Melitta and I talked about the situation in the world and how destructive fear can be. She asked me to write about my experiences and my inner journey to liberate myself from fear and worries.
As a young woman I was suffering from severe depression. I was frightened day and night. Anxiety, agony and panic attacks had a strong hold on me during that time. My chest tightened, I couldn’t breathe and cried enough tears to fill up a bathtub. That was my first encounter with fear and its different faces.
After I recovered from depression, I read lots of psychological books, went to workshops about mental health, psychology, and communication. I wanted to understand what happened to me and the biggest motivator was the fear of fear. After almost relapsing years later, I found my way to the shamanic path and learned with the shamans’ knowledge, to put into practice all the theory I had learned from books and workshops in order to free myself and develop my personality. Now I want to share with you what I have learned about fear.
When I was in my darkest time I was also scared of heights. I could not cross a bridge without a panic attack. I am living in Bavaria, and we have big beautiful mountains. My friends did not know about my mental health problems at that time, and they invited me on a trip with the cable car to the peak of one of Bavaria’s popular mountains. I thought I was going to die and the trip felt like hell to me. It was embarrassing and my friends could not enjoy themselves either.
I talked with my psychotherapist about my experiences and she said something that I will never forget in my live, “Imagine, the cable car will have an accident and you will die. You have two options:
First, you shiver in fear, crumble down, bury your head and die.
Second, you enjoy the view, the sun, the blue skies, and the company of your friends and die.
The result is the same, but the feeling is different!”
I was not at all happy with her and her story, but she had a point and I still remember her.
On a timeline, fear is in the future. You are frightened by something that has not happened yet and maybe won’t ever happen. When you are full of fear and the feeling takes over your mind you are very vulnerable and you do things you will never do in a clear state of mind. That is what has happened in the world and has come to the surface over the last 4 years. People lose their humanity because of fear. People lose their lives because of fear. People lose themselves because of fear.
Do you know the fairy tale of Rumpelstiltskin? The little man asked the Queen to give him her child. Only when she guesses his name, will he not take the child. The Queen was full of fear to lose her child and did everything to find the little man’s name. Before the given deadline the Queen found out his name. Because she spoke out his name loudly, Rumpelstiltskin lost his power over the Queen and tore himself to pieces.
The same happened to me. The moment I confronted my fear and gave it a name, it lost its power.
Look fear dead in the eyes and say: “I can see you! I know who you are and why you are here!” In that moment, the feeling of anxiety subsides. Don’t look at fear as your enemy, look at it as a friend who helps you to acknowledge that you are human with flaws and weaknesses. At this particular moment when you are aware of your fear, when you can feel it emotionally and not let it hold you in its claws, then you will be able to transform the weakness into power, heal, and be free of the overbearing fear which makes you inhuman.