• Carrie

Living Fearlessly

Fear is a powerful motivator that impacts our mental health daily. Nowadays, it seems a lot of fear has morphed into straight violence. Like an abused animal trapped in a corner, fear is a cause of mistrust and uncertainty (something I have personally experienced). This uncertainty can cause extremely defensive behavior, depression, anxiety, and an overall feeling that the world can't be trusted. I feel like whatever you're afraid of is what controls you the most. That's why I think it is important to try and live as fearlessly as you can.

It's reasonable to have rational fears, such as standing away from a ledge to avoid falling off a cliff. The fear of getting hurt in a car accident could cause you to wear a seat belt; that kind of fear is healthy. But some fear is irrational and manipulative, like the negative thoughts you may tell yourself if you have been abused. That kind of fear can have monumental consequences. What we tell ourselves is extremely important and unfortunately when you have a mental illness it can get pretty mean inside your head, believe me I know. It is important (something I remind myself many times a day) to make sure your thoughts are not full of irrational fear. Be nice to yourself. Recognize this type of toxic fear and leave it where it belongs: out of your life.

Nobody deserves to feel afraid or scared. I grew up in a pretty scary environment. Nothing was stable and life was unpredictable and sometimes terrifying. Having a mental illness made this kind of trauma even more impactful. I went in to early adulthood with both fists up and a defense wall as thick as my thighs and that's pretty thick. I was not tough. I was not strong. I was afraid...that's where my stubborness and attitude came from. That's where my crippling social anxiety came from. That's where my inability to relax came from...I was absolutely terrified because I had been taught my whole life, directly or indirectly, to fear the world, my emotions, and anything that made me happy.

It's hard sometimes to know the difference between rational and irrational fear. I know that my mind, as distorted as it is, tricks me into having more irrational fears than rational ones. Even though my bipolar disorder is, at the moment, pretty well controlled I still have my moments. I think it is important to understand what scares us so our personal fear does not manifest into behaviors that we might regret. I know I am tired of dealing with obtrusive thoughts rooted in fear. Together I truly believe we can live fearlessly and happily.

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