Halloween is a time for all things scary. Scary movies, dressing up as scary characters, creepy books, food that looks like severed fingers – you name it. I love Horror in all it’s forms but this won’t be your typical Halloween blog post. Today I want to talk about how I’ve reclaimed the things that scare me.
If you’ve been around here long enough, you’ll know that I suffered from an almost decade long anxiety disorder that cost me my independence, made me lose money, left me with no friends in my 20’s and quite simply, no life at all.
Thankfully, I am recovered from my anxiety disorder now (although no doubt have some unresolved trauma around it which I’m hoping to start working through) but it was a long road and had me working incredibly hard to get my life back.
That anxiety disorder turned many every day and normal things into an absolute nightmare for me. Things that most people take for granted or don’t give a second thought about.
And these were the things I had to work hard to reclaim for myself. So in honour of Halloween this year, here are some things that used to scare me that I’ve reclaimed.
5 things I’ve reclaimed that scared me:
Last week I published a blog post about my personal driving story, along with some tips for nervous drivers, so I’m not going to rehash my whole driving experience but very long story short, my anxiety disorder made me terrified to drive for around 8 years. Ove the last few years, I’ve fully reclaimed my driving back and I am SO proud of myself for it.
Spending time alone
Another thing my anxiety disorder had me terrified of was spending time alone. I was scared to be alone with myself, I didn’t trust myself to look after myself and basically thought I was going to die every time I was alone because there wasn’t anyone there to help me.
These days, I love spending time alone. I’ve just moved out with my partner and he works out the house, so I’m alone a lot during the day. But I love going places by myself to and whilst I’m not quite at the stage of travelling alone (and don’t know if I ever will be), taking solo micro-adventures like going to the zoo, a solo cinema trip or a solo spa trip are my jam.
This isn’t something that stemmed from my anxiety disorder, this was something I was uncomfortable with way before that and I think is a pretty normal fear but through reading books about death, listening to podcasts and really immersing myself in what I like to call, “death content”, I’ve really found some peace, understanding and utter fascination with the concept.
Loss of control
Something that, quite obviously, would have stemmed from my anxiety disorder and being in a state of out of control in my mind for so long. For the longest time, I tried to make sure everything happened exactly as I’d thought it should in my head, so I wasn’t faced with any surprised or anything that would make me anxious.
I would go through every single possible scenario in my head of every activity I was doing – even just going for a walk. It was exhausting and there are some days where I genuinely don’t know how I didn’t end up sectioned because I really was so mentally ill. This loss of control is something I’m very much reclaiming back.
I think we’ve all got a sense of not liking being out of control. I think that’s normal and human. But I think we should learn that actually, we’re not in control of much in the first place. When we understand that, life can be a lot more freeing. Even smaller things like going on rides, travelling by plane, not making plans for your day are all small acts of being out of control.
Which I think ties in nicely to my final point and that’s new experiences. I thrive on new experiences these days. I love doing new things, discovering new places, trying new food. And I think that’s because for so long, my life was contained within 4 walls, not doing anything or experiencing anything that life had to offer. My heart breaks for her, it really does.
How To Claim Back Your Fears
So this post wouldn’t be complete without a few tips. We’re all scared. Of life, of change, of the unexpected. We all fear something. Obviously these are fairly general tips because as fears go, there is a LOT of different categories and things to work through.
Identify what it is you’re afraid of
Perhaps this one is obvious. Spiders, tick. The dark, tick. But maybe it’s not. Maybe there’s something you’re scared to do but you’re not sure why. Like me when I was scared of driving, it was the actual driving that scared me, it was much deeper than that.
Get some professional help
And if that is a route you want to go down, then therapy would definitely be the best way to get deeper into your fears and why you’re scared. But also, finding some methods for claiming that thing back.
Journal it out
Journaling is great for almost any emotion but fear, anxiety, worry etc. in particular. If you’re thinking about this fear, get your journal out and see what comes out without thinking too much about what you’re writing – you might surprise yourself.
Take baby steps
Nobody is asking you to go on the world’s fastest rollercoaster if you’re scared of rollercoasters. Baby steps are the best sort of steps you can take when it comes to reclaiming a fear.
If it is something anxiety related, then educating yourself on anxiety, how it works, what it is and how it affects you can be really empowering. Similarly, learning about the thing that scares you (like I did with death) can be so beneficial.
So, here’s to Halloween. Here’s to Horror and fear in the most fun way possible but also recognizing that life is scary sometimes.
Here’s to understanding our fear and claiming it back in whatever small way we can, so we don’t let it ruin, control or dictate our lives.
And here’s to doing our best.
Tell me one thing that you used to be scared of that you managed to work through.
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