Up until about two years ago I had a phobia of dogs. I thought that this would be something I would always be afraid of. I didn’t think I’d ever be afraid of anything as much I was afraid of dogs. It wasn’t until I faced my fear of dogs that I realized how much it held me back. Not only did I realize how much it held me back, I also realized that walking past a dog on the street wasn’t going to be the scariest thing I’d ever experience.
I realized that even though things that are physically there seem scary because they can physically hurt you, nothing will ever be as scary as the fears you come across in your mind. The thoughts that just creep up on you no matter where you are. The way a smell, a song or a picture can just create all these thoughts automatically. When one scary thought comes into your head it creates a multitude of fearful images and the cycle keeps repeating until you can’t see the way out. You can’t get out of your head. You’re stuck. For me the thought of being stuck was one of the scariest thoughts I’d had. I didn’t know what to do. I couldn’t describe these thoughts. I couldn’t express them. I just knew I was stuck and it was scary. It was scary that my mind became controlled by these thoughts. I had lost all control of my own mind.
If I had to describe myself in three words for the first few months of this year this is what it would’ve been like:
Lost – I had just dropped out of university and moved back home. I had absolutely no plans and no idea what I was going to do. Everyone around me seemed to have it all sussed out except for me. I felt like everyone was moving on and growing up and I was getting left behind.
Alone – I didn’t tell anyone about anything. Even though I was living at home with my family and I was going out with my friends I still felt alone. I pretended it was all fine and that I was on top of things. I wanted to be happy for all my friends and family if they told me about what they loved doing. I thought that they didn’t need to know about what was going on with me.
Stuck – I was stuck. Stuck in a cycle of scary thoughts. I thought I wouldn’t ever go back to college. I thought I wouldn’t ever find something I love and do that for the rest of my life. I was struggling to see anything positive. I was struggling to see a future and that was scary.
Feeling lost, alone and stuck led to me being scared. I was scared of my own mind. I was scared of the thoughts that I was having. I thought I had only one way of having a “happy” ending. I thought that there was only one way I could regain control of my mind.
After going into my sister’s room, lying on her bed and telling her that I couldn’t physically cope anymore her and my mum made me realize I was wrong about myself (for once). I’m so glad they did. I didn’t have to end my life to overcome my mind. I had to face my fears to overcome my mind. I had to talk to someone, anyone. I had to face these scary thoughts and process them and get over them. I had to face my fears and all along that should’ve been the only choice I thought I had.
If I was asked to describe myself now I’m a completely different person…
Confident – I found the confidence to go and start a new course in a new city. I had the confidence to meet new people and some of the most amazing people at that. I have the confidence to share my writing.
Happy – I can’t remember the last time I was genuinely happy and grateful. I have so much support from so many people. I have all my old friends, new friends and all my family. My social life is in pretty good shape and I’m enjoying my course. I finally found something I absolutely love.
Free – I’m free from all of those negative, scary thoughts. I am in control of the decisions I make and there is absolutely nothing holding me back. There’s nothing stopping me from going after what I want and doing what I love.
Facing your fear will probably always be the hardest decision no matter what the situation. Whether it’s getting over my fear of dogs, going down escalators (I’ve had a few mishaps) or facing my scariest thoughts – it’s always the hardest decision but I promise you facing my fears has been the best decision I’ve ever made. It can take time, it can be a struggle but I promise it is so worth it.