Fear is quite possibly the most crippling of all human emotions. I remember a conversation with a family member regarding shutting them out. I tried to explain at the time that I wasn’t shutting them (or anyone else) out. I was shutting myself in.

When I chose to shut myself in, I was making that decision because I was afraid that any interactions with anyone had the potential to increase my stress level and push me over the edge. It is very limiting to analyse and over analyse a situation and what may possibly happen to the extent that you avoid the situation all together.

Something I practice is living in the moment. I try not to dwell on what has happened in the past and also not to hypothesize or dramatise what may happen in the future. It is much more emotionally manageable to experience now and deal with it without the extra baggage.

I think of life as a bucket hanging on a rubber band with experiences that consume emotional energy adding to the weight of the bucket. Now the rubber band has stretch and as the emotional energy around a situation is released, the bucket gets lighter. When things are going well, the bucket quite happily bobs along, sometimes stretching the rubber band, sometimes releasing the tension and regaining its original shape. There have been times in my life where that bucket has got heavier and heavier. I have become aware that my rubber band is stretching but the more the band stretches, the less I am able to make a rational decision to do something about it.

I am now minimising the stretch on my rubber band by keeping my weight under control which removes the physical symptoms that I have experienced (pain, lethargy, loss of balance). Physical pain contributes to the weight of the bucket because the bucket is harder to carry when pain is experienced. I am also maintaining a level of fitness that increases my energy levels and I maintain a high level of consideration for myself and my feelings.

It would not be complete to consider fear without considering the fear of going back to where I have been. This applies to depression, alcohol dependence, obesity, lack of physical fitness and cancer. Now I could dwell on any or all of these conditions and the possibility that I might go back there but that would dampen or destroy my enjoyment of this current time in my life. I have absolute respect for what I need to do to keep these conditions at bay.  I do not dwell on the journey I took into the darkness but I do think about the triggers, the pathway, the choices I made and the flawed thought processes that took me there and I will do whatever I need to in order to maintain my health.

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