To fear or not to fear?

24 Aug 2022
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“Fear doesn’t travel well; just as it can warp judgment, its absence can diminish memory’s truth.“

I thought about this quote by Arthur Miller, author of The Crucible, and it brought back memories of my daughter studying the text for G.C.S.E. It spooked her then. It would still affect me now!

Fear is hard to define though.

I once heard an acronym : F. E. A. R. = false evidence appearing real. It stayed with me, since at the time, I was fearful of many things… or should I say of people. Because looking back, it wasn’t the situations themselves I feared, but the anticipation of them (Would I be up to them, would I be derided?) and in actual fact, on the day, the fear often left me. I found the person or people concerned more approachable than I’d imagined. My prejudging had done me no favours.

Fear for me DOES warp my judgement: people I feared, for no good reason except that they held the power, were not better than me. I just thought they were. I wished I’d known that, as it could’ve saved me agonies. With the confidence I have learnt to have in myself over seven decades, I would have responded “Please don’t raise your voice to me” to anyone trying it on. In fact, I said this at the weekend to my seven year old great-niece, with immediate effect. She was disarmed.

How do you face your fears? Do you agonise, and in your mind run through a sort of dress rehearsal of the event, as I used to? Or have you learnt to be zen, or calm, or confident about your abilities and to stand up for yourself as an equal to more or less anybody?

Sally

A Moodscope member.

A Moodscope member.

Thoughts on the above? Please feel free to post a comment below.

Moodscope members seek to support each other by sharing their experiences through this blog. Posts and comments on the blog are the personal views of Moodscope members, they are for informational purposes only and do not constitute medical advice.

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Comments

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 5:28 a.m.

Oooh this is good Sally, It’s me all over, inside and out! Fear is something I have inside me, even now - fear of what is going to go wrong, because I am mostly content - so I’m waiting for the ‘whatsit’ to hit the fan! Totally unjustified in reality, because all good things come to an end so I try to remember ‘this too, will pass’ and make the most of the now. I’ve been fearful like that, for a number of years - don’t remember being like it as a child; maybe as a teenager when other kids at school were bullies. But that was probably a different fear. I used to get fearful about competitions - the eisteddfods at school etc. But again that was (and still is) a different fear, more nervousness than actual fear, a fear of making a fool of myself, forgetting my words etc., but it came out in me as my losing my voice, so I would ‘fail to deliver’…so I would fail. I still have a fear of being in new situations or seeing friends or new acquaintances who will undermine me or belittle me, or just talk over me, or I will think they are cleverer than I am and who am I that they’d want to be friends with me when I can’t ‘give’ them anything! I suppose it becomes a dread of agreeing to meet up. It is ridiculous but human. But maybe it’s what I have learned over the years - some people are kind and generous with their friendship - others ‘do’ look at what you are bringing to a relationship and if it’s not want they want, they move on. So maybe there’s a mixture of the fear of being let down?New situations hold a fear - all the ‘what if’s’ pop up and yes, I rehearse what I might say or do if… The F.E.A.R. acronym is one I’ve heard before and I have tried to keep it in mind so that I don’t allow the irrational fear to take over and put me off going to do something new. I meet lots of new people swimming and encourage them to come along and I’m sure I act confident and happy because mostly I am at the time, in the moment, and I mess about and have fun…but often the drive to the swim meeting is when my stomach is churning and I’m wondering why I have arranged or agreed to a meet up! Usually totally irrational! Thank you for putting your own fears in the Moodscope spotlight Sally. I liked the fact that you discombobulated your great-niece. You were probably even-handed in the way you said it by not over-reacting to her shouting - totally disarmed her and hopefully she will learn two great lessons from her great aunt: not to shout to get her own way and how to react when someone is shouting at her. Love and Bear hugs x x x

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The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 9:23 a.m.

Bear, I think most of what would be termed 'fear' with me is apprehension, once embarked on whatever challenge you have to face you just get on with it. I AM claustrophobic, scared getting stuck in lifts, underground. People had to walk out of channel tunnel other day, some freaked. A son is scared of heights, on field trips on ridges he used to sing. Aparrently THE thing in a tight spot, makes you breathe out and avoid panic attacks. xx

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:40 a.m.

Hello Bear. Thank you for writing such an interesting reply. I see I have a fellow spirit. Which is heartening. My sister was not fazed with anything social, enjoyed the limelight, posed well for nice photos. How different family can be. Discombobulated is a good word. It expresses very well what actually happened that day. I’m surprised you feel apprehensive before a swim ( or swim Le, even better!). Buti suppose it’s no different to how I feel before a gym trainer session. Will I be up to it?

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:42 a.m.

Gardener, how do you manage with the Eurotunnel, confined space that it is? It took me a while to get used to it..

The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 3:41 p.m.

Just accept tunnels if you are going to travel: Eurotunnel, Mont Cenis (first) endless on Italian autosrads (more scared of viaducts). Illogical, i know, but real fear getting stuck in lift or underground trains.

Teg

Aug. 25, 2022, 5:43 p.m.

Hi Mrs Bear Fear not Moodscope is here. And we are not scared of each other! PS Discombobulated is my OHs favourite word. Txx

the room above the garage

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:12 a.m.

Hello Sally, I love that acronym, never heard it before so thank you, I’m popping that in my toolbox! I think I’ve constantly carried fear and used avoidance to support me. Really interesting blog thank you, love ratg x

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:44 a.m.

You’re welcome, Room. Yes, avoidance to support …me too. Well, sometimes it turns out to be the right decision.

Salt Water Mum

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:18 a.m.

Oh Sally and Bear, this is me too! Exactly me! And I appear to be bright and friendly and some might even think care-free (!!) but the reality, what is going on in my head, all the what-ifs and deep rooted fears are bubbling away underneath. Is it fear of failure? Fear of Ridicule? Fear of not fitting in? Fear of exclusion? I am not sure, maybe a mix of all of the above... but yes, these fears are often not grounded in reality... Although... Work-wise I think fear of failure can be quite real and social-wise, fear of not fitting in can be real of course too... oh lots to think on here, Sally! Like Bear, I too like the way you stood your ground with your great niece and in doing so, she has learnt something about respect and boundaries. And 'discombobulated' Bear - I love this word :-) thank you Sally, Hope all Moodscopers have a productive and calm day, swm x

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Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:52 a.m.

Oh lovely SWM- you do always seem so care-free and ‘with it’ and on the case with your family - and I imagine you setting off for a salty sea swim (of which I am jealous - in a good way!!) From both our writings above - we have such a lot in common!! May you have calm seas to swimble in today and the next few swims ;-)* love and gentle Bear hugs x x x

The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 9:27 a.m.

I am convinced Bear made that word up. I've said before I had hard training in social contacts as my pa threw me in the deep end when I was 13. But what people see as a calm assured exterior is often pure bravado, or 'putting on a good face'. My Italian friends disapproved of my drinking, but if you have something really difficult to face in another language two glasses of red stops you worrying about verb tenses etc.

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:47 a.m.

SWM, thank you. That’s a point, about great niece learning something. I do hope so! I think fear of ridicule is a big factor. Even dogs don’t like being made fun of after all!

Teg

Aug. 25, 2022, 5:45 p.m.

SWM/Mrs Bear You are both fearless as far as water is concerned! Txx

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

Nope! Definitely not one of my made up words! Discombobulate is a word TG!! Meaning confused and disconcerting!! Thankees Teg, TG and Sally xx

Teg

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:02 a.m.

Good Morning Sally A fearsome Post! I know exactly what you mean about anticipating the worst case scenario. It is not reality you are considering ; it is your false perception of it. Do not believe everything you think! It is not conceited to think "I am as good as any other person". If they can do it, so can I. I am pleased your seven decades of experience are proving useful; is this what they call becoming older and wiser? I have a few more years than that and I can feel the mental benefits. Thank you for raising this important and interesting topic. Txx

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The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 9:33 a.m.

Teg, I am a few years older than you and Sally. I can inform you from recent experience that playing the 'age' card gets you nowhere. Don't know if you have grandchildren, they are remorseless 'Of course you can do it Granny'. I've never been a good swimmer, and hate being out of my depth. A d-in-law, in Lombok or somewhere, made me go down the water-slide before I could have a drink, bar other end of pool.

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:51 a.m.

Teg, Thank you for reminding me that it is not conceited to think “ I am as good as any other person”. I sometimes need reminding. Growing up, it was not done to talk of successes, at school, for instance. We weren’t encouraged to take part in sport, all told we were no good …

Teg

Aug. 25, 2022, 5:47 p.m.

Hi Sally All your success is coming now with this Moodscope blog. Better late than never.

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:32 p.m.

Teg - I like your responses to us all and to Sally - I’m thinking a Fearless post today as well as Fearsome!! Bear x

Ach UK

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:02 a.m.

Hi Sally, Please excuse this aside from your blog. Just to say sorry to read Mary your yesterday blog. Have added reply to it. Hope you soon feel better. XX Ach.

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Valerie

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:05 a.m.

Another one here Sally! Maybe we should form a club "The Worried Warriors". I mentioned once that the reason I can often act quickly and even bravely when a crisis arises is that I have had many many dry runs going round my head. When a day dawns that I have been dreading and agonising over for ages,I will wake up feeling great,all pumped up for action.However things turn out,they cannot be worse than the horrible scenarios I have been scaring myself with. My mother told me once that she reckoned my father had sired a lot of other children out of wedlock,all over the country.I certainly often feel I have encountered some sisters and brothers on Moodscope! ***

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The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 9:36 a.m.

Valerie, serious side to possible unknown half-siblings. My firs adopted daughter had no problems. But she was always curious about the possibility that her natural mother had more children, and what they were like. xx Still laughing over Tuesday's blog!

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:26 a.m.

Val, your Tuesday blog has been applauded by family I’ve sent it to too!

Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:53 a.m.

Worried Warriors has a nice tongue- twistery side to it, I like it! Crumbs, let’s hope your mother was exaggerating, Val!

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:38 p.m.

Yup another paw waving to say how much I laughed and enjoyed your blog and the comments on Tuesday Val - as well as today’s offering from you! Many of us have the same things happening to us - but rather than your father siring many Moodscopers - I think we are all here for similar reasons mentally!! Tee hee! Bear xx

The Gardener

Aug. 25, 2022, 9:45 a.m.

Sally, my reaction to my awful return journey from UK last week was 'never agan, too old, too much stress'. When the actual pain caused by physical exertion died down I analysed why the journey was so bad. First, August, would not normally travel. But grand-daughter teacher, had to be August. ALL travel was chaotic. 'Incidents' left no time between changes. Real fears, rather than apprehension, driving. One, driving on to a ferry and you are stuck half way up a steep ramp, hand-brake start, scared of hitting car behind, everybody is tetchy travelling. Another is driving a left-hand drive car coming on to a busy motorway. Coming from the A21 from Kent on to the M25 is a nightmare. I have had to stop driving in UK, but has made life much more difficult. I know I've seen this somewhere - about irrational fears. 'And in the night, imagining some fear, how often does a bush become a bear'. xx

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:56 a.m.

Soooo sorry, Gardener , your return journey was so awful. I can well imagine how it took it out of you so. I really like the bear quote!

Bearofliddlebrain

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:40 p.m.

Oh TG a bush becoming a Bear? Have you seen my hair???!!!! Ha ha ha!!! Bear hugs and glad you are home safe and sound xx

Mary

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:45 a.m.

I taught my children as they were growing "Feel the fear, but do it anyway" because the outcome is rarely what they feared. They're pretty fearless as grownups! My hubby is fearful which is pretty self limiting. I'm brave really despite my trauma. Go, me! Go, you!

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 10:59 a.m.

That was a good thing to tell them, Mary. Acknowledging without dismissing their fear. I’m afraid my mother was dismissive, in denial ( however nowadays I can understand why she was like that…) but it didn’t help much at the time !

Orangeblossom

Aug. 25, 2022, 11:24 a.m.

Thanks for the enlightening blog. Mum inoculated fear of her as she thought it was the only way we would obey her. It backfired on her because I never really trusted her & we never established a good adult, maturing relationship. We tried but tended to bring out the worst in each other.

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Orangeblossom

Aug. 25, 2022, 11:25 a.m.

Thanks for the enlightening blog. Mum inoculated fear of her as she thought it was the only way we would obey her. It backfired on her because I never really trusted her & we never established a good adult, maturing relationship. We tried but tended to bring out the worst in each other.

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:01 p.m.

Yes, inculcating fear is no way to nurture a close relationship short or long term I think. I expect it had become an engrained habit with her , Queen of the May and all that!

Lexi

Aug. 25, 2022, 11:41 a.m.

Val- I didn't get a chance to reply to your blog the other day - had me laughing! You are a joy to read xo

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Lexi

Aug. 25, 2022, 11:52 a.m.

Sally, I am a classic 2am Imaginer of the Worst. My brain can sound the alarm on 1,000 different things to fear, all in the dead of night when I'm unable to do anything about them. 99% of the time I wake up in the morning and feel calm, realizing the alarm bells were false. I still haven't figured out how to quell the fears in the middle of the night. Doing a crossword or trying to remember the plot of the last murder mystery I read can often get me back to sleep, and occasionally I can reason with myself that the fears are unfounded. I used to be afraid of presenting in front of a large group of people. Imagining them naked never helped. So I would over prepare and then ask a lot of questions, so that I would let them talk and eat up the time. I wonder if anyone ever noticed my tactics lol. xo

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:04 p.m.

Lexi, things always seem sooo much worse waking at 2 a.m.don’t they! I’ve had some of my worst fears then. Classic over preparer here too. Then you’re left knowing how many hours you could have spared!

RC

Aug. 25, 2022, 12:03 p.m.

I can face most situations with a positive feeling except when I’m depressed. Then I become like a scared child, frightened by my own shadow! I get acrophobia and can’t leave the house or see anyone. Fair to say I’m feeling positive right now and am trying to learn ways of dealing with the down times. Moodscope helps so much…… Take care RC

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:07 p.m.

So glad you’re feeling positive at the moment, RC. I suffer from all the symptoms you outline when depressed too. Horrible isn’t it . I agree about how much Moodscope helps .

Patty

Aug. 25, 2022, 2:11 p.m.

I wake up in the morning after having fearful, unsettling dreams. Getting lost, not able to settle things. But, I wake up and a little later realize they are only dreams. I think they are rooted in general fear and anxiety while I sleep. I fear things that I should not. Going places and doing things. I get tired and fear needs to take a back seat.

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Teg

Aug. 25, 2022, 5:54 p.m.

Hi Patty I can relate to what you say abut dreams. Getting lost, can't find the car, no phone. Great relief when I wake. Txx

greenjean

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:28 p.m.

Thanks Sally for the reminder of the Fear Acronym - in my words - 'thought are just thoughts they are not facts' Feeling less than brilliant for a few months I think my fears and thoughts have run away with me a bit but this has been a good nudge to getting back to being more mindful and just letting things be, to notice things are just how they are - without judgement or wanting them to be different. Gosh though I don't think I'm ready to stand up to anyone as their equal yet - needs a bit of working on!

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:11 p.m.

I like your words about fears not being facts, Greenjean. Indeed. Sorry you’ve felt less than brilliant. I do hope you’re on the up now though, or at least soon.

Cyndi

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:30 p.m.

What a great blog, and comments. Though I may of missed it, but for me, the acronym definition of fear is Face Everything And Recover. I am not sure why, but fear is not as self limiting now. Being a bit hypo manic helps, LOL. I barely had any fear moving 800 miles awhile ago. I wanted all the steps to go well, and tried to plan for them, but I did not obsess over “what if this happens.. ,.” I do share my thoughts (too freely), for I strongly believe “You are only as sick as your secrets”. Secrets for me, eat at me. If I share them, they dissolve.

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Sally

Aug. 25, 2022, 7:15 p.m.

Interesting comments, Cyndi. I haven’t heard your version, but, again , makes perfect sense. I feel the same way about secrets eating at you. Far prefer having them out in the open. Well done, on making the 800 mile move without fear ! Quite a feat.

greenjean

Aug. 25, 2022, 6:31 p.m.

Gardener, what an inspiration you are to us all! Just hearing about your travels in August to the UK on your own are pretty exhausting so well done for being so gutsty & stoical. x

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Leah

Aug. 26, 2022, 2:50 a.m.

Sally Just catching up on your thoughtful blog and all the great comments. Thanks for starting this discussion.

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Nicco

Aug. 27, 2022, 9:58 p.m.

I have cptsd so fear has been a huge feature in my life & still is. I use breathing techniques & meditation to try to keep it to a level I can cope with but it's not easy sometimes. I remember reading the book 'Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway' years ago & didn't actually find it that helpful. I must dig it out & give it another go. I also sometimes fear the fear, if that makes sense. It can be paralysing. These days I try to avoid anything, as far as is possible, that will cause me anxiety & I sometimes feel bad for doing this but I have to do what works best for me - for too long have I put others first to the detriment of my own health. Thanks for your thought-provoking blog, Sally.

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