Thursday, March 18, 2010

Can I Overcome Fear?

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For as long as I can remember my life and my mind have been controlled by fear. All different kinds of fears, but especially fear of failing and fear of looking stupid, which are similar but not exactly the same. I have made every big decision in my life (where to go to college, where to go to law school, where to move after law school, etc.) based on fear of trying something big and failing at it. I can't keep living this way.

Realizing you're gripped by a paralyzing fear of failing is just the beginning. The hard part is figuring out how to let go of that fear, how to face it down and not let it have so much power over you. While I have to acknowledge that some of my recent experiences with my career and employment have somewhat reinforced these fears, I also know I have many experiences with success to draw on as evidence of my ability to do well. But for some reason I tend to discount these successes as something anyone could accomplish and focus more heavily on my perceived failures. I'll be the first to admit this is an unhealthy, distorted way of viewing myself and my place in the world.

Depression contributes to a nasty cycle of ever increasing paralyzing fear. When I'm feeling especially down I don't do much and become more and more anxious about doing even simple things. Because I'm feeling so anxious, I isolate myself and become even more depressed. It continues on this way, each problem making the other worse.

There have been times when I've made an effort to do things that scare me. Last year I went to BlogHer '09 by myself despite not having previously met anyone who would be there. I even made an effort to meet people and had a pretty good time. I think I'll do even better at BlogHer '10. I guess little steps in the right direction are the only way to overcome this.

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DISCLAIMER: Nothing on this site constitutes medical or legal advice. I am a patient who is engaged and educated and enjoys sharing my experiences and news about migraines, pain and depression. Please consult your own health care providers for advice on your unique situation.