Facing fears is extremely difficult. I already have anxiety and/or panic attacks every day. Facing my fears just increases my anxiety, which I didn’t know was possible. I struggle to do anything new. I like what I am comfortable with; I shop at the same stores, I talk to the same people, I live a life of routine to help reduce my anxiety. Today has been a day filled with facing my fears. To begin, we changed our internet provider, so that meant a strange person had to come into my home to hook everything up. Of course, this happened while my husband was at work. The guy ended up being very nice and polite. I did the best I could to manage my fears and prepare myself for a stranger in my home. I made it through that; my dog, an 88 pound pit mix, helped me feel safe, but I still jumped every time I heard any door open or movement in my home.
Next, I went to a local tailor to get a pair of pants hemmed. I bought a new pair of pants at a discount store, which fit perfectly except for the length. This happened a week ago; I’ve been trying to get myself to go to the tailor for the past week, but I’ve been too afraid because it’s something new. I ended up going today; my body was shaking as I walked up to and into the store. Once I talked to the woman who worked there, I started to relax a bit. I was able to stand still as she pinned the pants at the proper length. That was a huge accomplishment.
Now, I’m supposed to go to a new support group. I was going to go with a friend, but life happens and she cannot make it tonight, which I understand. However, I still want to go. Even if I drive there but don’t require myself to go in, it would be a big step forward for me and it will make it easier to go in the future. The closer it gets to the time to leave, the more I start shaking and freaking out. I don’t know if I can do this; my heart is beating so fast I can hear it. I’ve already faced so much today, maybe I should give myself a break. However, I have been talking about going to this group for several months; it’s about time that I actually follow through. I know I need to go to a support group; it would be very beneficial for my overall mental health.
I have already faced my fears twice today, and everything worked out okay. Maybe that should tell me that this next fear to face will also work out okay. Or maybe that’s trying to tell me that I’ve done enough for one day and I shouldn’t force it. I don’t know. I need to stop shaking in order to drive there. I hope my Valium works; this is why I take it. I hope I actually get there. I suppose I’m about to find out what’s going to happen. Hopefully, this terrified feeling inside of me will dissipate.
An update about how it went going to the new support group:
I made it to the support group meeting, but I was overwhelmed when I walked in. There were more people than I expected. This group had 28 people there this evening, which is wonderful, but for me, it was scary. I pulled up a chair in the back thinking that no one would pull up a chair behind me, but I was wrong. Once someone sat down behind me, my fear kicked in even more causing an anxiety attack. My right leg started shaking uncontrollably, I started to rock back and forth, and my breathing began to struggle. I received a text from my husband, who kindly offered to come join me at the group as support once he got out of work, but I told him that I was going to be leaving shortly. I stayed for 1 hour, managing my anxiety attack through it all, and then I left at the break. The group itself was great and I did appreciate how organized the group was, but it was just too much for me. Maybe I will try it again one day with someone. For now, I am proud of myself for driving down there and staying for the first hour of the group.
4 thoughts on “Facing My Fears”
You are one of the most courageous people I know. Courage doesn’t mean having no fear (or showing no fear), it means feeling your fears but taking the next right action in spite of these fears. Often, this is just putting one foot in front of the other, incremental steps; they may seem slow but they still get you where you need to be (like going to the tailor…)
Willingness (to grow and change), courage, and action go hand-in-hand. I don’t believe that a person can have one without the other. Willingness without courage and action is just wishful thinking. Courage without willingness or action is often based on pride and ego and can be reckless or dangerous or just bravado. Action without willingness and courage is usually a reaction and often without purpose or value. When the 3 are together, things get done (even small things), and we learn, grow, change, and get stronger.
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Thank you for your kind words. I’m so tired for feeling my fears, but they have pushed me to grow, eventually. It generally takes me a good amount of time before I take action, but I do eventually take some sort of action. I just wish I wasn’t afraid of almost everything.
The thing I liked best about this post were these words…”However, I still want to go.” Going to the support group wasn’t an obligation -it was a desire! That in itself is growth. In regards to your update – you had only committed yourself to a drive-by. You got out, walked in and stayed for an hour – that is HUGE! YAY YOU!
BTW – you are not all that different from lots of people in regards to not liking new stuff. There are many people (with and without bipolar or other forms of depression) who like routine and dislike change or new things. That’s not a bad thing. Routine is familiarity and safety (think about it, this even works for soldiers) it only becomes a problem when the routine is no longer a choice.
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Thank you for pointing that out. You’re right, it was a desire and not an obligation. I wanted to be able to say to my loved ones that I tried. I think I also wanted to show myself that I tried. No matter what the reason was, I did it.
Also, my routine works perfectly for me, except when there is a change that I’m happy about. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who likes/needs a routine; it’s a comforting feeling.