard for me to assume responsibility for my illness while I was consumed by it. It was hard to ask myself why I was so anxious and who had done this to me and then only be able to point the finger back at myself.. but let me tell you, when I finally did, when I finally realized it was my own decisions and choices and my own mind that had led me down this dark hole, I realized that I was also powerful enough to pull myself out.
You can get better and you can heal yourself. You have all the tools you need to save your own life- the problem is that they are also in your mind, where your illness lies. The trick is to live day by day and to every day select one thought that feels a little better, a little less like fear or sadness and a little more like empowerment. Slowly but surely, one hand after another, climb up out of the darkness and never give up. The more you face fear the smaller it gets… it’s really cowardly that way. The worst thing you can do in your life is to avoid the things that feel bad or scare you. You must always be brave enough to look fear in the face and not compromise your life. Assume responsibility. Live boldly and be OK with not being perfect. If you have a bad day, forgive yourself and go to sleep. When you wake up in the morning, start over. Eat Healthy, surround yourself with people you want to be like, people who bring out the best in you and make you laugh, read a book, smile, breathe in and out, enjoy the sun, exercise, listen to music, run, and remember life is short. Don’t waste a decade of it in darkness like I did.. don’t even waste one sacred second of it that way… it might be the last second that you have. Spend it wisely.
You are powerful and you are brilliant, whoever you are, wherever you are.. and don’t you ever forget it.
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that”