Disabled and Thriving

Overcoming obstacles in an able-bodied world.

Fighting Irrational Fears

How do you cope with irrational fears?

I've been thinking about irrational fears a lot lately. Well, I suppose I've been feeling them a lot too.

The mind is a funny thing: You know these fears (one of my biggest ones is losing my mom) are irrational, but you can't stop your mind from drifting to them, sometimes even out of the blue. For example, I went out to breakfast last week, and Eric Clapton's "Tears In Heaven" came on the radio. That song always gets me, but for some reason, I almost found myself bawling. Right there in the restaurant. All over my delicious cheese omelet.

And what's even more interesting is that this fear is anything but concrete. I can't pinpoint it and say, "Oh, of course. That's exactly what I'm afraid of."

If only it were that simple. Instead, it's more of a general fear that just seems to wash over me, working its way from the tips of my toes to my chest and finally settling in my head. And more often than not, it just sits there.

Irrational fears.

Two words. Fifteen letters. The two words don't even look like they belong together, do they? If a fear is irrational, there is no way it should hold so much power over us. We know it's irrational. And what's more, a fear is just that: A fear. A fear of something that might happen, but hasn't yet.

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When we were kids, we might have been afraid to go to sleep because of monsters. We looked for them under our bed, in our closet or sitting on the branches of a tree outside our window. We'd even seek reassurance from our parents - the rational ones - who would be positive that no such monsters were haunting us. We had proof in the empty closets and lonely tree branches, but sometimes the proof isn't in the pudding - or in this case, a lack of monster sightings.

Sometimes those fears still linger. Even when we're adults.

That's sort of how I've come to see these irrational fears that keep popping up in my head.

These fears are like our childhood fear of monsters. Just because I can't see the fear doesn't make it any less real.

The adult equivalent of monsters could be anything: Job stress, health woes, relationship tension. These fears, whether rational or not, are very real. We picture them jumping out and scaring us.

Ever the curious person that I am - and looking for ways to rein in my fears - I did the only logical thing: I took my question to Facebook. Who better to give me advice than my friends? Some said to remember to keep on breathing. Some reminded me to think of happy thoughts Others said to do something like exercise, or find a new hobby, and to always remember to live in the present.

And someone even said, "I scream, then kill them because they are usually bugs with eight legs."

I'll admit it - that one did make me laugh.

What are your irrational fears? How do you deal with them?

I do know one thing: I'm desperately trying to not be one of those people who needs to have something to worry about, who thrive on it as if it were their drug of choice. All. The. Time.

Maybe we can rein these fears in together?

 

Melissa Blake is a normal 20-something living with an abnormal disorder.

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