Monday, 4 January 2016

Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

I have decided to update this blog weekly, after neglecting it somewhat in recent months/years.  I think it is important to keep trying to spread the word about emotional distress - to avoid the disease perspective, to encourage people to believe in their chances of recovery from various symptoms, to emphasise the point that drugs are not essential to this process.  I just know I am not unique as a person who has suffered several severe breakdowns and yet gone on to live a full life.  It will never cease to bother me that more people are not aware of their potential for recovery.  Well, actually it will cease to bother me - when the situation is remedied.

Anyway, to aid my chances of success in blogging every week and to simplify matters, I am going to post the same blog here as on the Huffington Post.  I have not made the most of the opportunity I was given on that paper, just over a year ago and I have resolved to do so from now on.  Many people dream of blogging for the Huff - I was offered the chance on a plate and perhaps failed to appreciate it sufficiently.

Onwards and upwards. 

By the way, this blog wont be up on the Huff until later tonight or tomorrow, because I have to find a picture to accompany it first.  I need to get on with my latest Work in Progress now, because novels don't get on and write themselves, as I have discovered to my cost...

 So, you saw it here first...  Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway

I am on a constant drive to beat my neuroses.  Sometimes it feels a bit like that game where you hit the crocodiles or frogs or whatever with a hammer – you bash one down then another pops up in a different place, seemingly faster and faster…  Funnily enough I started to write this blog one day last week and then the following day Deborah Ross, one of my favourite columnists in The Times, used the same analogy in that paper and had the correct name for the game too – Whack a Mole. 

So then I was going to edit that bit out of this column because I didn’t want anyone to think I was copying her.  Then I decided that in fact I should go ahead, because I thought of it before she wrote her column and anyway, what does it matter…  You see what I mean?  I am neurotic.  I think about and analyse far too many things, take responsibility for all of it and then anguish unnecessarily. 

Anyway, I am going to keep fighting my neuroses.  Sometimes this is best done by ignoring them (although note that this is pretty hard if, like me, you are in the habit of writing about your various issues and then publishing the said writing).  Some of my difficulties I have to face head on.  I am not sure why, I just feel compelled to.  For example, many people (women especially) have or develop a fear of driving and they, probably sensibly, just take avoidance action – after all, nobody has to get behind the wheel of a car. 

I like driving around town and am grateful to have the use of a car, but I have always been fearful of driving on motorways.  I don’t really need to do any motorway driving these days but every so often I make myself do some anyway, just to prove that I still can.  Even if I am shaking and sweating before the journey (and I always am) I find that the next time is immeasurably easier (as long as I don’t leave it too long between trips). 

I won’t list any of my other ‘problems’ just now.  I have done so elsewhere, at length.  I do want to share the good news though, for anyone who is still suffering from various worries, phobias, neuroses or however you want to term them.  As you get older, all sorts of things become easier – from socialising (you tend not to care so much about what other people think of you) to working (you tend not to care so much about what other people think of you) to battling your various fears (you tend not to care so much…etc). 

Basically as you get older, you realise that you are not the only person in the world who worries about things.  Everyone is riddled with insecurities, they just manifest them in different ways, or if they are really lucky, they have learned to overcome their difficulties (I recently re-read M Scott Peck’s The Road Less Travelled and it was brilliant on this subject).

So, my advice is, just get on with life.  Enjoy it.  Tackle things, or choose not to.  Live.  Don’t be shackled by fear.  In fact, feel the fear and do it anyway.  And guess what - I stole the title for this article from the book of the same name by Susan Jeffers.  But – you know – who cares?!   

Happy New Year to everyone by the way.  I hope it brings you all much success and happiness. 

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