A New Chapter Begins

My life has been led by far too much fear.

If you had asked me ten years ago while I was still healthy, I would have been very sure that fear played little role in the direction life was taking.

I would have been wrong.

Over the last several months I have been thinking about fear's role in my life. Its not just the fear I felt every time I stepped out into the darkness at night alone the last eight years, but also the fear that has unknowingly held me back from jumping in and living life instead of life living me.

I see fear in my choice to stop following veterinary medicine after a negative experience while observing a surgery on a large dog in my 2nd year of college.

There was a great deal of hidden fear that caused me to be content with stoner friends who rarely did anything but sit around and have a good time.

I could have done this, but didn't.

In fact, an amazing amount of my life decisions have been chosen based on an unknown fear of failure. Much easier to set expectations of myself lower so that I can be the superstar I want to perceive instead of merely being average at something I put a lot of effort into.

I have done a lot of really great and brave things in life, but there was so much more I would have done had fear not gotten in my way. I wish I had known this years ago, before illness took away huge chunks of my ability to live and follow my dreams.

After becoming ill, my fear took on a whole new dimension as there was suddenly a tremendous amount of things to be afraid of. Overnight I had to become hyper vigilant of toxic exposures which could severely impact my quickly diminishing health.

<img alt="" src="http://a.imageshack.us/img688/1543/modernfearbyurlinesmalle.jpg" title="Modern Fear by Urline" class="alignleft" width="145" height="205" />

These could be found hiding in plain sight on any stranger I passed on the street, in any building I entered, any street I walked down, a shift in the breeze, a box in the mail, and many other places. Perfumes, fabric softener, car exhaust, fresh paint, solvents, pesticides... so many things and more to be wary of.

Suddenly everything I knew about being safe in the world was turned completely upside down and every where I turned was another dangerous situation that had to be avoided or minimized at all costs.

My world had become a battlefield in a hostile and foreign land.

Even at home I was not necessarily safe. Living in a tent with nylon walls does not offer much protection against anything. I found myself fearing mountain lions, bears, trees falling on our tent in a wind storm, heavy snow storms, power outages, people not respecting our privacy and strolling into camp at their leisure, shifts in wind bringing toxic fumes from neighbors into our tent, neighbor dogs rooting through our stuff, and raccoons doing the same. Worse yet was all of the above, but in the dark where I could not see it coming.

"My evil plan is working."

This fear had made me unable to leave the comfort of our lighted tent at night without Jeremy nearby, even for a simple trip to our 'facilities' because it meant being completely enclosed in the dark with nothing but my flashlight to see by. I used to go backpacking alone overnight and now I could not even tolerate 1 minute in the dark by myself without a panic attack overwhelming me.

Then a few months ago something began to change.

At first it changed so slowly I didn't even see a difference until last month. I was up at our refrigerator area (about 70 ft from the tent) and using my sinus medication. It takes about 20 minutes for the whole process and it was quickly getting dark. Oddly, this hardly bothered me at all. I stayed the whole time and then calmly walked back to the tent. First time in eight years I have been able to do anything like this.

Over the last few weeks I have even gotten to the point where I have wanted a little quiet "me time" some evenings. I walk up to the chair we have by the fridge, have a seat, and just relax for a while - after dark. Critters rustling around in the bushes, breeze making strange noises in the trees - none of it freaks me out anymore.

When I do get spooked a bit, it is a pretty simple matter to calm my mind and body back down to a place where I can continue to enjoy the time spent alone, in the dark with only my flashlight. I have actually turned it off a couple of times. Only briefly off, but I still had the courage to do it.

Almost exactly what it looks like 20ft away from our tent.

I am seeing this same shift away from fear in many aspects of my life and how I look at situations. Such as making a very important and empowering <a href="http://sundogtales.wordpress.com/2010/08/02/a-choice/">choice </a>to stop fighting my situation and working with it instead.

To fully explain what brought about this change would take at least one more article, very possibly more. In summary, I have been utilizing alternative mind/body healing practices for nearly a year, specifically EFT (Emotional Freedom Technique) and Reiki. It is these practices to which I attribute many of these massive changes.

I have not spoken of these things here in my blog because of my fear that at even merely mentioning I am finding healing in alternative means, it would damage my credibility and the degree my chronic illness is taken seriously.

Having one's integrity and mental soundness questioned goes hand in hand with a diagnosis of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. I was reticent to add to that by opening the door for further skepticism with alternative therapies. It appears that in writing this article, I am again seeing the same shift from a fear led life to one I lead on my own.

Too much of my life has been governed by fear. That chapter is now closing and it is time for me to write the next chapter in my own words.

<img alt="" src="http://a.imageshack.us/img651/7272/book90661.jpg" title="new chapter" class="aligncenter" width="350" height="325" />

Originally posted at: Sundog Tales


Thanks for this post, Lisa. It's heartening to read about how much change you are seeing in your outlook. I've been using EFT a lot this year too, and have been finding it helpful.
Not to worry: your writing this in no way diminishes your credibility, at least in my eyes.
Congratulations, Lisa,

Letting Go of Fear brings immense rewards & self improvement. I'm so pleased you've tapped into this Positive outlook on Life.

Sometimes it's fear of the unknown that REALLY takes us down - mentally & emotionally.
If we can sit down & rationally map out the exact cause of fear, we can make rational decisions to walk down the other path.

And sometimes, we don't even need to work out the exact cause of our fear, we just need to be brave & courageous enough to walk down the Path of Faith and Hope (for a positive future).
I spent the last night out in a tent in the yard... afraid of being outside a locked door at night, while I used to sleep outdoors all the time when I was a teenager. I actually thought of you guys and said to myself "Well, THEY sleep outdoors every night and nothing's happened to them that is scarier than what they face in the day!"

I was able to enjoy lying there in the dark and now I wonder why I haven't been out there all summer. It feels way better in the warm weather than being stuck in my room like a 'sick person' 12+ hours a day, as happens the rest of the year.

Thanks for your post! Whatever helps you to deal with illness and life is a credit to your integrity and mental health.

Now as long as I don't see that raccoon outside my tent tonight, haahaha!
Hello firefly, Vicki, and L'engle!

Thank you for the confidence about having written this article. :)

L'engle - I'm glad you enjoyed your night out. We have too many mosquitoes here for that, though I've been tempted to brave it just so I can sleep under the stars instead of our leaf canopy. Good luck against the raccoons! lol :)
Lisa, please post about the EFT and reiki. I hope you've been keeping a diary. I would like to hear it. Fear is a big one for me, too.

It's always a pleasure to read about your unconventional living arrangements and how you manage. I enjoyed your images, also, especially the one taken 20' from your tent. Who wouldn't be afraid of that? Thanks for writing.
Jen, Brown-eyed Girl, MEG, Cloud - thank you all so much for your posts. I've been in a bit of a super tired funk the last several days so please forgive this very short reply.

Jen, I will make sure to write about both experiences soon as I am able. :)

Cloud, you always give me something to think about. Thank you. :)

Thank you Brown-eyed Girl and MEG for your support. It really helps after pulling myself out of the old comfort zone. :)

Hugs to all, Lisa
This is a great blog. Fear inhibits so many of us. I have the flu at present and when I get really sick and can't function, I go into this hole about what will happen if I become destitute. It's something to think about but really, I thought about it today and some of the best times in my life were when I was really broke.

I have decided that if I ever have to live in a trailer or something, who cares? Maybe taking the load off of monetary thinking will allow me to relax and get up again and keep on going. Fear makes any illness so much worse and at the end of the day, if you can't control something, what is the point of freaking out all the time over something you can't control?

Thank you for writing this. It just reaffirms something that I thought of today, which is why worry about all of this crap. Carpe diem.
Hi Spitfire! Its all an adventure, right? :)

You know, I read your reply last night I think but hadn't felt up for my own reply at the time. Glad that happened because I came back to it tonight and your words helped push through a bit of a fog I had going on that was making me lapse back into a bit of a fearful and frustrated place.

You reminded me that adversity is an adventure and I'm on one heck of a ride right now. Its like I can feel the brain chemicals changing over to a much more peaceful place even while typing this. The buzz of frustration and fear is giving way to calm and quiet.

Thank you Spitfire. :)

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