There was a period of time in my life when I was afraid to walk to the mailbox. Literally. I would virtually have a panic attack and wouldn’t be able to breathe just walking from my house to the mailbox. God forbid I had to drive the mile to the school to pick one of my kids. I cried a lot and wondered where I had gone. This wasn’t me, this wasn’t my life. What the heck happened to the girl I was 10 or 15 years ago. I was going to take off and go to college out of state, be successful and someday president of my own company. I would be physically ill if I left the house by myself. At first it wasn’t everywhere, it started by having a panic attack in the grocery store, then I didn’t go there anymore; then another in a different store, I didn’t go there again either. Every time I had a panic attack, I would avoid the location of where I was at the time of the attack, so not to cause it to happen again. Pretty soon, I started worrying that I would have an attack, so I wouldn’t go anywhere by myself. I was afraid of losing control of myself in front of others.
There came a point in time when I decided that things needed to change. I wanted my life back and I needed to do something about it. I felt like I was going crazy. It wasn’t easy and I was very scared. I began by forcing myself to go out to the mailbox. I hated it, but I did it, because I knew deep down that the only way to get over my fear would be to face it head on. I started to venture out away from home more. Instead of going to the little beach where I felt safe and had had no panic attacks, I went to the big beach with all the people. When the small steps started going well, I decided to take on the big challenges. I remember the night that Biddeford Youth Hockey held its annual board meeting. They were looking for a fundraising director. I decided this was going to make or break me. I remember telling myself “You are going to do this whether you like it or not”. I was terrified. I got almost there, and decided, I don’t really HAVE to do this. I can turn around and go home and no body will know. Well, I knew. That was the biggest problem of all. So I drove to the meeting, throwing up a few times along the way and became the fundraising director and proceeded to have a great hockey season and year. Once I made the decision to move forward with my life, other opportunities began to present themselves. I received a call from a friend who was hiring an analyst in her department. This would mean I would have to actually drive 40 minutes to work every day?! So I did it. And it was horrible for the first couple of months. But I did it. I made a decision to not let my fear run my life. I decided to run my life. I decided to tell my body and myself who was boss and how I was going to run the show.
That was so many years ago. Fear comes in different shapes and sizes and afflictions. But the cure is all the same. Taking control over your mind and telling yourself you must do something. Once you are successful at a certain task, it is a building block to the next step. You will literally be able to pull yourself out of what seems like an impossible situation into what you envision for yourself. To this day, I still have to remind myself of this fact. That I can chose to fear or chose to live life the way I want to. But it is all up to me.
"Fear cannot exist in the presence of faith ... Fear only exists because you feel that you are not in control. Give up the need to be in control, take a leap in faith and fear will vanish as the mists in the morning sun." author unknown