I’ve talked before about the fears that come with my anxiety disorder. These fears include the fear that I am not good enough, the fear that the people in my life will leave me, and the fear that I will make a mistake and be judged for it, just to name a few. And I can’t yet change the fear I feel, but I can change how I react to it. And this leads to an important question for me, and for anyone who has fear associated with their anxiety: Are you controlling your fear? Or is your fear controlling you?
Controlling your fear looks differently for different people. For me, my therapist and I have been working on using this as a motivator. If I am afraid of X, I should do Y because that will help. Sometimes this helps, other times it doesn’t. Others may control their fear by designating certain times that they allow themselves to feel it, then ignoring it the rest of the time.
However, letting the fear control you means you are not living your life fully. You are making decisions because of the fear, decisions that might be holding you back in your recovery efforts.
Understanding these differences and understanding your feelings generally is key to recovery when you battle mental illness. I wrote this post both to remind myself of the issues I am working on, but hopefully to remind others who might be battling that you can control your fear without giving in to it. I hope you are able to do that, as I try to do it myself. And when I fail, which I inevitably will, I must learn to treat myself with compassion and grace.
Because otherwise the fear wins, and none of us want that.