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Unmasking and Facing Your Fears with Courage

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Unmasking and Facing Your Fears with Courage


Fear isn’t something unusual. It is a typical human reaction to that which is perceived as dangerous or threatening. It is a response that bears biological importance, as it triggers a reaction system – the fight and flight response – that can alert and prepare you during emergencies. Though it is a natural response, it is an unpleasant feeling, especially when the emotions it generates are excessive, pervasive and unwarranted.  

The heart-racing and gut-wrenching kind of fear is a type of anxiety. It is also called a phobia, panic, PTSD, obsessive-compulsive, etc. It deserves attention because it can get in the way of life, studies, work, and relationships. It can prevent you from doing what you intend to do. It can disrupt your functioning and leave you feeling helpless. Phobia can inconveniently push you to great lengths in order to change your lifestyle and avoid the source of your excessive fear – avoid plane or elevator rides, big audiences or crowds, or certain objects, animals or situations – that are not really dangerous.


The Fear to Unmask

Having fears is natural. Almost every person you know lives with some kind of fear. You can too, so long as it does not interfere with your life or pose a threat to your health. Debilitating phobias and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), however, are intense brands of fear. When you have a phobia, your tendency is to stay away from people, places or situations that may leave you vulnerable to your fear. So, it can keep you in the background, away from a fulfilling life, limiting your potential, creating a chasm in your relationships, and shrinking your world and opportunities.

PTSD was originally linked to soldiers who were victims of war-associated violence. These days, it is now being liberally used to refer to people who have been exposed and traumatized due to severe abuse, neglect and/or repetitive violence. The condition can bring about vivid memories of the experience through flashbacks and nightmares. These are adaptive responses, but they can leave you feeling unsafe most of the time, so you become edgy, irritable, unable to eat or sleep, etc.

Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD), on the other hand, can result in your being predisposed to chronic anxiety. Worries can grip you, even when you know that they are baseless, extreme and unreal, therefore irrational. With GAD, you can worry about a lot of things. Your manifestations can give others an impression that you are disturbed, which can ruin opportunities, even before you recognize them.


The Danger of Overpowering Fear

Feeling fear is natural and, therefore, should not cause an alarm, especially when it is not really distressing you to a great extent.  There are fears that can protect you from harm and there are those that can limit your growth and opportunities, as they overwhelm you with so many negative feelings. It does, however, deserve attention when it can affect your overall functioning or trigger panic attacks. If it has been gripping you for six months or longer, anxiety is disrupting the many aspects of your life, seek help with haste.

There are over a hundred types of phobias – social phobia or social anxiety disorder, agoraphobia or fear of open spaces and large crowds, claustrophobia or fear of tight/enclosed spaces, acrophobia (fear of heights), etc. There are specific phobias for ordinary things or animals that you usually come across every day – rats, cockroaches, cats, etc. There are fears that are so visible, it would be difficult to ignore. For instance, if you are afraid of heights, you can’t live or work in a high-rise building. If you are afraid of water or drowning, you can’t have fun with family or friends at beach resorts or pool parties.

Some fears may originate from your personal feelings of incompetence or inadequacies. Your fear of water could be due to the fact that you cannot swim. Your fear of flying can be due to feelings of helplessness or not being “centered.” Your lack of public speaking skills or fear of failure can cause you to fear presentations, debates or lectures.

The best thing to do is not ignore your fears. Running away from your source of fear can only deepen it or validate that it isn’t just an anxious illusion. This is how your fear can overwhelm you or impact your life in a serious way.  Instead, make the courageous and wise choice –  seek expert help. Acknowledge that professional help is important because your fear needs to be evaluated.  To conquer fear or anxiety, you must work on strengthening your own abilities and power. This is one thing that you can successfully achieve with a capable professional. 


Facts to Know About Anxiety/Fears


If you want to conquer your illogical fears/phobias, you need to “know your enemy.” What are some of the most important facts to know about anxiety?


One, it is an emotional condition or disorder. It is realistic to say that it “sits in the brain” or that the condition is in “your head.” This is because the condition is regulated in two parts of the brain, namely amygdala and hippocampus. As such, you cannot just stop a “fight or flight response” when it starts. The symptoms won’t just dissipate by willing them to. This means that you can’t just “snap out of it.” You likely need the help of a behavioral health professional to diagnose the condition, provide interventions, and help you resolve the issue.

Two, just as there are so many types of anxiety, there are also hundreds of possible symptoms. When this happens, it can be too challenging to identify on your own. Confused youngsters who have a poor understanding of what is happening may manifest clumsiness and poor self-esteem. Seniors may seek out solitude or social isolation. There are people who may manifest panic attacks, scary flashbacks, or nightmares. Severe anxiety can put your “fight or flight” response system on alert level too often. It can cause you to sweat profusely while your heart is pounding too fast and your blood is pumping with great intensity.

Three, professional help is also extremely important because this emotional condition is self-sustaining. This means that the symptoms can become more intense as you fight or ignore it. This is the power of “thought suppression.” According to the Calm Clinic, “thought suppression” can aggravate anxiety. Though suppression is “… a phenomenon of the mind that happens when you try to avoid having a thought, you actually have the thought more often than if you never bothered trying to avoid it at all.”  You may only end up “feeding your fear” if you do not seek help from the right professional.

Four, despite the possible bleak outcome, the condition is treatable. The Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), says that “Anxiety disorders… are treatable, and the vast majority of people can be helped with professional care.”  You have several treatment options. You can find relief from intense anxiety symptoms, not only with medications but through talk therapy. Understanding your condition and cooperating with your therapist can help improve your anxiety in less time. Having a family that’s willing to join anxiety counseling (Pls. link to: NFay17- 033 – Family Counseling and Empowerment:  Resolving Conflicts with Effective Communication) can be very valuable in treating it.


Taking Anxiety by the Horns

Irrational fears emanating from anxiety are not easy to understand and rebound from, but it can be done. The solution is not to run away from your gripping symptoms, but to take them willfully “by the horns.” The key is to be wise and understand the condition. Knowledge can change your views about anxiety. It can also empower you to seek help from a qualified behavioral health professional. Knowledge can lead you down the right path to treatment with a skilled counselor/therapist independently contracted with Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC.

When your logical mind is telling you that your fear is baseless, unreasonable, or even unreal, call Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC. This can be the nearest and best place to put your fear into perspective and resolve the issue as it is brought to light by a therapist independently contracted with CCS North Fayetteville Office – Fayetteville, NC. Do not lie awake at night wondering and fearing things that are actually a safe and natural part of life. Unmask your fears now! Let a CCS independently contracted counselor/therapist help put your anxiety behind you. Call today!

Serving Areas: Carolina Counseling Services

Counties: Cumberland, Bladen and Sampson Counties, NC
Areas: Fayetteville NC, Ft Bragg NC, Pope Field NC, Sliver City NC, Linden NC, Bowmore NC, Autryville NC, Bunnlevel NC, Erwin NC, Dundarrach NC, Pineview NC, Rex NC, Lemon Springs NC, Johnsonville NC, Eastover NC, Stedman NC and Wade, NC
Zip Codes: 28311, 28395, 28390, 28356

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Carolina Counseling Services – North Fayetteville Office, Fayetteville, NC

422 McArthur Road, Suite 2
FayettevilleNC 28311

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PO BOX 9909
Fayetteville, NC 28311

Choose your Therapist

  • Becky Clark, MSW, LCSW

    Specializes in: (Ages 18+) Anxiety, Depression, Individuals, Couples, Geriatrics, Criminal Justice, Stress Management, Loss and Grief related to death, disability, divorce, deployment, “empty nest”, retirement and other major life transitions
    Insurance: BCBS, Tricare, Medicare, and Cash

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    Location: Fayetteville, NC