Fear. It is such a small word that has great power over us. Everyone struggles with this emotion although it looks different for each person.
A young child needs the light kept on to scare away the monsters while a teenage girl hides from her own reflection. This dedicated football star might refuse to speak about his feelings to his wife while that girl on the street runs away from her parent’s disapproval.
Fear is a normal – even healthy – response to parts of life. When someone is trying to hurt us or we are put into a dangerous situation, fear helps us to flee or fight for our lives. Without this emotion, we would not be able to take care of ourselves and others.
However, this response can be triggered at times when it is unneeded. This causes anxiety and tension instead of a healthy response to a precarious situation. Instead of running from a bear, we find ourselves running from an awkward co-worker. We battle off facing phone calls to relatives instead of enemies. No longer do we hide from terrors but from speaking in public. Fear still keeps its cold grip on us despite our (usually) safer lives.
For those struggling with anxiety and PTSD, facing fear is a daily occurrence. A face, sound, laugh, touch, or color might bring on a surge of memory. Sick inside at the thought, you want to escape. However, the horrid event from the past replays in your mind again and again. Far from safe, you are stuck once again in the mercy of a situation beyond your control.
Although these episodes are greatly reduced, this still happens to me occasionally. More than anything, I long for security during these times. Someone to hold me, to comfort me, to never let me go. Yet I also long to be alone so that no one every hurts me again.
Letting go and trying to move on from these memories is painful. Perhaps they will never fully leave me. However, I do not want to be scared anymore. Very few people that I have met want this darkness to linger. Pushing beyond it still is a bit of a mystery to me. However it is possible. Slowly, moments will come when you feel safe and whole around others. Embrace that. Being scared will not cling to you forever.