Kick fear in the balls.

“Feel the fear and do it anyway” – one of the most pointless phrases to say to someone dealing with anxiety, right? Well, I’m not so sure.

I’ve been told this many times before and have always pushed back against it. After all, feeling the fear is what causes us intense anxiety in the first place; fear of rejection or ridicule, fear something bad will happen, fear of a particular illness. We all deal with fears on a regular basis and it’s those very fears that cripple us, so whats the point in spouting “feel the fear and do it anyway” because obviously we can’t, it’s just too hard!

Well I thought so too to be honest, until recently. I’d decided 2018 was going to be my year, and not in a cheesy “New year new me!” way either before you say anything. Instead, it’s my opportunity to make life choices that suit me, and will allow me to become stronger, happier and an all round better person in general, which if I’m honest is tough because I’m already pretty spot on… 🙂

Since I made that decision, my approach has tied in to the therapy I had and the tools in which I’ve recently been taught – accepting anxiety for what it is and focusing on what you value to give you a better quality of life. So in theory, anxiety will be there, but instead of fighting it, we take it with us, and carry out challenges/tasks that we enjoy in order to ensure we’re happy and living life in a positive way.

Or in other words, feeling the fear and doing it anyway! Weird eh?

This all sounds rosey, but it certainly isn’t easy. There are days when going out for breakfast is a right faff, and I’m spending before, during and after trying not to think about whether I might throw up if I eat a sausage sandwich, or legging it out of a hospital recovery room because my legs turn to jelly and I’m convinced I’m going to hit the deck. And yes, this happened. What a laugh that was.

That said though, I believe in 3 things to manage anxiety and live a relatively ‘normal’ life: Exposure, consistency and self care. If you expose yourself to the things you find hard, while remaining consistent in doing so but give yourself the chance to rest and develop, anxiety can’t win. It might fight back, and fight back hard, but keep going, keep pushing and stay consistent.

Last week I quit my very secure and comfortable job to enter a world of self employment and I was terrified, but I knew that it was something I needed to do in order to benefit my mental health, so that’s exactly what I did. 7 days on, I feel good, I’m feeling strong and I have goals I can stick to.

So, if you’re struggling at the moment with whatever issues anxiety is throwing at you, make a plan of exposure, be consistent, give yourself the time to develop, and of course:

Feel the fear, and do it anyway.

12 Comments

  1. Well done for getting out the rat race mate! That’s one of the best and most difficult things anyone can do to fight their fear. I think facing your fear is vital – you cannot overcome anxiety otherwise.

    The fact is, anxiety is all in our heads and most fears (and anxiety IS a type of fear basically) are irrational. The only type of fear which is rational is when we fear in the present moment e.g. someone tries to attack us or we walk through a dangerous place. Other than then, all fear is about the future or based on the past, so it’s wasted energy as we aren’t in any danger.

    So the more we face our fear, the more we realise the fear is irrational – we aren’t gonna come to any harm and the worst that can happen is never as bad as we imagine.

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    1. Exactly, I completely agree! Hopefully that’s what comes across in my post. Fear doesn’t make us stop doing things, we choose to stop doing things. We just have to keep going. Thank you for reading!

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  2. Oh bugger … I think you’re right. I was hoping for a quick fix with no pain and you’ve not given me that. What you have given me is the realistic approach. The reality. That being, just crack on and deal with it, recover, and do it again. That old saying if you fall off your horse the best remedy is to jump back on again. Have a bit of pain for the long term gain. Annoyingly you’re absolutely right. Thank you for the post … I think you’ve just given me a bit of a rocket and frankly, it was needed. 🙂🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha what a great comment. To be honest, I’ve spent a long time looking for a quick fix and I’m yet to find one. For me, it’s about planning, and consistency. Get yourself out there and push. The key thing is to enjoy it, because that makes the pain of anxiety worth it for something you value and enjoy. You can do it 🙂

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  3. I sort of agree, but I sort of disagree! Sitting on the fence as usual 🙂

    The reason why I kinda disagree is that, often, people with anxiety DO put themselves into situations that are frightening. They do ‘fight the fear and do it anyway’, because they have to, to live. For example, I have social anxiety and the idea of pubs, clubs, busy places, supermarkets etc are all very stressful for me. But I *have* to go to the supermarket. I *have* to go to busy places. I have been in pubs and clubs and other places, even when I’m at my most stressed and anxious. I’ve ‘fought the fear and done it anyway’. Sometimes I use coping strategies, or sometimes I have a panic attack, or sometimes I disassociate (if that’s the word). But the fear doesn’t get any less!

    I also once did a presentation in front of 50+ people, was terrified, but did it anyway. Afterwards, I thought “I’m never doing that again”. I don’t know why! I don’t seem to be getting any better from ‘fighting the fear’.

    But I think your points about consistency and self care are key. If I were consistent with the things I fear, and was more caring with myself, maybe I’d be better. Instead of diving in at the deep end, maybe I need to build up more slowly so that the anxiety lessens each time and I get more comfortable in those situations…

    I hope that makes sense!! Sorry for the ramble.

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    1. It does make sense and I totally see where you’re coming from. I guess people are different, but at least by feeling the fear and doing t anyway is still giving you *some* normality, even if it is still tough.

      Keep fighting the good fight

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I really appreciated reading your stance on this quote. Normally it is one of those things that makes me wanna ball up and say I am doing it anyway, I got up today so that’s fighting, right? I think you are right though having a plan and being consistent is key, and consistency is certainly where I fail hahaha. Planning is no problem I love to plan and plan and plan all day but when it comes to execution that’s when the anxiety kicks into high gear. But reading how at least so far things are working in your favor gives me hope, so thank you for that!

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