The only thing we have to fear…

Have you ever been afraid? Of course you have. It’s a natural and normal part of being a human, part of our genetic make-up.

Have you ever been so scared that you feel you cannot function normally? You know, that kind of fear that creates a terrible, churning void in your belly, that travels down your nerves causing trembling in your hands and knees? That pushes cold sweat through your pores and clouds your thoughts, shutting everything down to a basic ‘fight-or-flight’ choice, robbing you of your free will?


Dial that feeling back a notch and you have the way I feel every single day. Almost everything fills me with crippling fear. If I’m cooking a meal, I get terrified that the various components won’t be ready at the same time. If I walk down the street I am scared that everyone is looking at me, or that I am about to be attacked. Busy shopping centres reduce me to a quivering wreck, desperate to get out, get away.

But the fear is only the beginning. Fear turns to shame. I am ashamed that I should be getting so scared for no reason. It embarrasses me and makes me feel like a failure, unable to cope with everyday tasks. This makes me angry. So, the fear covers a boiling vat of barely controlled rage, ready to explode at the slightest provocation. Presumably this is an extension of the ‘Fight’ part of the ‘Fight-or-Flight’ response, pumping the body full of adrenaline, although I suppose it would also be helpful for ‘Flight’ too. Either way, it sucks.

I force myself to face it, trying to interact with people on a daily basis, to force the feelings of fear and anger away, but it doesn’t work. I lie in bed at night afraid of what will make me afraid tomorrow, afraid of the mistakes I made yesterday, afraid of the fear eating away at me. I fear the future. I fear the past. I even fear the present.

It never used to be like this. I used to have confidence. I used to be able to talk to just about anyone without being afraid that they would hate me (or, at least, not caring that much). I used to be able to go out and enjoy myself. Now I feel like I’m sucking the joy out of any room I walk in to like a massive life drain.

“Hey! Where did all the happy go?”

I know, in the underused rational part of my brain, that this is a symptom of the depression (at least, I hope it is), and I know that things will get better (at least, I hope they will), but it is getting so hard to live with this constant fear. I’m even scared to talk about it – seriously, the idea of people reading these words is making it unbelievably difficult to write them. You have no idea how many drafts and revisions I’ve had to work through. And that’s for a five- or six-hundred word article that a handful of people will ever see.

How do you think I feel about the rest of my life?

12 responses to “The only thing we have to fear…

  1. Oh my gosh. This strikes a real chord with me. And I’ve felt like a complete moron for jumping at every sneeze, or every time i’m asked to do anything. I’ve shouted at Matthew for dropping a cup because it frightened the life out of me. And I felt like a dick. I assumed my boss was going to sack me when he asked me to come get a coffee, and he was actually promoting me.

    This will not last forever. You don’t say how you’ve been sleeping, but I assume not well. Please go to your doctor. See about getting your medication adjusted.

  2. Lots of parallels, dude

    The paranoia of wondering how people regard you, especially strangers. It is why I have always hated pubs and general social environments. You could just call it shyness, but when being shy makes you depressed what is it then? Bizarrely I am finding having a dog really therapeutic for this kind of thing as I am forced to go out and the vast majority of fellow dog walkers are friendly and you have a readily-available topic of conversation as you respective canines check out each others particulars and then you play the untanlge-the-leads game.

  3. Yeah, I know what you mean. Every thing that does go wrong takes on epic proportions while everything that goes right ends up minimised. Plucking up the courage to do things is fucking exhausting when EVERYTHING feels like you’re being barked at to go ‘Over the top’.

    Better drug dose should help.

  4. You’re awesome. I’ve always thought so and I still think so, and I’m rubbish at lying, so you know it’s true.

    Even if you don’t think you’re awesome, I do. Which makes it so.

  5. Thank you for coming to my blog and commenting. I read this and am concerned for you. I care. I wish you well. I do not think- what a fool, but- how hurting this person is, how no-one deserves to hurt that way, and how may I help.

    By telling you what to do, of course. Seriously. Making a suggestion which you can consider and reject or follow, if necessary after trying it. This does not mean I will sort your problem, it just means that I have a go, and it might do a little good.

    I suggest meditation. Sit in silence and be aware of your body and your surroundings. Become aware of thoughts, and let them go.

  6. Reading this helped me understand myself a bit better, I am only young and I’m a affairs of what I think and feel a lot of the time. Sometime I think things I know I shouldn’t and wish I never had to see or talk to anyone ever again but I keep trying and I know how difficult it can get,
    You are an amazing guy trust me, I know you know who I am and i (we) miss you dearly

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