Discerning What is Real and What is Fake?
When I was young I saw the old black and white film “Psycho” by Alfred Hitchcock. I have no idea to this day how my mom let me watch it as an eight year old…. I guess I can blame her in another post. If you know anything about Alfred Hitchcock films then you know they are always suspenseful. In this case it is about a man who owns a motel and murders multiple people – one of these murders occurs while they are showering in the motel.
The night after watching this creepy, old film I was convinced there was a murderer in my home! I couldn’t sleep. I knew there couldn’t be one, but I was convinced there was one at the same time. I would get up check my closet, look under my bed and then look in my parents room to make sure they weren’t missing. Once I hadn’t found anyone or seen anything out of the ordinary I would attempt to go back to bed. But I couldn’t get the thought out of my head that someone was in my home! So I would re-check everything again! This movie has scarred my life. In fact, there are some days when I still get in the shower and I can’t close my eyes to wash my hair because I think that there may be some creepy dude in my bathroom with a knife waiting to stab me.
I would normally feel awkward telling you this story, but the thing is I know these fears are common. Probably while I have been telling you this story you have been thinking of a scary movie that you have seen and the irrational fears you got from watching it. I know my brother thought the girl from “The Ring” was going to crawl out of the TV and kill him. My mom couldn’t go to bed alone after we watched “I am Legend” because she thought zombies would be in her dark room.
So what does this have to do with anxiety? It’s simple. Those who have anxiety have this same fear but in a general sense. Like any normal person, things that seem so silly become so real in their anxious mind. Like a scary movie, deep down they know it is fake or irrational, but convincing themselves of that seems nearly impossible. The words “what if” keep taunting their mind.
So how do you get over anxiety or the fear of anxiety? Let me tell you that giving in is the last thing you want to do. If you have a fear of driving a particular section of highway and you choose to take a longer route instead of driving that portion then you will never overcome your fear. It will actually only escalate your fear. You debilitate yourself. You place a cap on your capabilities because you automatically and always assume the worst in any scenario. The key to overcoming fears and anxieties is through facing that fear. Exposure to the fear.