Facing the fear

Have you ever been afraid? The kind of afraid where panic sets in, your heart races, your mind is totally illogical? The kind of afraid where you feel like you are alone in the world, reliant on yourself and nobody can help? I have. I have felt this on many occasion. I am a bit of a jumpy person. Thunder freaks me out. I hate the dark. Sleeping on my own can conjure all sorts of creature under the bed kinda moments. I essentially have a good imagination and a sensitive disposition.

Having lived with (some years ago) proper anxiety and panic brought on by some nasty experiences working with child and family violence in my job as a social worker, I can say I have truly felt afraid. I am also a mother and the fear of things potentially happening to your child, or worse when they actually do happen, is one of these kinds of moments of being afraid. My two oldest boys sledding off a mountain and momentarily thinking my oldest might have been paralysed was one of those moments.

There have been other moments, living with panic and anxiety, where seemingly nothing started this feeling of fear. This sense of dread. Take for example my first known full blown panic attack in Myer at the make up counter. No reason (other than those Clinique ladies in white coats), but ended up being wheel chaired out to their sick room….embarrassing and scary to say the least.

That was a long time ago. I no longer feel controlled by anxiety and panic. Not to say that these emotions do not raise their heads as they do for all of us. But, they no longer run my life.

Living with type 1 diabetes however I do often have these moments of dread. Things like what would happen if I went out without my blood glucose machine and could not check my levels? What would happen if my pump breaks when I am travelling and I have to work out a plan B with injecting after 12 years on a pump? What would happen if I had a serious hypo and passed out and my four year old was alone here with me? Living reliant on machines, batteries and other people to keep my pancreas chugging along is somewhat daunting at times.

I do not want to even begin to think about what would happen if there was a natural disaster or war and we had no power, or water, or food access, or even worse, insulin supplies. That is just too scary for me to even go there.

 These many things run through my head at times but like with any other area of my life, stopping these “what if” kind of thoughts can help to lessen the fear. It does not take grip on me. I do not fall into a mad panic and become unable to do anything. I have fleeting moments of genuine worry, fear and yes even panic and then I move on.

I will have my moments and I am not afraid to say that. We all have them after all and in some strange way being aware of these fears makes it easier to feel safe.