I know this won’t be news to most of you, but… I live much of my life in fear.

Fear of noises.

Fear of smells.

Fear of people.

Fear of places.

Fear of situations.

Some days, even fear of my own shadow.

Some of these fears have a direct and obvious link to my past; others are more indirect.

I realised too that much of my healing – if not all of it – is about getting over these fears. Or at least learning to live with them so that I’m not paralysed by them all the time.

I could list for you a trillion times I’ve felt afraid – that familiar feeling of stomach flipping, heart beating faster, can’t get my breath, breaking out in a sweat. You know the feeling, I’m sure.

One particular situation is front of mind. For ages (years) I’ve loved photography, and wanted to do it. More. Properly. Better. But I’ve been too scared. Despite the fact that many of you have told me my photos are great, I never believed you. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but it’s true. I’m sorry. I thought you were just being polite – just like my friends in the real world who are not only being polite about the photos, but also only being friends with me out of pity, or obligation, or…I don’t know what. I didn’t believe that this photography thing was may be something I could do. Not until my therapist told me how good she thinks some of my photos are. So why did I believe her, and not you?  Well, I guess I trust that she doesn’t BS me. Not about stuff like that anyway.

So she convinced me to enrol in a photography short course. The first class was last night and I can’t tell you how afraid I was. Afraid of going, afraid of not going. Afraid of the people and looking like an idiot. Afraid of being the dumbest and most hopeless person there. Afraid of failure and not being any good at photography at all.  

On the way there I had to deal with my fears. With all these things as well as my fear of being late and

getting lost and

being trapped in the lift and

the crowds in the city and

a creepy man in dirty clothes standing outside his shop who I thought was going to grab me and

having to talk to people in the class who I was sure were thinking I’m an idiot and

not having a good enough camera (even though I do) and

not wearing nice enough clothes (even though I did) and

having to walk back to my car by myself after class (even though it was still light) and

and and and…you get the picture.

But I went to the class. To quote the cliché, I did “feel the fear and do it anyway.” I’m still afraid of all those things, but I went. I’m pleased I faced the fear, even though I know I’ll have to face it all again next week.

I guess this is why my therapist says I’m “gutsy”.


In other news my (half) brother-in-law had a stroke this morning. They are still testing but it sounds serious. I am freaking out. Selfishly I don’t think my freaking is for the bro-in-law (who I have only known for a few years and who gives me the creeps) but because I’m flashing straight back to when my father had his strokes last year. Please don’t worry, I’m ok. I have rested, refreshed and seem to be “back to a mild panic.”

Oh, and thanks to Wordle for helping me make this image.


7 thoughts on “Fear

  1. Kerro –
    LOVE the Wordle image – I find I startle very easily – I often wonder if it is a common thing or just me. If I don’t hear or see someone coming (even at work) behind me, and get startled, I gasp (loudly), heart starts pounding, hands tingle. Often enough so many of my partners know to announce their presence (even though they don’t know my story). I’m sure it’s some body remembering thing.

    Now back to you 🙂 How did you like the class? I’m glad you were able to overcome your anxiety/fear and go. And you do have wonderful photos. Have fun with it!


  2. Yes, that’s exactly why your therapist says you are “gutsy.” And it’s why we all think so, too. The class will get easier, I think, as you get used to it. And taking risks with a positive result helps to build a different “experience file” that helps to manage fear/anxiety overall. It takes a while, but someday you’ll wake up and find that your overall anxiety about stuff is down from a 10 to a 9, and then an 8, and you’ll realize that it is possible to achieve a little bit of healing around generalized fear.

    I know exactly how you feel, and how hard it is. Before I went into therapy, I was so fragile in this area that I couldn’t have coffee with a friend I’d known for three years without spending three hours beforehand in the bathroom, in a classic fear/flight purge reaction. I still kept trying, though, despite all the clothes I ruined by drenching them with panic-driven sweat, and the strange out-of-body experiences I would have, talking to people while being completely dissociated. It was horrifying. But things are a lot easier now … and those changes happened just through my own inner work. So I know it can and will get easier, if you keep after it. It’s really hard, but it’s really worthwhile, as I think you’re slowly and carefully discovering — and that’s exactly the right way to discover it.

  3. Kerro – WELL DONE. Despite all the millions of things going around in your head scaring you to death – you went. Please please please concentrate on that small victory. I’m quite sure it will get easier and I’m so delighted you did this. It’s such huge progress. Well done 🙂

  4. Just re-read that – I didn’t mean anything negative by saying “small victory” – I think actually it was just a turn of phrase but when I hit “submit” and re-read I thought it might sound a little condescending and I actually meant the exact opposite!

    Ugh! Sorry!!!!

  5. You are gutsy… there’s nothing stronger than facing those fears and challenging them in any way you can.

    If it’s any consolation at all, what you’ve written here is exactly what I felt like when I went along to my photography course too… It felt scarier because a couple of work colleagues were going – fear of looking like an idiot in front of people who knew me. So I can sort of identify with your fear, but it is worth it over time. Yes, I still had that fear each time I went, but (as David suggested) it got a little more manageable each time.

    Oh, and I’m not that polite… If I tell you I like your photos, it’s because I think they’re good 🙂

    Sorry about your brother-in-law. I hope it’s not too serious. It’s ok to say that it triggered other memories – just like how seeing Jo injured triggered me through the roof. It’s natural, normal and unavoidable.

    Take care (((Kerro)))

  6. Hi Kerro,

    Well I never say something complimentary unless it is the truth. Sorry but I don’t extend myself to someone in friendship out of pity, obligation or politeness. Really I am not that nice. I only share myself and my time with those I find loveable, trustworthy, admirable, and healing. And actually being a friend to others I cannot find something wonderful in, I mean really, that would not be something that I could do to someone because it would lead to hurting them and that I try to avoid. So please know that I see and believe all the things that I say to you. And you are lovely and wonderful. I believe in you.

    Good and healing thoughts to you.


  7. Your collage is very powerful. It’s absolutely horrible to live in fear. But as I said in the previous post, I see a lot of times that you get beyond that. It’s true for most of us that we are often brought back to the fears and this is limiting. As others said, you can get more comfortable with new things… and then the fear subsides. Everyone deserves to live without fear. And you are no exception. Give yourself the permission to grow and you will!

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