It is not easy, but if done step-by-step most people can learn to deal with anxieties and fears — even overcome them.
Dr Suma Chand, a clinical psychologist who helps people with phobias, says:
“The most reassuring thing I can say to anyone about fear is this: All emotions change.Fear and anxiety are emotions that can trap you, says Dr Chand:
You will never stay in a panicky state for the rest of your life.
Persevere, and the fear will dissolve.”
“The more you feed it, the stronger it grows.One of Dr Chand’s patients had exactly this experience:
Fear traps people.
Fear puts you in a box.
Your world gets smaller and smaller.
After a while, you’re avoiding the discomfort of the fear itself, rather than the thing you fear.
When you avoid the things you fear you feel safe and comfortable and you don’t want to do anything that will shake this safe cocoon of comfort.
However you pay a heavy price – your freedom to live your life like the way you really want to live.”
“I saw an elderly lady who had a fall and broke her hip.Dr Chand describes when to address fears:
It was very traumatic for her.
After she recovered, she didn’t want this experience to repeat itself.
She became very cautious and avoided walking anywhere where there was a possibility for falling.
Although the fear had initially translated into rational attempts to exercise caution it turned into avoidance as she went overboard with being cautious.
The avoidance made her feel safe but caused her fear to grow.
She stopped going to the store, the mall and to yoga, all of which she had enjoyed.
Her social interactions became restricted as she began to stay home more, and avoided her favorite activities, because she was overly fearful about falling.
She began to feel low and hopeless as she saw her isolated, limited existence stretch ahead of her.
While the treatment is to face the fear, it is done in a manner that does not overwhelm the patient.
The graded approach made this patient feel less overwhelmed and also more willing to face her fear.
Once she began to attain success in facing her fear and recognized that what she feared was not happening, it was like a switch was turned on, and she went faster.
Soon, she was fine and back to her old activities again.”
“The time to address a fear is when you find that it is causing you a lot of distress and it is affecting your life in a significantly negative way.Social phobias are extremely common and people experiencing it often feel very anxious about all kinds of social situations.
For example, many people fear snakes, which of course can be dangerous.
But they are not preoccupied with this fear and they don’t find that it is impairing their lives very much.
On the other hand, some people fear cats, which are unlikely to cause much harm.
They may find themselves regularly panicked by visits to friends’ homes if they have cats and so begin avoiding such situations.”