The only thing we have to fear is fear itself

The only thing we have to fear is fear itself: a different approach to fear


 

It’s easy to get stuck and stop moving forward. Most of us are addicted to security and comfort. We like our lives to be within the comfort zone and that’s it. Once we learn our skills and feel comfortable with them, we just want to stay there. Sometimes we need to challenge ourselves and we might be afraid of the unknown. Doing something you never did before can be scary. Becoming an RN can be a scary. If you are an RN, moving to a new unit or starting new procedure you never did can be scary. What if it doesn’t work? What if a suck at it? What if I don’t like it and can’t move back. Life is movement. Remember: bed-bound = death. FDR said beautifully: “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”.

Fear is the most uncomfortable emotion there is. Most often we are just afraid of fear. We are actually not as afraid of things per se, but afraid of feeling afraid. See for yourself and try to re create your fearful events. The worst part is confronting your fears because they stir the old unpleasant emotions that fear brings. In essence we are afraid of feeling afraid. If you actually just do “the thing” you are afraid of, and treat fear differently you may see everything in a different light. We can conquer fear by giving up the idea we can’t be afraid.

It’s kind of like becoming friends with your fears instead of rejecting them. The fearless warrior is afraid, she just go on and do her business and take fear along with her. Is silly to think people though of being courageous are not afraid. They are. They just go on to battle regardless of their fears. Fear can be an ally because it’s always reminding you of the dangers you are exposed to and that is a good thing. Is just your relationship with fear that has to change. I’m still afraid and always will be afraid, and so does everybody else. People lie.

I used to be afraid of hospitals, and hospitals are scary places. The smell of alcohol and other hospital smells  just set off some deep fears in me. I was so scared I thought I could faint. Or at least have a panic attack. I remember my first clinical. It was at this huge county hospital and this one unit we were in was very scary. There were 20 beds, 10 in each side of this long ad narrow room.

To me everyone there was scarier then the other. Some homeless, ex drug addicts, alcoholics, those smells first thing in the morning just hit me strong, but there was something raw and fascinating at the same time. One time we were helping this guy with ADL’s and I remember he had a wound so deep It seemed to be a tunnel going forever inside him. I was so grossed out I told the CNA I just had to step out of the curtains and take a deep breath. My heart was pounding and I thought to myself. Please don’t let me have a panic attack or something. So I took a deep breath and went back into the curtain area. I just kept doing and something happened. I was right there and staying with it and with time I noticed that nothing happened. So the next time it was easier.

So with every successive time I confronted these experiences it became easier. So in a way fear can co exist with the feared object. Fear is just there and you just let fear do what it wants. So as soon as we learn how to live with our fears as something that is part of it and not to fight it; the better. So you go on about your business and you welcome your fears. Just let it hang out. In a way fear is our friend. This can be a valuable asset in nursing.

Nurses are exposed to so many heavy duty tasks as they run into scary events on daily basis. But this is a good thing because it gives you opportunities to practice and test yourself and it makes you grow. Fear is so paralyzing, so powerful and can do a lot of damage. I don’t have a handle into fear and sometimes, like everybody I feel afraid, uncomfortable, irritated and let fear take over. Fear has many facets, you can be depressed because you are afraid. So try to just be afraid and let your fears hang out. But go and do what you have to do. Soon your fears will be there but you’ll became good at doing the things you are afraid, weather you have fear or not. Anybody can try; fear is available to everyone. Let’s take advantage and put it for a good use.

Image credit: flickr.com

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Marcos Taquechel

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