Getting to Grips with Fear and Anxiety

Posted on
This piece is by a Kilkenny GROW member.

When fear and anxiety get a grip on us, it’s amazing how many things can make us anxious. Will I sleep tonight, is my friend upset about a comment I made yesterday, will that bus get me to the airport on time, has the barber turned me into a skinhead?

At GROW, we take a practical every week to do the ordinary thing we fear. Some fears seem easier to tackle.Hello (3)

For example, one thing I learned is that giving too much attention to my fear of not sleeping will make my sleeping pattern worse.

As President Roosevelt once said: ‘The only thing we have to fear is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance’.

By accepting my fear of not sleeping and believing that I could survive a bad night’s sleep, the fear slowly went away. A restless night certainly is not nice, but it is not like a monster in a horror movie. I live in the real world, not the Hammer House of Horror.

Other anxieties are harder to conquer. GROW has taught me to ‘avoid isolation and keep in friendly touch with other minds’. Slowly, I am learning to better engage with social situations. Yet, it constantly puzzles me how sometimes it feels like my efforts are worthwhile and other times not.

Getting a handle on anxiety requires the habit of doing the right thing. We can’t always expect to feel great after.

Every human feels fear. We become paralysed with anxiety by running away from all our fears. Even if we lived to a thousand, we won’t conquer all our fears. The key is to tackle enough of them to make our lives worth living – ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’.

In our battles with fear, we will win some and lose some. The key is to keep making the effort so we can learn to be a good enough human being.