Anxiety, the fear of life

By Julia Nielsen

So often, we look upon ourselves as a person who can’t succeed, a person who doesn’t have the guts to make anything of themselves. Because of that unfair judgment we make, we miss all the success that life has to offer. As a person who felt that way, I tended to look at things with the glass half-empty instead of half-full.

My whole life I was afraid of everything, literally. I was afraid of my classmates at school, afraid of thunder, lightning and anything that jumped in the night. I was a walking paranoid freak! Of course, my parent’s tried to make me see that there was nothing to be afraid of, but nothing or nobody was going to tell me otherwise! Growing up my mother told me I was quiet, shy. Yet, she didn’t know the half of it. I wasn’t shy, I was petrified! I conjured up in my head, people staring at me in the grocery store, a restaurant, anywhere. I imagined them judging me from head to toe. I wasn’t pretty enough, tall enough, good enough. When I grew up and finally received answers to my unwavering questions about the fear I possessed, I realized I was not the only one!

In fact, over twenty million people have anxiety over anything from public speaking, to a fear of driving in traffic. The important thing is that we first, acknowledge our fear, second, understand it and finally, accept it.

Coming to grips that I had an anxiety disorder was nothing short of a relief. The heart pounding, the sweaty palms, the rising blood pressure, the undeniable fear that something was seriously wrong finally had a name. On the other hand, anxiety meant you were mentally ill. It was as if I had cancer. Something horrible, taboo. The word “anxiety” made me think of a crazy person, stalking lost loved ones, madly running through the streets, completely out of their mind! Little did I know anxiety was just a word for “stress.” However, not just any stress, a normal reaction to the everyday challenges people meet, but anxiety, when you can’t identify or specify what it is your anxious of therefore, you don’t know how to react to it appropriately. When I came to that realization, only then, could I accept it and do something about it.

Now, is it no wonder that people who have anxiety, shriek from the thought of being in the spotlight? Stress causes reaction, reaction causes stress and so the inevitable cycle begins. When we are fearful, all rational, thought goes out the window. Something as simple as flying develops into avoiding everything that has to do with it. Fear of success turns into fear of challenges, goals and life.

However, I am here to say, anxiety doesn’t have to rule your life. You can be successful in your marriage, your job, and your life. All it takes is determination, self-belief and faith in God.

Editor’s note: Atheists can benefit just as much from determination as can those who believe in God.

Writer Julia Nielsen is an avid reader and writer who just completed a first novel entitled “One Step at a Time” to be published in the fall of 2000. She is a full time mother of three and along with her husband, raises them in the hot, sultry southwestern U.S.A.. She has been published on Themestream, The Literary Review, Momwriters, Writeforcash, and now in the-vu.

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