“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

“Fear Traps Me Into Being WHO I Am Not Many Times”…Guest Article by “World Of Psychology” Shares It Well.

I told myself at midnight new years’ eve, I was going to write, share, and be more open and transparent about my mental health issues this year. So when I came upon this article and gave it a read, I knew I had to share it today as many of us who maintain recovery from addictions are dually diagnosed with mental health challenges like myself. And those who don’t understand what it is like to battle agoraphobia along with depression and a few other disorders I have been working through, many seem to cling to “The Stigma” around all of the ABOVE.

Now, yes, I do understand that those who have not been touched by mental or emotional problems or disorders or know or have a family or friend who does, not all people are sorry to ‘ignorant’ about these topics. However, there some who don’t think mental health problems, like Tom Cruise, even exist. HA!

I’m here to say they do and about 42.5 million American adults (or 18.2 percent of the total adult population in the United States) suffers from some mental illness, enduring conditions such as depression, bipolar disorder or schizophrenia, and more.

That is 1 in every 5 people suffer in just the United States alone. So, sorry Tom Cruise and L. Ron Hubbard of Scientology, YOUR WRONG. Here is an article that helps us have insights on how paralyzing “FEAR” can make us feel TRAPPED…By 

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How Fear Traps You into Being Someone You Are Not…

“The fear response is triggered when facing danger.”

The “danger” could be not measuring up to a desired or imposed standard, not getting done what you set out to do, not fulfilling expectations (your own or someone else’s), being seen as less than perfect or failing at something. There is also the “danger” of not fitting in and being noticeably different from the norm. All these fears and anxieties stem from questioning your ability to cope with life’s challenges and people’s responses to your actions.

External messages from the media and authorities are also powerful triggers of anxiety and fear. Believing the world to be a dangerous place creates a pervading sense of powerlessness that undermines your personal power and inner strength in many different ways. 

  • Fear manipulates you into forgetting how strong and competent you really are.

  • Fear negates your resilience. Feelings of helplessness trick you into believing that you do not have what it takes to tolerate hardship and bounce back from adversity.

  • Fear narrows your focus to mainly notice problems, damage, hurt or harm.

  • Fear impairs realistic thinking so the scale and likelihood of potential danger are often overestimated. Unless you live in a war zone, a dangerous neighborhood, an abusive relationship or have just experienced a significant natural disaster, most commonly assumed dangers are less prevalent or disastrous than imagined.

  • Avoidance is one of the responses to fear. Self-imposed restrictions on where you go or what you do limit your options and shrink your world.

  • Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.

  • Fear prevents you from living in the here and now. Worrying what might happen and anticipating dangers and calamities in the future removes your attention from the present, the only place where you can function to the best of your ability. Dwelling on past events instead of focusing on the present also clouds your perception to the realities and opportunities of the now.

  • Survival emotions such as anger (fight); worry, panic and anxiety (flight); depression and hopelessness (freeze) limit your emotional expression and narrow your emotional range. Negative feelings drag you down and deplete vital life force while positive emotions such as trust in yourself, courage and hope strengthen and nurture you.

  • Fear cuts you off from the flow of life and universal benevolence you could tap into.

  • Destabilized by fear you lose your firm grounding in your own power. This diminishes your ability to recognize potential agendas by external sources of fear. As a consequence, you become an easier target for manipulation and abuse.

Fear is the result of a physical mechanism involving the adrenals and various other body systems. In cases of real and acute danger, this is useful as it alerts you to the need for action.

However, the same kind of responses are also triggered by imagined danger. With the lines between real and imagined danger often blurred in modern life, fear in all its forms can become chronic. Like with ‘Agoraphobia’ or other panic type disorders.

“Tricking you into believing that you are weak and without inner resources or that a catastrophe is imminent, fear and its allies are some of the most damaging emotions to allow into your life. You have a choice what you do with your fear: stay in its thrall or make the decision not to be pulled into it and question it is associated — and usually automatic — thoughts.”

 
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There are many different ways to defuse fears. All of them involve feeling it without trying to suppress the feeling or run away from it. Like other emotions, fear follows a bell curve where it rises, peaks and eventually subsides if you stay with it as a witness rather than disappearing into it. When you have weathered the emotional storm and feel calmer, take a good look at your thoughts and the reality of the situation.

Examine your triggers and the beliefs associated with them. What is their origin, do they reflect the truth? What is your fear about? How you see yourself, how other people might think of you, what you are told about the world? What keeps you in a state of fear?

Depending on your situation, devise your own path to freedom. You may decide on “gradual exposure”, i.e. approaching a feared situation not at once but in several small increments over a number of days or weeks.

You could also draw a “fear ladder” with your “little” fears at the bottom rungs and the “big” ones on top. Begin addressing the less difficult ones and gradually work your way up. It will show you that you do not have to give in to fear and let it define your life and how you see yourself.

Enlist help and support if you need it, but ultimately no one can do this work for you. Remember, you are much stronger and more resilient than fear will allow you to know.

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About Christiana Star

Christiana is a counseling psychologist and writer with a strong focus on self-help, personal growth, and empowerment. Combining professional experience with a spiritual outlook on life, her work offers new perspectives, insights, practical tips and easy strategies that can be applied straightaway. When she is not writing, Christiana can be found in nature: tending her fruit and vegetable garden with various degrees of success or exploring Sydney’s beautiful Northern Beaches with her very quirky little dog.

Download the free ebook “10 Keys for Moving Forward when Life Has Changed”, receive the monthly newsletter or access her weekly blog at www.christianastar.com.


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This part of her article HIT ME, “Fear can sabotage creative self-expression. Instead of aiming for your aspirations and dreams you may censor yourself and remain within the safety of your comfort zone.”

That is me! I feel safe in my places within my “Comfort Zone.” It truly is debilitating and then I get depressed as it feels like looking out a window as LIFE is passing by WITHOUT ME In It…

So, what role does fear play in your life? What have you found useful in overcoming fears? If you are struggling, what is your difficulty?  Please share your feelings and comments with me.  Maybe together we can help one another…


Author and Advocate, Catherine Townsend-Lyon 

Now That The Election Hoop-La is Over! Americans and Those in Recovery Unite.

Clinton, In Concession Speech:U.S.
“More Deeply Divided Than We Thought”

 

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WELL, that clearly didn’t happen last night while I was asleep snug in my bed! I woke up this morning thinking I must had a very BAD DREAM as I woke to the new’s of Donald Trump as America’s new President!! OH SHIT was NOT a DREAM!

So I grab the nearest brown paper back and started a full on FEAR Attack!! No, really!! This isn’t a joke on my part. I am truly in fear of what is going to happen now that our next President-Elect is Donald Trump. And as a person with mental health issues, and reading of what Americans were saying, tweeting and posting all over social media? Didn’t see this coming at all. Ok, yes, maybe I am a “nut” but my fears are real. 

So as I woke up and seeing all the news and media stories, over on NetWorkedBlogs, I happen to see a fantastic post that helped a little to put my mind and nerves on OK Status for awhile on PsychCentral Website that I felt was worth a UGE SHARE to others who may be like me and have FEAR based mental health issues too. I do hope it helps others 🙂  *CAT*

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Healing After the Election

Healing after an election may not be easy for everyone, and it may be especially difficult this election year. But we must heal in order to move forward and continue to grow our great nation.

Historically, Americans have always been fairly good at letting bygones be bygones and moving on. Americans forgave British sympathizers (their neighbors) after the Revolutionary War, and we forgave again (our brothers) after the terrible devastation wrought by the Civil War. A presidential election, all things considered, should be much easier.

Ordinary Americans find the election process — and government in general — frustrating, opaque, and uncaring of their needs and challenges. Elections give us a time to vent about our frustration with the economy and government’s seeming inability to “get things done.” No matter who’s in power and who’s nominated, Americans pretty much complain about the same things in every election cycle: taxes, lack of jobs, the economy, government interference in my life, and perceived strength of our country.

Smart Americans know that government is there to perform the basic functions that help guarantee your access to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. It’s not there to make sure you don’t do dumb things, make bad choices, or are actually happy.

These same neighbors and citizens also know that the ability to effect real change in America lies not with a President (who has specific, limited powers), but with the legislative body — Congress. If Americans really wanted the change they seem to clamor for every election cycle, they’d spend more time voting out the Congressional incumbents who failed to bring about the change desired.

Healing Begins at Home

If you’ve been on a different page than your spouse, partner, or kids with this election, it’s best to make amends and heal these personal wounds first. Sometimes we say things we don’t really mean in the heat of an argument. Such things may be said instead out of frustration or anger. Now is the time to apologize for such remarks and acknowledge that some elections can be more acrimonious and frustrating than others. But it is no excuse not to treat others with the same respect we all want and deserve.

Do you really want to sink a whole friendship — based upon years or even decades of shared experiences — over a single election? For most people, the answer is no. Reach out to friends who were on the other side and make amends there too.

Healing Continues at Work & with Neighbors

Maybe you’ve had one of those yard signs out on your front lawn that stood out among a sea of your opponent’s signs. Maybe you’re the one person in your office or on the job site who seemed to be for your candidate. It’s time to say, “Hey, that was some election, but I’m glad it’s over and can all get on with our lives,” and hope others hear your conciliatory tone.

Unless you went way over the top, there’s no need to apologize for your choice in candidates or your passion in arguing for your candidate (as long as you were respectful when doing so). If you did go over the top or cross a line, you should try to find a quiet, private place to make your apologies to those you may have offended. They’ll go a long way to healing any hurt feelings at your workplace.

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Healing Must Occur in Government, Too

Americans didn’t elect politicians to sit in their chairs and make speeches that nobody listens to. They elected them to do their job of running this nation’s business and getting the job done. Any politician who refuses to do their job — which includes rational discussion, negotiation, and compromise (as has always been the case) — needs to resign or face not being re-elected come next election. Citizens have said time and time again that they want a government that does their job — not one that just obstructs work from being accomplished.

Politicians must reach across the aisle and find the shared commonalities they have with one another — their pride in being American, their belief in the American work ethic, and the knowledge that together they can accomplish great things for our great country.

Here’s to the next four years of coming together again as one people, standing behind our President and elected officials, and moving forward. Because it is only together that we can make simple work of hard, complicated issues.

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“MOVING AMERICA FORWARD”

“More of my Recovery Ramblings & Mental Health Journey~Is Fear still lingering”?

Hello Recovery Friends & New Visitors!

 

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Don't let the fear of failure stop you from doing what you were called to do! Kick FEAR to the curb and move on!

It has been awhile since my last rambling life session, and there has been a few things bothering me the last couple of days.

I have thought of my mom recently of her passing in 2003, and the legacy of bad behaviors she left behind. Now I’m not ‘mom or dad bashing at all, I’m sharing because I also been thinking of my dad as well. His 80th birthday is coming up at the end of this month, and it’s coming on almost 9 1/2 years since we have had any communication. I have been thinking of the FEAR around not making some form of effort or amends with him before he pass’s away. I have shared a little in the past about this subject, but it’s the FEAR that seems to be driving my thoughts about this.

Been thinking of my own life a lot to, and fear around how short of time I may have myself before I move on to the next realm. Which I hope is Heaven, but not one of us can say for sure if we will. Thanks to one of the Mental/Emotional disorders I battle,  Agoraphobia with Panic, my ‘fears” can be a little extraordinary Some of my fears are, “did I do enough in my lifetime to help others?  or did I even put a dent in, or leave a recovery foot print & some goodness here on this earth”? After all the devastation I caused to a lot of people within my addiction, the dependency on my husband due to my mental health disorders, and the daily challenges that comes with it, have I been working enough on the inside of myself personally, and within my recovery?

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I wonder this sometimes. My main mission in life was God-given, as I try to ‘walk by Faith not by Sight’ …
But even with having a strong faith in a power greater than myself,  my mind can trick me into feeling at times, Less Then”, which can be a litter ‘left overs’ of the disease of addiction. When I feel like I’m entering a danger zone?
I unpack that big box of tools I use in my recovery, and my box of life skills I’m still learning in my therapy. Yes, I’m back in therapy for a bit, as my psychiatrist thinks that damn PTSD from the  trauma I endured from my childhood has been back and bothering me again with the bad dreams.

So I ask myself, “when will this ever end”?  If I was to be able to look in the future, say 20 years ago, and someone said that this is where I’d be at 51? I’d have said there CRAZY! See, we just never know what is prepared for us in gods path.
So I have to believe, and to look at all I have been through, even to current, is a learning experience. It’s up to me to figure out what all this means. But when “FEAR” comes knocking, my mind is off and running again with doubt.
Why is that? I guess that is a question I’ll need to explore. Is it just me or can our life journey be that complicated?

I’m not sure, but what I am sure of is that I need to reel this all in a bit. WHY?

Because it robs me of my peace, serenity, and makes me feel at times, unstable. That’s what fear can do. It makes us second guess ourselves. Now, maybe normal people can not think twice about it. But for a person who has mental/emotional distress, it’s challenging to ignore at times.
I do know that a little of those ‘uncomfortable feelings’ remind me of the worst part of my life, the past two suicide attempts I had. I’m sure that’s where some of the fear comes from as well …
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So it’s why I come and write how I’m feeling. I have so many of you who come support me, and accept for me!
That means so much to me. It makes me know and feel that I’m not alone. I always get good feed back anytime I seem to have a little “bump in the road”! Have I told you all thank you for that lately?  Well, THANK YOU!
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When we use our blogs to share about Mental Health, Addiction Problems and Recovery, or even speak about how Childhood Trauma has affected us in the now,  it is the only way I know of to be able to shed light on these issues that touch millions of us everyday. Back to my dad. See my family don’t understand at all any of these important issues.
They treat me ‘different’. Hard to explain how, but they do. Don’t let others treat you different …
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It’s easier said then done. But if we speak up and speak out, it’s the only way to help SHATTER STIGMA, Raise Awareness, Inform, and help Educate others about these important issues. Yes, my mouth can get me in hot water at times, but when it comes to speaking out, Well, I do because IT’S WORTH IT!

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Much Happiness & Blessings All,
Catherine Townsend-Lyon, Author

“FEAR”….It’s In My Recovery, In My Mental Illness, And In My Past Pain Of Childhood Trauma”…

Hello And Welcome Recovery Friends & Seekers,

 

What does fear mean to you?
Do you live with any type of fear?
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How can one word have so many different meanings? Even though FEAR happens to most people if we let it, fear comes in many different forms. Some fear we can control, but there is much about fear that we have no control over. Lets start with just the definition of FEAR:
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fear
fi(ə)r/
noun
noun: fear; plural noun: fears
  1. 1.
    an unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
    “drivers are threatening to quit their jobs in fear after a cabby’s murder”
anxiety, worry, angst, unease, uneasiness.
informalthe creeps, the shivers, the willies, the heebie-jeebies, jitteriness, twitchiness, butterflies (in the stomach)
“he felt fear at entering the house”
informalhang-up
“she overcame her fears”
  • archaic
    a mixed feeling of dread and reverence.
    “the love and fear of God”
  • a feeling of anxiety concerning the outcome of something or the safety and well-being of someone.
    “police launched a search for the family amid fears for their safety”
verb
verb: fear; 3rd person present: fears; past tense: feared; past participle: feared; gerund or present participle: fearing
  1. 1.
    be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening.
    “he said he didn’t care about life so why should he fear death?”
    synonyms: be afraid of, be fearful of, be scared of, be apprehensive of, dread, live in fear of, be terrified of;

    be anxious about, worry about, feel apprehensive about
    “she feared her husband”
    have a phobia about, have a horror of, take fright at
    “he fears heights”
    • feel anxiety or apprehension on behalf of.
      “I fear for the city with this madman let loose in it”
      synonyms: worry about, feel anxious about, feel concerned about, have anxieties about More

      “they feared for his health”
    • used to express regret or apology.
      “I’ll buy her book, though not, I fear, the hardback version”
    • archaic
      regard (God) with reverence and awe.
      synonyms: stand in awe of, revere, reverence, venerate, respect More

      “all who fear the Lord”
Origin
Old English fǣr ‘calamity, danger,’ fǣran ‘frighten,’ also ‘revere.’

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What stands out the most about the word fear is the words, scared, frightened, apprehensive.
See, I have many different types of fear I live and struggle with daily! Some comes from recovery, some come from my mental illness disorders, and even though I have 7yrs from the bet,  from gambling addiction, I still have a couple amends fears I still need to work through.
The biggest at the moment is the one with my own father.
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That’s a whole other blog post. I have guilt about this one amends as I’m now only 4 hours away from where my dad lives, as opposed to when I was still living in So. Oregon, which is an 11 1/2 hour drive. I have to get past the fear of my father turning me away if I was to go down and visit, and try to make an amends with him since it has been 9 years since he has spoken to me, and for a reason I have no clue of. So I guess in the back of my mind I feel that I wasn’t the one who stopped communicating with him, so why should I have to make the amends?

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But as we all know in recovery, we need to be the better person regardless, and I need to at least try. I know that. But knowing and doing are very two different things. The other huge fear I have in the amends department is the one to my Best Friend! I’ll call her Deb. What prompted this whole “Fear Thing” was, yesterday I found out my best friend Deb’s dad passed away on May 8th, last month. My heart fell into my stomach. Deb and her family moved next door to us in So. Calif. when we were 13 years old, her and I. We had done everything together. Sleep overs, school, dating, and more! We were like sisters. This month we actually would have been friends for 37 years! But because of my addiction, we became estranged. She went into AA, and I was still gambling my Ass Off! I didn’t try, or reach out for recovery from addicted gambling and alcohol abuse until a year and half later.
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But within that year and a half I had done some pretty bad things to her, again, another whole future blog post. But with her going to AA, I thought, “well she would understand some day how stupid I was within my addiction, and that I never meant to hurt her.” We had been friends to long for that. I also thought, “well, she is in AA so she will understand the whole forgive and amends thing right”?  WRONG! She also has the choice to not forgive and not be friends, which is what happened. SO,….. that’s another amends I need to get done. But that stupid, freaking, FEAR keeps holding me back!
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Or am I using it as an excuse because of fear of rejection, of being hurt myself? Then I have the fears that come along with my daily challenges of mental illness on top of the recovery fear challenges, and it all sometimes gets a bit overwhelming for me some days. So I’m currently working on my fears, dissociation, depression, and agoraphobia with panic with my mental health psychiatrist and councilor on life skills to help me through all this. I also was asked by them to journal at the end of each day the “thoughts” I tell myself of why I don’t follow through on the things I want to do outside my home, but my fear from the agoraphobia holds me hostage! I felt like telling my councilor, I don’t have a discussion going on in my head all day, or talk to myself! But he says I’m doing it in my conscience somewhere. What Ever….
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Here is what ‘Agoraphobia fear’ definition:

Breaking down the term agoraphobia gives us its literal definition.
A phobia is an intensely irrational fear. This meaning suggests that agoraphobia is an intense and abnormal fear of open or public places. But, this definition falls short in explaining the true meaning of this condition.
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For the agoraphobic, the fear is not necessarily associated with open spaces. The central feature of agoraphobia is intense fear (panic response) of being in certain situations in which escape is difficult or potentially embarrassing, or where help is not readily available. This may include many places that would not meet the definition of open spaces, including many confined spaces. Such situations may include leaving home alone, being home alone, traveling by car, train or bus, being in an elevator, being in a crowd, being in a large store or mall, being on a bridge or standing in a line.
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The fear associated with agoraphobia results in behavioral changes in order to avoid feared situations. An individual with agoraphobia may survey settings for escape routes and avoid situations where an exit is not easily available. This leads to avoidant behavior that may include only driving on certain roads, always sitting near the door in meeting or school settings, avoiding crowded places, or avoiding any place where it may be difficult to get to an exit. In extreme cases, the fear may become so consuming that the individual will not leave the house alone or becomes homebound altogether.
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Now there is more, but I don’t want to bore you death!…LOL. But the key word we see over and over is FEAR. So, am I doomed to never be a part of life, part of the living, enjoying all the outdoors has to offer me? At this point, I don’t know. I take each day as it comes. I do however, feel the trauma I endured as a child plays a big part in this big nasty mix of things. It definitely made it difficult for me to feel close to my father when I was younger, and into my teens. But I have had worked hard to get through all that, as it was/is part of my recovery work and therapy, what happened to me was not my father’s fault when I was a little girl. And it was not my fault either.
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I also think I had a set back from the quick and traumatic move that happened this pass Sept 2013, from having to make the choice for my hubby’s job to move from SO. Oregon to Glendale, AZ. I really don’t care for the desert, it’s why I moved from So. Calif. to SO. Oregon when I was only 25 years old. I wanted away from the heat, smog, and long drive for work. Our lives began there, my husband and I, and lived there for 26 years. I miss if very much. And don’t get me started about the whole move and drive for 2 days to get here. AWFUL!!
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I’ll close with an Inspirational Quote….
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Recovery has given me a life now with no regrets…. just a few things to do.
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Happiness & Blessings All,
Author, Catherine Townsend-Lyon

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