Writing 101: Day Seventeen – “Your Personality on the Page”
Day Seventeen – Your Personality on the Page:
* Today’s Prompt: What are you scared of? Address one of your worst fears.
* Today’s Twist: Write this post in a style distinct from your own.
I don’t think that there’s a single person in the world who doesn’t have a fear of something. If there is someone who says that they’re not afraid of anything, then he or she is truly unique. Either that, or they just don’t want to admit it!
According to Psychology Today: “Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger – if we didn’t feel it, we couldn’t protect ourselves from legitimate threats. But often we fear situations that are far from life-or-death, and thus hang back for no good reason. Traumas or bad experiences can trigger a fear response within us that is hard to quell. Yet exposing ourselves to our personal demons is the best way to move past them.”
Being afraid is healthy. Being afraid is normal. Being afraid is part of being human. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s something that we all experience, and therefore, it’s something we can all relate to. The only difference is that we don’t all have the same fears.
I am no different from anyone else. I have fears of my own. And I can also tell you what I’m not afraid of. I’m not afraid of the dark. I’m not afraid of spiders. I’m not afraid of clowns. I’m not afraid of thunder. And I’m not even afraid of dying.`
My number one fear is the fear of heights, otherwise known as acrophobia. In my research of acrophobia, I read that everyone who suffers from acrophobia experiences it in their own way and may have different symptoms. Typical symptoms include shortness of breath, rapid breathing, irregular heartbeat, sweating, nausea, and overall feelings of dread. This fear of heights can be dangerous, as in situations where the person has a panic attack in a high place and becomes too agitated to get themselves down safely. Some acrophobics also suffer from urges to throw themselves off high places, despite not being suicidal.
In researching the causes for acrophobia, I discovered that the most widely accepted explanation is that acrophobia stems from the natural fear of falling and being injured or killed. A phobia such as the fear of heights occurs when fear is taken to an extreme, possibly due to unintentional learning, generalization of the fear response, or the result of a traumatic experience. Like other fears and phobias, acrophobia is created by the unconscious mind as a protective mechanism, which agrees with the article that I read in Psychology Today, as mentioned earlier in this post. It could be that at some point in my past, there may have been an event linking heights or high levels and emotional trauma. My mind could be seeking to protect my body from further trauma and that is what is causing an extreme fear of the situation, in this case the fear of heights.
I have racked my brain, trying desperately to remember what event could have caused my fear of heights, but to no avail. As a matter of fact, in my youth, I had no such fear. I remember going to the fair or to the amusement park and absolutely loving it when I could ride on the ferris wheel. I also remember going to the top of the IDS Tower in Minneapolis and looking out over the city with its beautiful view, reveling in the feeling. And the IDS Tower has a total of 57 levels! Never once was I afraid in any of those situations. But the very first time that I had to fly on an airplane, I was terrified. I almost didn’t get on the plane.
Now I’m afraid to look out the window of a two-story building. Even worse, I’m afraid to stand on a chair for fear that I might fall. But what’s even stranger is that I have flying dreams. Now how do you explain that? Wouldn’t you think that a person who is afraid of heights wouldn’t have a dream about flying? Or maybe the two aren’t even related.
But I guess it could be worse. I could be afraid of people, intimacy, or even love. And yes, those are real fears that real people are afraid of.
So what to do about our fears, whatever they may be? I’ve thought about this and I think that the answer is not really all that difficult. First, I think that a person has to realize that they’re not alone. There are probably millions of people who have the same fears that you do. Then the next step is to face your fear by exposing yourself to it. And I realize that this is the hardest step. But if you do it, just a little at a time, then maybe one day you can conquer your fears.
As for myself, I’m hoping that some day I can ride the ferris wheel again without being afraid. It would be so nice to sit in one of those ferris wheel cars with one of my children or my husband and enjoy myself as it goes up and down. And then when it stops at the top, I can look out over the fair grounds and think: “Wow! I did it. I’m not afraid anymore. Isn’t life grand?”