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  • Writer's pictureLouisa Meyer

Managing fear

This morning I awoke to the shriek of my housemate! It was a guttural shriek, the kind that instantly wakes you from sleep with every nerve straining to sense what’s wrong. I managed to hear the fateful phrase “spider, come quick”. Now let me tell you spiders are not my favourite thing, for years I had a phobia of them, just the mere sight would send me scurrying out of the house. The sensible part of me knows there is nothing to be afraid of, they are more afraid of us then we are of them blah blah blah. It doesn’t take away their physical appearance, after all nightmares really are made of these! Just think Stephen King’s IT! wasn’t that a huge spider that could change shape! Let’s not get started on their movement, quick and furtive. Normally you see them scuttling past through the corner of your eye. The mere sight of one is enough to bring on the fear! I usually avoid spiders, we have a cautious co-existence in my home, where they go about their business and I go about mine and hopefully never the twain will meet. But what when they do! For me I like to pretend I can’t see them, with the adage out of sight out of mind, the quicker those little beasties scamper from view the better. But what to do when forced into a confrontation! This morning I had to go into battle, my housemates cry the call, the panic and fear in her voice palatable. But oh God what was I to do! I didn’t want to come into close proximity with it but I couldn’t leave it either. So, a trip to the kitchen for the retrieval of washing up gloves (better safe than sorry), a glass and a bit of card; if I am honest delaying tactics too. Incy that’s the name I will give this spider (when you give something a name somehow it doesn’t seem so scary) was lurking beneath a duvet. My body had gone into fight or flight mode, I was ready to flee from the 8-legged fiend. The washing up gloves gave me a sense of security, if this crawled on me I wouldn’t be able to feel it. The glass and card the tools for Incy’s banishment. Catching it was easier than I thought. I think I caught it unaware. The glass went over it first followed by the slow insertion of the card. Hey presto one caught spider ready to be released into the outside urban jungle. I felt pleased with myself on a couple of levels, I had managed to control fear and I had managed to save the spider, for whatever my thoughts on the spider it is a living being deserving of life every bit as much as me. Yes, it would have to find another home but at least it will live another day, well that’s if the little blackbird that lives in my tree doesn’t nibble it first. Fear can paralyse us on many levels. It can hold us back from living the life we want, forcing us to live a life of limit. When you’ve tackled a fear, it gives you such a feeling of exhilaration, satisfaction and freedom. It frees up important energy to use on something meaningful to you. How to tackle fear! Sometimes fear is rational and sometimes it’s not. It can serve a vital function - to keep you safe. It’s important to the know the difference. Is it False Evidence Appearing Real? If so one of the easiest ways to combat this fear is to label it. It’s easy to be afraid of the unknown but when it has a name a little of the fear is taken away. Using positive autosuggestion is a crucial element to managing fear a simple “I can do this, I can do this” is enough to strengthen your resolve and change your physiology. You can also slowly desensitise yourself to the fear, which is what I have done progressively with spiders. A couple of years ago I wouldn’t have been able to stay in the same room but now albeit with the aid of implements I was able to remove Incy. Don’t let fear hold you back. Take time to ponder what it is you are fearful off, question it, look at honestly and work on your plan of attack. Once you’re ready you will be surprised at how easily you are able to conquer your fears.

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