QUICK TRIGGER WARNING: I started writing this as a writing reference, but towards the end talking about trauma I may have gotten a little graphic, I never mentions what the trauma is referencing, just descriptions of, well, fear and how it affects me. But if you think that alone may be triggering to you, please move along and stay safe!
So, I’m thinking about fear right now. And about the different ways in which it is born.
Fears without an origin: Phobias, social anxiety.
From my personal experience these fears are easier to ignore. The fear itself is often stronger but because there’s no underlying cause, no real threat, no past experience that could repeat itself, it can be ignored.
I have social anxiety, and I could probably do a writing reference all about it, but for now, what’s important is the ignoreability of it. As a kid, I couldn’t speak to a stranger, for a very long time I couldn’t order food for myself or go to a store.
Heck, for a long time I couldn’t post online because “people would see it”.
But at the beginning of this term I saw an opportunity, offered by a stranger, so I walked up, spoke confidently and quickly sold myself, smiled, laughed and got given the chance.
There was a time that seemed impossible.
But what’s important here isn’t the improvement in my actions, it’s the lack of it in my emotions. See, I still have social anxiety, and although I do the things, I still feel the things. When I walked up my heart was going at a thousand per minute, my hands were visibly shaken and I was making a conscious effort to breathe.
When I left the situations I had tears of happiness from the pride I felt, but they could have just as easily been me breaking down after a failed attempt at social interaction.
The things with phobias and social anxiety is they don’t go away. Or at least I haven’t gotten rid of any in my twenty four years of life. You just learn to live with them. You learn to act despite them.
And learning to handle them requieres experience and a lot of it. Social interactions is something I both do and force myself to do every day. But others phobias like heights and spiders are far harder to get over.
Most characters won’t ever overcome those phobias, no matter how much you “show” them it’s harmless, because that fear is innate. Most people with phobias know of the “harmlessness”, it just doesn’t matter.
Fears with an origin: Traumas and experience.
Far harder to deal with from my experience.
You’re never going to be able to convince yourself something is harmless when it’s already harmed you in the past. You’ve never going to feel entirely safe in a place where you were hurt.
Traumas for me tend to be more mental than physical. Less shaking hands and tears threatening to escape, more flashbacks, disassociation and panic attacks.
Traumas are often sudden. I’ll be dealing with something just fine, proud of myself that I’m getting back into it, that I’ll recover. Then suddenly, with no warning, my mind fills with the worst scenarios, the one that I’ve already lived, the one I’ve already escaped from yet can never truly escape from. Often I’ll stop breathing, I’ll move very quickly away from the cause of my distress, I’ll break down.
I don’t know how to deal with trauma. I can walk through my fears, I can take a deep breath and force myself to act. But trauma is a different kind of fear. It goes deeper than my outer body, it lies deep within my soul and constantly threatens me with it’s presence, it’s interference.
Trauma threatens to take parts of my life away from me and never ever give them back.
From what I’ve seen, heard and talked to with people, similar to the fears we are “born” with, trauma doesn’t go away. We just learn to deal with it. But from my experience, I learn more to avoid it. To avoid those situations that will cause me to break down, even if it means giving up on things I love.
We all probably deal with these two types of fears in one way or another. It’s likely the way they affect you is different then how they affect me. I did this intending for it to be a writing reference, it’s kind of what I do, but it got a bit deep at the end. But, if you’d like to reblog this and on some of your experience with fears, maybe we can learn something!
As usual, check out my book, stories I’ve written plus other social medias: here.
I am sorry if this article is a bit heavy and I’m a bit “vanished” right now. I’m really busy yet full of creativity, so I guess when I saw down instead of writing out a helpful series of tips I went full creative. I hope despite that you enjoyed and got something out of this!