I’m not afraid of snakes, spiders or bees. I’m not afraid of death. I’m just afraid of everything else.

Today, I was afraid to walk down my driveway because I saw a Thing that looked like a cat but wouldn’t move when I honked my horn at it. I’m terrified of possums and  raccoons and squirrels, all of which inhabit my urban neighborhood. (Signs of the apocalypse, obviously.)

I’m so afraid of falling that I dread taking a walk. I fell last week and skinned my knees but it was traumatizing to hit the pavement. After breaking my pelvis and hip by falling, I feel deeply unsafe about my body. Why don’t other people fall and break?

I’m afraid of hospitals, now that I know what happens there. I’m afraid of lice, rodents, thunder, large knives, and medical disorders like fistulas and prolapse of the uterus or bladder.

I hate being so fearful. Many of these fears are new ones, and I’m not  including the universal ones like clowns and cancer. It’s strange to be vulnerable to so many fears at a time when I contemplate every tall structure with the question of whether it’s high enough for jumping, should I choose to depart.

Fears or diagnoses, anyone?

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30 Responses to Fear

  1. Eelainee says:

    You should try “What About Bob ?” – 1991 – dir : Frank Oz – with Bill murray and Richard Dreyfus, both at their best (free on Pirate Bay, there’s one torrent with 49 seeders, so it should download quite quickly :-).

    I know all the lines by heart, I saw it first when I started my long way of the psychic-cross, probably from my birth, but clearly from 1992 until 2006 (15 years in the toilets).

    I still enjoy those movies I know by heart, even if they’re related with the fears you are talking about. Probably because I’m out of it know.

    I’ve had all the problems that everyone else has. I thought at first that I was a monster and that I had to hide my abnormality, which turned my life into true hell.

    Years later, I started to interest myself to what the others were living and discovered to my great surprise that a lot of people had the same problems.

    And now – believe me -, I’ve found out that every-little-human-body has the same problems that you have, most still suffers from them, hiding their “abnormality” like mad and living in hell, some let it show, and some have overcome the situation.

    I must have eaten a million pills, talked a million useless words with psychoanalysts, psychologists, psychiatrists with no effect whatsoever on my misery. Indeed, it increased my misery far beyond imagination.

    Until a cousin who was 52 and a doctor, died of an advanced and generalized cancer, with no treatement at all, 18 days after her father, who died of old age and alzheimer. I knew her not too well, because we have these false relations in my family, full of intentions of love that turn to shit in reality. Looks good, feels bad. When she died, it felt bad and looked bad : that cured me all of a sudden.

    We had been “invited” to the funeral of my uncle, and we traveled from France to Spain. When they told us that she was dead too, she was already buried ! And then in that sick way of my family, they told me that the family wasn’t there except her mother and brother, but that the village where her parents had a house and where she was a complete stranger, ALL the village had come to her funeral.

    I’ve had too many of these stories to be mystified and manipulated again, and I’ve had wanted too much to find happiness to torture myself anymore. Most of all, I was right behind my cousin in the line of the kids and kidults that mysteriously die with their parents. I was next. My death was in front of me and the people who were supposed to love me were actually pushing me.

    I had a tremendous fight with my father and told him that I was not going to follow him in his tomb, that his libertarian talk was bullshit and that me and my sister have lived with thim and my mother under a dictatorship, but that was over, and I wanted my tomb, my hole just for me, myself and I, only when my time comes. I wouldn’t not share death and would live as long and as happy as I could. So long for puritanism in disguise.

    Same with my mother, but it’s too long.

    Your fears and pains are real attacks from society and family and yourself, we become our executioners. Parents are not a second authority after society, there’s only one authority, the one that organizes life, call it God, Nature, Santa Claus, whatever. Life and death are stupid concepts, life is a whole with death, it is ordered and it’s plain to see that it recycles, separates and reunites and recombines matter, and if it does it with matter why on earth would it waste spirit, when matter doesn’t exist without it ? When I turned my back to everything and everyone, still there was plenty : the sky, sun, clouds, mineral, vegetal and animal life, beauty I didn’t see anymore for years !, and it felt good. And it’s so good to feel good, how could I miss that ? I’m the same and different, and so are people : they are fed up just like me of being miserable, they are bored with their sadness, the duty of being sad. Sadness is the cement of civilization, it began with the need, quickly turned to sadness and now it’s sheer stupidity. Where is our individual will, do we have any ?

    You must change sides and go on yours, fight back against these attacks, refuse them, seat on it, dammit ! Everything good you do for yourself is good for everyone else, when we’re in pain we hurt around.

    I talk too much, because I’d like to say with a few words the magic formula that saved me, but I can’t, it’s always too long, just like my way of cross. What a waste of time, I wish nobody waste his youth as I did.

    What can we do to stop that ?

    You are smart, you understand : you’re not far from the exit.

    Thanks for all.


  2. Don’t jump.

  3. peacebwithu says:

    I have this fear that I am going to lose my children’s love to their awful father who I divorced 8 years ago after 20 plus years of marriage ( I know what took me so long) I hate the fact that they love him after all he put us through. Every time they are with him I can barely function. Wish I could figure out what the hell is wrong with me. I am very close with my adult children so why the fear?

    ps. Don’t jump your time will come soon enough and Max will be waiting I promise.

  4. Karina says:

    Calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3 may strengthen your bones.

    Maybe you should get a bad ass antique walking stick- a swagger stick or a shelalie which was initially an Irish weapon, but when banned by the English evolved into a discreet cane but can still be used for the beat down in a pinch. But it could provide you with balance, stability, style (which you don’t need because you obviously have) and additional swagger. A nice cape might compliment it nicely.

    Courage and Strength are the only ways I know to fight fear. You still feel the fear, but you can’t be craven. When you face Fear head on sometimes you can get the upper hand. Instead of It having You in it’s clutches. Fear is like a cancer, it consumes you and then the terror mongers win. I strongly suspect that Fear weakens the immune system.

    I’m scared now I’m living in a Police State, now that America has become the Russia I was warned about my entire cold war childhood. And it’s not “because I have something to hide” or “because I’m up to no good” it’s because my Constitutional Rights, my freedom and my privacy are being eroded to the point of non existence. And because the people around me are more concerned with some petty pop star’s sex change than with the NSA’s surveillance drones that were released to spy on civilians this May or than with the shady Bilderberg groups illegal secret meetings with our public officials, which are being conducted right now.

    I used to be terrified of bees. I’d run, screaming and flailing my arms around. Until I got my bee tattoo. Then the fear dissolved. It kind of cured me. Now I can let a bee ride around on my hair and I’m fine.

    So I was searching for a tattoo image to give me strength and courage, but the only thing I could find was a Pennsylvania Dutch hex sign double headed eagle, which looked more like a double headed pigeon really. Tyrolean. Cutesy. Think: tulips, daisies and blue birds. Think of the embroidery on the St. Pauli Girl’s bodice. I’m not sure I’m o.k. with having the German Imperial Insignia tattooed on me, and just because you get at tattoo, does it necessarily impart those qualities to the wearer?

    Well I hope you don’t do it – jump that is, but I don’t know how to make someone want to live. I stick around for the little things. The smell of coffee. A dog’s smile. And just the curiosity to see what’s gonna happen next.


  5. Debbie says:

    I used to have all sorts or irrational fears too and I’d think about horrible stuff POSSIBLY happening all the time. I thought I was crazy but how do you go to a doctor and say I have thoughts of the freeway overpass collapsing on my car? Over time with the help of many things, therapy, God, medications, reading all kinds of books – self help, Eastern philosophies, EVERYTHING, I came to realize, everyone is a little bit fucked up. Some more than others, etc. For me, what really helped and worked was using my own mind to say STOP whenever I had a ridiculous fear or thought. I also LOVE LOVE LOVE Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now and A New Earth and anything by Wayne Dyer. Many of these books are like bibles to me. I refer to them all the time. I am much happier today but it has been a life long struggle to learn to let go of people who are toxic, etc. It is a practice you must do every day. BUT IT IS HARD. Some days are good, some days are bad. I’m on my second layoff, I’m 55 and trying to get a job. Plenty to worry about but I’d go crazy if I projected six months from now when the unemployment runs out. I TRY TO BE PRESENT and not project into the future or live in the past. But again, it can be difficult.



  6. red-handed says:

    Not to sound too much like a character from Dune here, but fear is the mind-killer. I think some answers might go all the back to the Stoics. I’m serious. Have you tried Marcus Aurelius?

  7. Sandra says:

    Buhhhhhh I love that picture. I have a ball python named Babygirl.

    I don’t fear much, which is why I thought that jumping out a second story window last summer was a completely appropriate alternative to using the door. Goodbye, high heels, and PS: I’m not Wolverine.

    I’m made nervous by the bacteria associated with raw meat. I don’t go so far as to scrub a chicken prior to cooking with hot water and soap like my mother, but you should see how many times I wash my hands while prepping.

  8. Deni says:

    Find a purpose. Write a book, start a non-profit, create Occupy Lincoln, take a class, learn to play the piano, more life less fear. When you’re doing something purposeful in the now, fear disappears. Maybe, even a part time job, or volunteer reading to kids, something, anything?????
    When we were kids we used to say that being locked alone with your thoughts was a form of torture.
    Freeing your fears in this fourm is good.
    Everyone has fears.
    “We have nothing to fear but fear itself.” Wise words. Now we must learn how to do this. Let me know if you find out how.
    Peace out Sister Wolf.

  9. dexter vandango says:

    (..my old joke..)

    “My psychiatrist is so good he once cured a guy of the fear of walking face-first into a rotating airplane propeller.”

    (..sometimes fear is our friend..)

  10. cantsay says:

    I feel the same. I want to just close my eyes and never awake again. I want to cease to exist. To just vanish. To trade my life with someone who is dying but really wants to live. True, my day will come but not soon enough for me.

    I have no means of talking to someone or popping any pills. Can’t find meaning in anything…pointless in dragging on.

  11. Mo in KCMO says:

    Sis: Take refuge in the thought that jumping is always a legit alternative. So is suffering, hanging in there, wondering/wandering, finding new meaning, just existing, co-existing, and diving into life with a new vengeance. Fear can be the true force for evolution. So many options! Plenty of time. Take refuge in the fact that your readers are intelligent, wise (bordering on profound), supportive, simple, and very funny. Love, Mo

  12. ali says:

    squirrels and birds clawing my face off. my face getting infected by some disease hosted by either a squirrel or bird. driving cars…but not being hit by one as a pedestrian. armpits. my own worthlessness.

    men. mostly men.

  13. Rosie says:

    My ex and I separated recently. He became verbally and emotionally abusive, and stalker-ish. He threatened suicide and said getting back together would make him change his mind (referring him to help, contacting his family and refusing to give in made a a “fucking stubborn, fucking selfish bitch”.) He showed up randomly one night and went from appearing civil and calm, to the same old tricks and saying things like, “maybe I should have raped you, maybe I should have been abusive”, and, “I wish we had a child so you we would always be tied together.” Then last weekend, he showed up and I wouldn’t let him in and told him to leave. So he continually pounded on the door, and tried to open all 3 doors to the house (including back door.) So I called the police on him. Good thing too – he continued doing it for almost an hour. I hid upstairs, shaking and terrified.

    It took me about 10 or 15 minutes to get the courage to call the police. But I thought, “fuck you – after all the years I gave you and all the love, I deserve respect even if it’s over. I don’t deserve to live in fear. I’m going to stand my ground, and if it means calling the cops, at least then he’ll take me seriously.” So far, he hasn’t bothered me again – that was seven days ago. I felt a lot better since talking to the police. But I’m still kind of scared – I have dreams he is in the house. Or I hear a car like his and I freeze.

  14. Sister Wolf says:

    Rosie – Now I’m afraid of your ex, too. Get a baseball bat or some pepper spray. You also have grounds for a restraining order, not that all people abide by restraining orders. What a fucking fucker.

  15. David Duff says:

    I’m afraid of that fat, creepy girl in the photo!

    I’m also afraid; very, very afraid; of that moron in the White House – no, no, not ‘mormon’, ‘moron’ – do pay attention!

  16. Sister Wolf says:

    peacebwithu – Don’t worry, they will always love you and nothing he does can change that. It’s good for them to love him, even though he’s a fucker. It’s so painful to hate your father – better to love him, you know?

    cantsay – You can talk here and people will offer support! Try to stick around. Pills help. I wish I had a magic wand to change things for you. xo

    red-handed – I will try him and get back to you.

    David – And I am fucking TERRIFIED of that stupid Mormon!

  17. Sister Wolf says:

    Sandra – I need to cultivate my fear of meat and chicken.

    ali – Wow, the face thing is a good one. Is it related to “1984?” As for men, pfft, nothing to fear. They’re big babies, most of them.

  18. Cricket9 says:

    I’m terrified of the stupid Mormon too; of what our own Canadian government is doing to our country, and of what’s happening with the world in general. Other than that, I try to nurture a totally irrational belief that “nothing bad will ever happen to me”. Doesn’t always work. I’ve lost my job, decided to sell my house and move to a better job market, so to speak. One day I had a really paralyzing fear attack along the lines “I’ll never find a job again, nobody will buy the house, I’ll run out of money and end up on the street with two cats in tow”. I was never so afraid in my entire life…afraid of being so afraid, if it makes any sense. The house is sold, still no job, moving in 17 days.

  19. Cricket9 says:

    By the way, the snake girl isn’t fat.

  20. Marky says:

    I’m afraid of 67% of the people who live in Arizona.

  21. Cristine says:

    I have fallen hard, from sliding off the sides of cliffs & horses to the dozens of dog/beach/body slams with barely a scratch. 2 years ago my right hip just happily crumbled on it’s own & I had to live with it broken for almost a year dragging my leg behind me like a recalcitrant puppy until my “team” of doctors (remember when we used to have only one GP, an OB/Gyn & a dentist?) agreed that the pain took precedence over the serious risk surgery posed for me. I came through the surgery without incident except for a crumbling right knee that also has to be replaced.
    So now I am afraid of falling.
    If I do fall, I have the great humiliation of having to have someone help me up.
    I am deeply afraid of losing those that I love.
    I’m not afraid of the great pain (physical) I live with & sometimes even embrace it.
    I am afraid of complacency & procrastination & that I can no longer spell without spellcheck & that my iPhone is worlds smarter than I’ll ever be.
    But I have a man & a dog that I love beyond reason & as long as I can fall asleep & wake up with them I can live with the pain & fear & uncertainty.

  22. Kellie says:

    I went through a falling peiod. Once you fall, it becomes a fear.

    I had never fallen and broken my ankle. Then I did, and discovered you dont fall THEN break your ankle. You break your ankle and then fall because it hurts so badly that you cant even stand it or up.

    Then it healed, and was better. So then I sprained/twisted it in glorious falling fashion.
    Then, I sprained the ankle on the other side. You dont want to appear to favor one leg over the other.

    And so I have flat shoes I feel safer in, although I manage to stumble over myself in those.

    And the rows of fabulous shoes gather dust, while I work out if it is mme or them that is casuing my issue with uprightness.
    And if it matters.

  23. Bevitron says:

    I’m scared of the usual shit, but mostly of ever being a stranger in my own head. I’m so afraid of that, that I think I cling to my fears, reasonable and irrational, because they give me a kind of comfort. “Yep, I’m still here, still in this familiar place where all the scary shit is, having my usual nightmares.” I worry about necrotizing fasciitis and where do those awful bacteria hang out and why aren’t more people losing legs and hands to that stuff every day, and how the rareness of it makes it even MORE scary and obsessible. Let’s see… and lethal midline granuloma (if you don’t know what that is, don’t look it up, I’m warning you) and other hideous shit that sounds so unbelievably horrible you’d think a bunch of teenage boys made it up to outdo each other. Then I back off and worry about how I could let my brain just sit and idle like that, running out all its gas on such pointless exercises. That’s the kind of crap I do when I’m depressed, and I’m for sure very depressed these days.

    Then, pat and simplistic as it sounds, I listen to something (yesterday it was the Dvorak cello concerto; Rostropovich version – bless YouTube’s heart), or sing along to something as ridiculous & annoying as Gilbert & Sullivan (anything), or something as great as Al Green, whatever. It changes my brain chemistry or something like that, for a little while.

    I don’t know Sister Wolf, I still think your grief is following some kind of logical progression, and it definitely doesn’t have to end badly. You’re here, doing this, with people responding to you, and I know that touches you, so you’re full of hope even if you don’t see it often. You enrich lots of lives and that’s no small thing. Just keep coming back, please.

  24. Juri says:

    When I was five years old, or probably younger, I was afraid of the weather forecast in our black and white television. Whenever it was on I would hide myself behind an armchair and cry in horror. My parents found it hilarious. I think it was the vocabulary that freaked me out.

    I don’t think any fears I’ve had later in my life have gotten anywhere close to that feeling.

  25. Andra says:

    Well, I have taken to falling off chairs a lot in the past year or so. I can fall over in my garden quite easily and remember, I managed to fall over in a gym a couple of months ago, while playing with 2 year old children, and broke my shoulder.
    Falling over is so easy.
    Like falling off a log or something, although I haven’t tried that yet.
    And I ain’t scared of nuthin’!

  26. Rosie says:

    Thank you for the tips, sister. The cops have warned him that I have grounds for an AVO. Hopefully that’s enough, and I will not hesitate in taking one out if he does anything else.

    “Pepper spray” – hahaha, I think that’s illegal in Oz.

  27. Debra says:

    Fear should have been my middle name. When I was 23 I fell down a very long flight of stairs. I had a cup in one hand and my bag in another. I luckily fell on my stomach, put my arms out in front of me and slid down, bump, bump, bump, bump. I was working at G.E. at the time and I went to the Company Dr. I said I was ok, but ended up with contusions all over my body. In addition, I was wearing a wrap dress and when I slipped, my friend screamed, it drew a crowd and when I landed at the bottom of the stairs my dress was wide open. If it didn’t hurt so much and wasn’t so embarrassed I would have laughed.
    When I was 24, I was driving on the freeway and all of a sudden I had a panic attack. Of course I didn’t know it was a panic attack, I just knew I needed to get off the freeway right now. It was 4 years before a friend of mine told me about a book by Dr. Claire Weeks called Peace from nervous suffering. I found out I was an agoraphobic(now called panic disorder), by then I was not working, not driving and almost housebound. I thought I was going crazy and I couldn’t see a way out of it. It took 13 years and a lot of practicing, desensitizing and an amazing Husband to help me through it. Now I would have taken an SSRI and probably would have got better a lot sooner. I still have my moments, I just had a fistula(very small), but scary and I have been unemployed for 4 years.
    I have fallen a number of times while walking for exercise by not paying attention to what is going on in front of me.
    The funny thing is, I really believe I’m a strong person, a fucked up one, but a strong one.
    Thanks Sister for opening yourself up for us everyday.

  28. Just A Girl says:

    I have diagnosed OCD and anxiety disorder. My OCD is predominantly obsessive thoughts. I’m basically afraid of EVERYTHING! lol I used to be much worse, but medication does wonders! My biggest fears are bridges, thunderstorms (thunder more than lightning), dying, getting in a horrific car accident, being in tall buildings, high floors in hotels.

    Oddly, the older I get, or maybe it really is the medication doing all the magic, the less I fear all those things. I force myself to drive over bridges, will stay in upper floor hotel rooms if necessary (even if I do have a anic attack before I talk myself down and fall asleep), and I drive without too much worry.

    Oh yeah, I am afraid of fear, too. Weird.

  29. Erika says:

    Kellie, the same thing happened to me . Tripped in my platforms, then again so now I wear flats only. Not just flats but super comfortable shoes. My shoes are too collecting dust and I have been sad but heels look kinda dumb to me now and I comfort myself saying I am way ahead of the curve and giant dumb platforms are passé while also missing my giant dumb platforms I haven’t worn in almost a year.

    Eelainee, what you said is true and beautiful and you learned so much from your pains. Also I have some thoughts about parent child connections that go deeper than what we see on the surface or tap into consciously. Good for you recognizing this and so wanting to change it.

    I’m afraid of not sleeping properly because of dreams, nightmares…this has been ongoing for me for years. It’s hard to sleep at night and have to hold a 9-5 job but I’m managing and I am lucky in some respects to jot have a regular office job ( it’s not great – but it’s not formal so there is some breadth) I am afraid of my hormones. Pms is getting worse with age and I imagine menopause could be horrifying.

    I guess hats all I have that’s tangible. I could go on with my fears of what hides under the bed or lurks out there but that list would be endless. Keep your head up. We are all afraid and you are not alone.

  30. Sprockets says:

    Fear is the rational response to the dangers of this world. Also, you’re old enough to know that things often don’t turn out all right. And of course gravity sucks. Try to not be afraid of your fear.

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