F – False E – Evidence A – Appearing R – Real
Fears are a part of living. All of us are afraid sometimes, but for those who are recovering from an Eating Distress, fear can be a very prominent emotion. It can be restricting and debilitating, it can prevent us from doing things and going places. Sometimes, it is the fear itself that is frightening rather than the actual event. It is important to remind yourself that fear is just a feeling like any other feeling. It is created in the mind through self-talk and thus can be eradicated in the same way. Ask yourself why you are afraid of something, listen to your self-talk and examine why it is that you are telling yourself to create this fear.
Learn to turn the fear into Curiosity. For example, if you are afraid of going out, ask yourself what is causing this feeling? What could happen if you went out? Now think of all the good things that could happen instead. If it’s possible that something bad could happen, then it’s equally possible that something good could happen. Challenge your fears. Take something small to start with. What positivity could you create by removing this fear? You may get unwanted feelings but that’s all they are, feelings. They can be altered and changed. You could also try this written exercise. List all your fears on a piece of paper, look at them and question them:
How realistic are they?
Is there anything that could happen that you wouldn’t be able to handle?
How much of my energy, thinking, self talk, revolves around my Fears?
How does this serve me?
What would I like to change?
Don’t be frightened of fear. After a while you will discover that fear is false evidence that appears to be real and it’s generally more frightening than the reality.
Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here – Marianne Williamson
Freedom Affirmation: I am free of any fear
Reflections & Learning from Group from a Classmate
Tonight’s group was about fear. We laughed, we cried, and we aired out the topic that most of us can find quite shameful. I’ll try regurgitate some of the learnings and add my own slant to it.
Someone used the word ‘paralysed’ at one point and it really resonated with me. There were times in my recovery I was so paralysed by the fear of recovering AND the fear of NOT recovering that I would forget how to breathe. We don’t have to do the scary things. Absolutely not. But can we afford not to?
In the old centre there used to be a fish tank, and on the tank was a wooden little plaque that I used to stare at as I waited for my sessions. It said ‘ships are safe in the harbour, but that’s not where ships belong’. I realised there is an illusion of safety when it came to the condition. We create little safe boxes for ourselves, and build walls to keep the ‘bad’ stuff out. Unfortunately it keeps the ‘good’ stuff out too.
The path between ED and recovered is littered with fears that need to be challenged. There’s no path that has zero fears unfortunately. Those that recovered before you had to face their fears, and those coming behind will have to also. My advice is to accept that sometimes you will be doing things in spite of the terror, and that’s ok. You’ll live 🙂
So the group learnings and suggestions about fear are as follows:
-What would you do if you didn’t care what anyone thought of you?
-Remind yourself that nobody thinks of you as much as you think they do
-Be specific about the fear. Condition loves vagueness.
-Carry the fear out to the end. So what if that person thinks you’re xyz, so what? And? And then? And so?
-Feel the fear and do it anyway.
-It’s never as bad as you think it will be.
-Remind yourself of all the times you were very scared, and you survived.
-Reassure yourself. Reassurance is definitely the antidote to fear!
-Gather inspiration. If she can do it, so can you.
-Gather role models. What would Beyonce do? lol
-Ditch the story. Stop telling yourself how scared you are, it’s not helping.
-There is always a solution… Or someone to ask.
-Lighten up a bit and laugh at the fear.
-What would you tell someone else? Eg someone in group?
-Often we just fear the feeling of fear. Complicated eh! Feelings may be uncomfortable but they won’t kill you.
-Welcome discomfort, especially if you’re making the condition uncomfortable. Discomfort means something is happening inside you! Yay.
-Don’t hide from learning. If you’re not learning, you’re not living.
-Ok, something could go wrong. But what if it goes right? What could go right?
-Change your thoughts! How would you like to think about the fear?
-Baby steps. How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time!
-It’ll be ok in the end. If it’s not ok, it’s not the end.
-Are you identifying with being fearful? Would you like to identify with bravery instead?
-If you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you’ve always gotten.
-TRUST. Trust that it’ll work out. Trust that free people aren’t lying to you. Trust that the only way is through and ARE able to cope 🙂
Does this great video about fear remind you of anyone? (Don’t worry, she finds it funny)