The Beginning of Fear
When I was a little girl I was scared of so many things, both big and small – even things that were harmless. My oldest sister must have sensed the fear that accompanied me throughout my everyday life as a young child because she made sure that nobody messed with me or else they would have hell to pay. Everyone knew it too, so most times, people left me alone…but life….humph…well life happens to everyone.
As I began to get older, my fear hung around behind the scenes, quietly lurking, waiting for the next unfortunate situation to occur in my life. Without fail, every single time, I would feel that paralyzing feeling: it was fear and it came back every time in the form of depression or anxiety.
Fear is a State of Mind
Anyone who has ever suffered from depression, anxiety, or both knows that it can affect every area of your life. I read something one time that said when someone is depressed, it is because they are living in “the past”, meaning that one is living in the mindset of should’a, could’a…would’a. The article went on to state that when someone experiences anxiety it is because of living in the future and worrying about something that hasn’t occurred, meaning they are living in the mindset of “What if’s…” – both are equally crippling and counterproductive to living in the moment.
Although it took me a long time to recognize these two different mindsets for what they were, for a period of my life, I lived with both. Just imagine how chaotic my life was during that time? It was like living on a roller coaster at times, and to make matters worse, I lived in this state of mind for years (and by years, I mean most of my adult life). Sure, I looked okay on the outside because I always made sure I looked good. I still hung out with friends, went to family functions, attended school, and worked. I even got married, had kids, went through a divorce, and put on a brave face as a single parent for my kids every…single…day.
I didn’t want anyone to know the secret hell I was living in because I felt like people would judge me. You see, growing up, I witnessed a lot of judgement from people I thought were supposed to love and accept you no matter what. As a result, I felt openly discussing what I was dealing with was completely off the table. I didn’t even tell my best friend because she had a family and I didn’t want to bother her with my issues, so there were times I would isolate myself from people (which, by the way, is a side effect of suffering from depression or anxiety). The bottom line is I lived in a perpetual state of fear for years and many of my “happy moments” were only a disguise of how I truly felt inside.
People would tell me all the time that I was pretty but…I didn’t feel pretty. They would tell me I was smart, but I felt so stupid for the struggles I was dealing, although on the surface I seemed to be doing just fine. They would tell me I was funny, but the reason I loved to make people laugh was because that was the only way I would feel joy. I would give my last to anyone because it was the only way I would feel worthy of love, but once alone, I would feel an emptiness inside.
The End of Fear
I would constantly pray to God for answers as to how I could stop feeling these feelings. Let me tell you something: when you pray for something and mean it with all your heart, the answers will come. I went through so many trials after praying for answers and each time my faith was tested. God was trying to teach me to trust Him and fear not. Isn’t it funny how the only way to overcome fear is to be courageous? And isn’t it funny that the only way to be courageous is to believe in yourself? Isn’t it ironic how you can be neither courageous or believe in yourself when fear is hanging around in the background of your entire existence? What’s even more ironic is when the feeling of fear seems like it is going to overtake you, the only way to diminish it is to be courageous enough to believe in yourself.
I could write a book about all the trials and tribulations I have gone through, but for now, I will keep it sweet and simple. I no longer live in fear. I live on purpose. I am no longer afraid to be exactly who I was created to be. Had I not gone through all that I did, I wouldn’t be as bold and courageous as I am today. One of the most important lessons that I have learned on this journey called life is that whatever you fear always seems bigger that what it is. You must step towards your fear, handle it, and just like that…it disappears – because fear is just an illusion.