Ever notice the set up in a horror film? Usually a monster, demon, serial killer or such, preys on the fear of young people who are out for a good time. Whether it’s a few characters or several, each are scared shitless and that fear usually causes them to lose their rational thinking. They fall victim and into a state of panic that ultimately gets them the ax. But, there is always that one character that steps up the game, the story’s protagonist. This person finds that kickass and fearless person inside of them regardless of how scared they become. They stand up to their assailant, using adrenaline and fear to kick, punch and claw their way to safety and become the sole survivor. Fight or flight! Fear is a driving force that could be used for good or evil. The perception of how you look at fear will determine which side you are on.
I have suffered from anxiety attacks since I was twelve years old. When I turned twenty-one, I had my first full-blown panic attack on a extremely crowded Los Angeles freeway. I thought my lungs had collapsed. I couldn’t breathe and felt like I was going to die. I didn’t obviously, but soon after and a dozen or more visits to the ER, the panic attacks developed into agoraphobia. I didn’t leave my house for a year. I had become plagued with fear and I was completely powerless to it. When therapists couldn’t fix me, my mother took me to the Pala Indian reservation to see a medicine man. That night was nothing short of what felt like an exorcism, but it was the last time I had a full-blown panic attack.
Like the protagonist in my story, I ultimately learned how to put my fear to good use. Although, I was cured in the sweatlodge ceremony with the medicine man, I was always worried with the fear that it would come back. It took several years to let go and simply live. You ever hear that saying, “feel the fear and do it anyway”? Fear can move you or debilitate you.
What I can share is that fear can be a good thing. It can help you find what doesn’t work in your life. It can help you change the things that need to be changed so you can experience happiness and it can help you find YOU! I held on to baggage for so long. Some based off stories that weren’t even true. But, I held onto them. I felt like the world was against me. And because I believed in that so strongly, the world was against me! Just like I believed that everywhere I would go, I would have a panic attack. And you know what? That’s exactly what happened! The mind is powerful and it will make you or break you. Sometimes, no one tells you that life is hard or there will be ups and downs. I had to learn to get up and fight, cause I sure in hell didn’t want to take flight from my demons anymore. I was tired of running.
Fear is just an emotion. We see it as a negative emotion mostly. I have since learned otherwise. Whether you are afraid to get a new job or leave a spouse, whether the fear is big or small, if it debilitates you from making forward movement in your life’s journey, then you need to figure out the underlying issue that is causing you to stay stagnate.
For now, I leave you with this…
“Life isn’t always smooth. If it were, we would never grow and develop as human beings. If we succeed, we are envied; if we fail, we are ridiculed and attacked. Sadly, this is how people are. Unexpected grief and suffering may lie ahead of you. But it is precisely when you encounter such trying times that you must not be defeated. Never give up. Never retreat.”
— Daisaku Ikeda