Last night I experienced something that was either barbecue gone bad or a minor anxiety attack. Whatever the cause, I was afraid. I won't bother with the focus of the fear, because that is not important to this expression of thought. I will say that I know that anxiety and fear were a part of it because it was the same emotions I experienced during my faux-heart attack spell with my gallbladder. Same emotions and feelings. And I hate it.
I have some fears that I am very up front about.
I am afraid of water. This is an old fear. It dates back to when I was a kid. I remember the moment it began. We were at a lake. A family friend was carrying me on his shoulders. And then he dunked us in the water. I got a snout full of water and started choking. It shocked me. And to this day, water still causes problems for me. If I am in a body of water and it splashes me in the face, I experience panic symptoms. If I stay in the shower too long or am having a particular type of day, the water hitting my skin annoys me. And watching people underwater on a movie or television show causes me to hold my breath.
I am afraid of flying. It has something to do with heights. More so, it has to do with understand aerodynamics and the physics of flying. Nothing holds you up. It is air pressure and how the pressure differential over and under a wing work against each other. The only thing that holds you in the air in an airplane is insubstantial. It has no substance or strength. And it takes very little to disrupt that flow.
I think I have a subconscious fear of snakes. When I am experiencing anxiety dreams, snakes make frequent appearances. If I am really anxious about something, it is a snake-filled dream. And I don't even want to watch "Snakes On a Plane".
I am afraid of doing something new. This sounds odd. And I am not sure if it is a fear of failure or fear of looking like an idiot that lies at the root of it. Both may have a part to play (because I hate experiencing both of those). When I am confronted with doing something new, I will do everything in my power to avoid it. This last Sunday, I avoided doing a live video sermonette on Facebook. I avoided it because I was afraid. I had never done something like that before. I have books that I want to write, but I am afraid that they will not matter to anyone. I am afraid that it will be folly or vanity on my part to try. I am afraid that I will be rejected.
For this last reason, I am afraid of people. I don't think that they will hurt me. But I am afraid that I will be rejected or ostracized. And due to my depression streaks, any time I feel even slightly outcast, it amplifies my fears. And it is bizarre for me to be afraid of being rejected because periodically I have to face a set of new people. I have to deal with that possibility of rejection regularly.
I really don't know what to do about being afraid. I am at a loss. They cannot be overcome by logic or rational thought. I know, because I try and work through them that way. Except the water thing - I will never understand that one and I don't try. I do attempt to work around these fears, though.
Water fear - I still bathe regularly.
Flying fear - I will get on a plane and attempt to control my fear through it all.
Snake fear - It is subconscious, so I really don't have to work on it. I am not afraid of living snakes. I can handle them and be around them. I respect the dangerous ones and give all of them their space to avoid provoking them.
Fear of new - I have nothing on this. That fear of rejection, failure, foolishness combination will overcome me more than anything. And sadly I have passed that one on to my boys. And I hate that for them. They have so many gifts and strengths that their insecurity about stepping out will handicap those blessings.
And I know what some of you are saying - "Just do it. It isn't that bad."
Easier said to someone than done in our own lives with our own fears.
People fear - I count on one hand the people I depend upon. I count on two hands the people I call friend. I try to broaden those numbers. But even among those who are closest, I keep them at a distance. I wall myself off to keep myself from being hurt or being outcast. I balance the admiration I have for them with the protection I must make room for in my life.
And being in front of crowds isn't my fear. It is intimacy, or the potential for it, with others. I use intellect or broad knowledge of subjects or points of common interest to keep communication lines open. But when it comes to being or allowing people be close, I don't do that well.
Fear is something we all have to live with. We have these things that creep into our heart and soul that cause our way to become difficult. And I hope someday to completely overcome the ones that I have. But I am afraid that I will replace the ones I experience now with new ones relevant to that stage of life.
Until that day, though, I will soldier on.