Fear is always a part of life. We all feel it to one degree or another. Trying to live a life without fear is dangerous. Why? Because there are only two types of people who never feel fear—sociopaths and drugged people. Sociopaths lack empathy and normal human emotions. They don’t feel fear, but they don’t really feel love, joy, happiness or anything else. This lack of normal human emotion is often what gets them into trouble.
Another way to not feel fear is to drug it out of existence.
Of course, the fear is still there, it’s just numbed from the conscious mind. This is often why those who choose drugs, alcohol or medication frequently need more and more and more to keep themselves numbed. People like this aren’t sociopaths, so they do feel fear.
The problem is that, fear left unaddressed feeds and grows and gets bigger. This is why it takes more booze, more Paxil, more cocaine until the fear grows to a point that the person self-destructs.
Though I (hope) it’s obvious I’m not a sociopath, I have been person #2.
My father died on his birthday very unexpectedly and while on the phone with me. Unfortunately, at the time, I was engaged to an emotionally abusive sadist. He’d been cruel for a long time, but I was afraid. He always had a way of convincing me that everything was me, and after three years of constant psychological torment, I believed him.
If I could just do what he asked of me, everything would be fine. Really.
The night my father died, I begged for my mom to come from Florida where she was living. I’d lost my dad and I needed my mom. In all the chaos, I somehow misplaced the flight number. My then-fiance screamed at me for hours about how I was stupid. After the funeral, we was enraged because I’d chosen to sit next to my grandmother instead of him. In the weeks after my dad died, he would yell at me if I cried and tell me I needed to grow up and move on.
Ever seen Sleeping with the Enemy? Yeah, that was my fiance.
He had labels in the pantry for cans: soup, corn, green beans, etc. He once screamed at me because I hadn’t lined up all the cans in the pantry correctly, label forward in the “correct” row. All the rooms were to be vacuumed and then the carpet raked, with all the marks uniform and in the same direction.
Eventually, I found the courage to walk away. The abuse had gotten so bad I would have preferred death over another minute with this man.
Think this is the end? *laughs* It was only the beginning.
After years of being told I was too dumb to live, I was a mess. I didn’t know whether to scratch my watch or wind my butt. I had terrible PTSD and was terrified of making even the smallest decisions, afraid I would be “wrong” and a “failure.” It didn’t help that this abusive person refused to leave my life. He injected himself to the point of being a stalker.
I sought help, and the doctors gave me medications to “help with anxiety.” Yet, over time, I was just…flat. I no longer felt fear, but I didn’t really “feel” anything. I also noticed it took higher and higher dosages to keep the demons at bay, and, in keeping them at bay, it just seemed to give them more time to gather strength.
I found the courage to walk away from my abuser, and eventually I found the courage to walk away from medications. I woke up one day and realized that I couldn’t child-proof life. Life came with pain. Pain of failure, poor choices and even the pain of setting boundaries with lunatics. I kicked the ex out for good and started down the hardest road yet…feeling after so long NOT feeling.
In order to heal my damaged soul, I had to restore my damaged relationship with fear.
Fear can be bad. It can be F.E.A.R. which stands for False Evidence Appearing Real. That was the kind of fear that my ex had used to keep me captive. On some level, I must have believed he was right. Maybe I was stupid, damaged, hopeless, worthless.
But then there is the other fear. Fear is often a sign we are on the right track. We are getting out of our comfort zone and into a place where we will find the greatness inside of us. My ex constantly mocked the idea that I wanted to be a writer, but being a writer had been the only thing that had ever felt RIGHT. Ignoring the fear I had of failing, I stepped out in faith, trusting that if this was my true path then I could make it one step at a time.
And, by the grace of God, I have. Baby steps for the past twelve years.
Fear is powerful and it is our friend. Fear teaches us pain, but pain often prevents tragedy. When we feel the pain of being burned, we don’t rest our hands on hot stoves. Fear became a signal. It warned me early of people like my ex. It made me sensitive to red flags that the person was bad news.
Fear has also helped me stretch as an artist. If I am afraid to do something, I take time to reflect on that fear. Often that feeling of fear is a signal that I am in the right direction, that my creative boundaries are being pushed, that I’m growing.
Sometimes our only way out is through.
All writers will experience fear. It’s natural. The failure doesn’t come from not feeling fear, but rather we fail when we put FEAR in the driver’s seat in our lives. Fear is like a counselor that gives us opinions, but they are just that—opinions. We listen, take the opinions under advisement, then act according to our wills NOT FEAR’s will.
We do it afraid. Courage doesn’t come from never feeling fear. Courage is when we feel the fear and do it anyway. Write the book you’re scared write. Step out on social media where you fear to tread.
Let’s get something out of the way:
Understand you WILL fail.
Okay, now you’re free to create. You WILL fail. But also understand failure isn’t permanent, and it’s a necessary ingredient for success. The only people who never fail are the people who never attempt anything remarkable. We will be afraid our writing sucks, our stories are lame, our blogging is ridiculous and that we will never make it and our family will be right.
But what if they aren’t?
There will be pain. Pain of regret or pain from growth. We choose.
What are your thoughts? What do you fear? Have you overcome a fear that dominated your life and your choices? How did you do it? We’d love to hear your story.
I love hearing from you!
To prove it and show my love, for the month of January, everyone who leaves a comment I will put your name in a hat. If you comment and link back to my blog on your blog, you get your name in the hat twice. If you leave a comment, and link back to my blog, and mention my book We Are Not Alone in your blog…you get your name in the hat THREE times. What do you win? The unvarnished truth from yours truly.
I will pick a winner once a month and it will be a critique of the first 20 pages of your novel, or your query letter, or your synopsis (5 pages or less).
And also, winners have a limited time to claim the prize, because what’s happening is there are actually quite a few people who never claim the critique, so I never know if the spam folder ate it or to look for it and then people miss out. I will also give my corporate e-mail to insure we connect and I will only have a week to return the 20 page edit.
At the end of January I will pick a winner for the monthly prize. Good luck!
I also hope you pick up copies of my best-selling books We Are Not Alone–The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and Are You There, Blog? It’s Me, Writer . And both are recommended by the hottest agents and biggest authors in the biz. My methods teach you how to make building your author platform FUN. Build a platform and still have time left to write great books.
Thank you for sharing such an incredible story, Kristen. I believe in the necessity of fear; it reminds us what can be lost or stolen, but simultaneously what is possible.
I absolutely agree with: “Often that feeling of fear is a signal that I am in the right direction, that my creative boundaries are being pushed, that I’m growing.”
When I feel the butterflies fluttering away in my tummy, I know I’m taking a chance, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Rarely does a blog post speak to me to the point of bringing tears to my eyes, but this one did. “Failure isn’t permanent, and it’s a necessary ingredient for success” is a quote I need to carry with me in my head. Thank you so much for having the courage it takes to not only work through and live with your fears but to use your experiences to encourage others to do the same.
You know, I really needed to hear that today. Thanks.
Wow, honey, I’m so sorry you went through this. Good for you for making the tough choices and finally believing in yourself! (Easy in hindsight for us all to tell you that you’re awesome, LOL). And look what you’ve done for the rest of us because of this good place you’re in…yay!
My first mystery, Dangerous and Unseemly, comes out in a few weeks. Self-pubbed. *Breathing into a paper bag right now* Talk about F.E.A.R. BTW, you are listed in my acknowledgments page, although I can never thank you enough! 😉
Have a great week,
Thanks for the acknowledgement and thanks for being such an awesome peep. You know, it totally sucked WHEN I was in that place, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world because it allows me to help you guys on such a meaningful AND practical level.
Failure only means you’re trying and that you’ve found what doesn’t work.
You are a very strong woman who is giving back a thousand-fold.
Some of us (like…er…maybe…uh…me) are afraid of success. If I do something good once, then it will be expected of me again and again and again…. And do I have it in me to do it more than once?
BUT, even if I only succeed once, it’s more times than everyone who never try.
Thanks for a great post, Kristen.
I’m glad you broke free. My folks were both social workers helping battered women and other areas of service and it left a big impression with me. However, they both threatened me if I went into Social Working (laugh). So now I build websites and do graphic design for organizations like BraveWoman.org and others to help. AND…I’m finally taking my writing seriously and facing my own fears. Thanks for setting a new standard, so that others can be inspired.
I was always the kind of person who would have never tolerated a man hitting me, but psychological abuse is soooo insidious. He started out as the best boyfriend ever and before I knew it, I was stuck in the tar pit believing everything was my fault. Thanks for the thoughtful comment. It’s is SUPER appreciated :D.
Powerful post, Kristen, thank you for sharing your past with us. Only wish you didn’t have to go through that. Fear is powerful, but you are so right. It’s beneficial, too…enlightening, often.
Kristen, what a post! Thank God you got away from your ex and found your way out of that downward spiral. I’m a firm believer in stepping out on faith and it has really helped me move forward in my life. Fear knocks on my door, but when I open the door I find no one is there.
Great post. While I agree with you about your two definitions for fear, I would add another: R.E.A.F. Real Evidence Appearing False. This is when the truth is staring us in the face but we see it as something it isn’t, a distorted image. Example: When our abuser is smiling and telling us all kinds of wonderful things, while at the same time he/she has just hurt us, and we justify their behavior, numb out, and perceive him or her as a wonderful partner in life. The truth is just too close for us to see clearly. You are right, we need to learn to respect our fear and sift through the lies.
I’ll have to remember that, I like what you said FEAR stood for – false evidence appearing real. My daughter and I have both had to work to keep our spirits intact despite a huge amount of negativity from my husband. We’re not there let, but we’re working on standing up more for ourselves and not letting fear get the better. Writing has really helped me. My spoken voice may still be silenced too often, but no one can hold me back from having my say in the words I write.
A brave, wonderful post, Kristen. I first heard the FEAR acronym from Joyce Meyer, and I draw on it regularly. It’s so easy to get wrapped in a cocoon of paralysis and takes great courage to break through those bonds. Thanks for the reminder that part of living is fighting our fears and stepping out in faith.
Kristen, I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I went through similar things, but with parents instead of the boyfriend. I’ve discovered that writing is therapy you don’t have to pay for.
Thank God you got away. It’s amazing the strength you have. I don’t know if you’ve thought about it, but you’re a role model. An example of strength and success.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank you for your honest posts in this series. Your bravery in sharing your story has helped me see things about myself (and others around me) in a new light. Thanks for that.
Thanks for sharing! I often find myself in fear of getting out of my comfort zone. The pursuit of being a published writer really does take courage.
Kudos to you for being able to break free. I have been watching the recovery process of a friend who went through something similar and I am always amazed at her strength and resiliency.
I fear failure so I am learning to take steps to live, pursue my dreams and not worry as much about what other people think.
This is a powerful article. I commend your courage and willingness to share your story. It gives me strength as a writer..
Someone told me once that failure can be a building block to success. If you get a brick for every failure, you’ll someday have a house. The man who never tries will remain outside in the rain. I’ve faced my fears like a crazed idiot ever since. I make a lot of mistakes, but through them I’ve made many successes. Thanks for more inspiration Kristen.
I am actually stunned you have achieved so much after being in that kind of relationship. I wish more people could face that fear and leave abusive relationships. It’s no way to live for either person.
Kristen, you truly are courageous! I’ve followed your blog for a while now because you always give such great, frank advice. But this post is particularly brave of you, and helpful to those of us reading it. I’m fearful of starting a new project because it might not live up to my last work. But I do have to push past that. Thanks for the reminder.
“Fear is often a sign we are on the right track. We are getting out of our comfort zone and into a place where we will find the greatness inside of us.”
I love this. I’m about to send out my first queries today, and I’ll admit I’m terrified of failure. This is definitely not a comfortable place for me. But I’m going to do it anyways, because otherwise nothing will ever happen.
Reblogged this on creativityorcrazy and commented:
I try not to reblog too often, but I read such an incredible post about FEAR over at Kristen Lamb’s Blog just a few moments ago. It was so great I thought I’d share it. I think many times in life, fear holds us back, not just in writing, but in fully living life. There are some thoughts in the post about thinking about fear differently. One thing I really liked was the acronym for F.E.A.R., which she says is False Evidence Appearing Real. Truth is one of the major things that drive my writing as I’m tired of it being lost in the false illusions of life, which merely hide it. I need to hang onto the things I know are real and quit letting the other things weigh me down. Life is far too short for negativity. 🙂
Hi Kisten, your story shows up an old Norse truth. Heat the iron in the fire then pound it, if it breaks it is usless, if not it becomes steel. You are made from fine steel, hammered hard and stronger as a result. Truly inspiring and a shining example of what is possible if one can follow this motto. Face the fear and do it anyway.
Thanks for sharing. Have a bright and successful day.
Hey, Sister. My mom, my sister and I put up with this kind of emotional abuse from my dad all our lives. When you grow up with such behavior, you don’t know there’s any other way. I found my escape through reading. Books showed me there was anoher world out there, and all I wanted growing up was to escape into it. I did. After some years of therapy and determination to fight through anything that frightened me, my sister and I finally talked to our mom about the past, had a good cry and cheered ourselves on as survivors. My only regret is that I didn’t face him with the truth when he was still alive.
After an abusive father and multiple abusive relationships, I was left with no self-esteem at all. Time has healed many of my wounds, but I am just now spreading my wings as a writer.
Thank you for sharing this story. It gives me hope and inspiration to know that my fear of rejection is a normal response and I will continue my journey.
This really spoke to me. I, too, left an emotionally abusive fiance. At the time I thought it was my fault, and I used to spend hours plotting an escape that wouldn’t involve a face to face confrontation with him.
When I finally faced that FEAR – it was a start of a new life. Like you, my life didn’t really sort itself out for a period after that, but thank God I walked away. Many people never do.
Thanks so very much for sharing this with us.
Thank you for talking about things that must be difficult for you but that affect many others. Fear is something we all deal with in some form or other. Good to know how someone else has handled it.
You are so amazing. You are so beautiful and loving and funny and warm and intelligent and I can’t even imagine your life with an abuser. I am so glad you’re here to guard and guide and teach and giggle with us. You have all my admiration!
Wow Kristen, glad you got away from crazy man. I have to ask if he’s a libran?
What a powerful post. It is no wonder you have become the strong person you are now. “Tempered in fire” comes to mind, and those of us who have suffered emotional abuse do come out stronger if we deal with the aftermath in a healthy way. And I so agree about the failures not being permanent. I look at the things that did not work out the way I had planned, not so much as failures, but learning experiences. When my movie deal all fell apart in the late 80s because of the mini oil crisis – all my investors were oilmen – I did not consider the time I had put into development was wasted. Those two years were a time of tremendous learning for me.
Kristen, great post, and obviously one that touches a lot of people. I feel the same way you do–my childhood was not the best since I was bullied and abused by an older sibling, yet it’s exactly that experience that makes me who I am today, and I am profoundly grateful for who I am. Obviously none of us condone such treatment, but it’s liberating to make it a springboard that catapults us to a higher potential. Thanks for putting yourself out there. Very helpful and instructive.
It took an amazing amount of bravery to walk away from an abuser, and boy have you proved him wrong. You can not only write, you help others every day with your blogs and classes. Thanks for creating a bright spot for me to start my day.
WOW – amazing and powerful. Thank you for sharing it. Your strength is an inspiration.
Appreciate you sharing this story. I have been writing about facing fears this last week, so finding your article today is timely for me. So glad to see how far you have come. Having lived both drugged..and not. In fear..and not. I could relate to some things. You are doing good work here and I am happy to share it today
Courage! It’s tough to express yourself to the world and when you do you are releasing your soul. Life has a way of kicking us, but the only way to conquer it is to get up and say “I f***** up” now it’s time to recognize it and have Courage.
Thanks for the post, because many of us have been there in one way or another.
This was a truly powerful blog because I too had a relationship with an abuser. It takes courage and strength to walk away, but the healing afterwards was probably the worst. I am in a wonderful relationship now, but the damage done by my ex still affects my daily life. Living in constant fear of being criticized and judged can be paralyzing. Having every one of your hopes and dreams, turned around and used against you and to basically destroy your self esteem by a person you love… well, it really, really sucks. There were some days where I wondered if I would ever really recover or if I would just be “damaged goods” forever. But… here I am. I’m happy and writing and loved by a wonderful man. I also commend you Kristen for talking about the abuse. I was so ashamed that I didn’t want to admit it (even to myself) for a very long time. Now I write about it and try to be an inspiration for other women that they DO have the strength to leave and find a better life. Thanks again for this blog.
Thanks for sharing. I was married to a verbal and emotional abuser who used to scream, “You are so stupid!” I was working on an acting career at the time and he would also scream, “when are you going to give up?” I used to call my dad crying. He was always there with a kind word, telling me to go get cup of tea and we would talk abut it. My dad died in 2001 and I miss him so much. I know that my playing small in regards to my work over the years is a direct result from being told how stupid I was for so many years, and also being bullied in school. It gets ingrained in the subconscious. I have been working to undo the damage and am making great strides. People often have no idea what damage they are doing with words.
My whole life's journey has been and is of overcoming fear. Thanks for sharing!
Too often psych abuse is not validated because the marks are on our soul. Going public as you have will validate many people in pain. It is a brave act. One thing about being so low. If we are brave enough to get out we know nothing will ever be that bad again. Very empowering.
Wow! Kristen, I’ve been thinking of detouring from my WIP to write a memoir/novel. Your ex and my (second) ex sound alike. He was abusive in the sneakiest way possible– so above it all. Love this blog entry!
I agree, Sandra Wagner-Wrught, psychological/emotional abuse is the hardest to prove because the scars are inside — rather than outside– and that kind of abuser is the sneakiest of all.
I’m so thankful my parents were still alive during my hell-on-earth period! Who knows what might have happened, otherwise!
This resonated with me on a personal level. Very personal. I love the description of the other side of fear — how it can move from enemy to friend if we let it. Good for you on every front and thank you for sharing.
After such insidious undermining for so long, you must be an incredlbly strong person to have risen above it so spectacularly. i wish you could report that the man – thing – got what was coming to him, and I hope he didn’t simply move on to terrorise someone else.
Thanks for sharing your story. It’s more common than most people realize. And abusers often go for smart, powerful women to subdue, because it makes them feel stronger (they’re all wimps inside.) I’ve been involved with a couple. They always start with lots of praise and what seems like kindness. When they morph into their evil selves, we keep thinking we can get the “good guy” back if we just do what they want. But of course all they really want is for us to be in pain.
You’re so right about fear. It’s so often irrational. We’re more likely to die falling in the shower than from a terrorist or a gunman, so we often fear the things that are least likely to happen. So much of fear is irrational.
That is such an incredible story Kristen! I’m so happy you were able to break free from that! I’ve been enjoying all your posts even if I don’t get the chance to reply, but this one feels specific to me. My fear is most definitely of social media, specifically blogging. My first blog post was even about the fear of it. Since the beginning of the month, I’ve only managed to post 3 times. I come up with a few ideas, but feel, like my first three posts, that they are trite and uninteresting. I know, like playing harp, I need to keep practicing.
I think part of my fear stems from lack of support from my hubby. I know he’s okay with my writing, but he is ultra practical and deep down, I know he feels I’m wasting my time. It’s sad really. He has a fantastic book idea, but doesn’t want to put forth the time and effort it takes to write and publish it.
I needed to hear this today, as my WIP is kicking my butt and scaring the crap out of me. LOL. Thanks!
You know I hate you had such an experience in your life. It is abysmal the way some people feel they have a right to treat the one that cares for them so much. But your urging of us to vercome would be less meaningful without your recollection of your true life experience. Thanks for being willing to uncover some of yourself to improve us.
WOW, what a story, an ordeal for you! I admire your courage in walking away and recreating your life! Great post, thanks!
What a powerful story… I so appreciate how you mix humor, frankness and faith in telling it. Thank you for sharing your pain for our gain!
What an incredibly brave post! Thank you!
Thanks, though I don’t feel brave. I feel like a moron. But whatever. Adversity fires out the impurities and makes us better if we choose. I am just happy that all of this can be put to good use to help others. And in a way I hope you guys take my advice to heart because I’m not speaking as some emotionally distant expert. I have street cred, BABY! LOL
Raking the carpet! – that was one f***ed-up douchebag!
… so glad you broke free.
I had an abusive childhood that shut me down until I was in my early 20’s. Once I figured out how to put the pieces of me back together again, and then did it (still a WIP in some ways) I realised that having survived my childhood, I will survive just about anything. Continuing to act from that Knowing, on a day-to-day basis, is the greatest act of courage I know.
You are truly inspiring! Thank you for sharing such a powerful and personal history. You are spot on about FEAR.
You are one brave, strong woman. And I agree that the only way to move forward from a nasty situation is to go through fear. Incredible post, one your best IMO.
Reblogged this on latebloomlisa and commented:
I find this so fitting for my last relationship. Glad we are both without our tormentors.
Oh how that movie with Julia Roberts creeped me out. How did you ever live with that Kristen? That is insanity. It just shows that we really don’t know what other people have gone through in the past. And survived! 🙂
Your blog post brought me to tears! What a brave woman you are to have had the courage leave a monster like that! Good on you, Kristen. Your bravery and determination to work through it and come out the other side shining, is an inspiration to us all.
Wow Kristen! So sorry to hear you went through all of that, but glad you were brave enough to walk away from it. Raking the carpet is truly bizarre! Sending manuscripts to publishers is nothing compared to being brave enough to walk away from an abusive relationship. Thank you for sharing and writing such an inspiring post.
I know several women who have left physically or emotionally abusive relationships, and it’s a journey to find your self-confidence again. But I believe that those women are some of the most courageous ones I know, as well.
We all experience fear. Some of it is a good warning to get out, and some of it requires us to push through. That discernment is what it takes some experience, wisdom, and/or counsel to acquire. Thanks for passing on your own wisdom!
Thank you so much for sharing your personal story of fear, Kristen. I’m sure it wasn’t an easy one to write and to share. I also had to use medication at one point in my life, and while it saved my life at the time, I was happy to stop and retrieve the strength of my emotions.
I’ve been wondering for a while whether I should write anything about this difficult time of my life and I’m still undecided. But your post inspired me to think about it again 🙂
Thanks for this post Kristen. I especially love your phrase ‘We do it afraid.’
Fear of not being good enough has kept me from bringing my writing out into the open for many years, but I finally decided I had to conquer it before it’s too late (I’m 52). It’s not that I don’t have the fear anymore, it’s that I have decided to do it anyway, and your phrase resonates exactly with how I feel – I’m ‘doing it afraid’ and it feels great!
Dealing with fear – I guess; the fear of success must take a backseat to dealing with fears of living. I had childhood allergic asthma so I could not stand being in the same room as cigarette smokers and inside an automobile, windows down even during 30-below wind chill with the heater roaring. It was the reasons; I do not hang around with marijuana users so I have never been a drug head. I do not even like to take legal medicine for pain. I drink alcohol, once in a blue moon and too many cloudy days at night. Offered free, I usually partake. I look at wine and beer as food to help the digestion and to relax. Brandy and Rum are medicine, but drink moderately. I simply made bad decisions at Mizzou. Before, I did not study. I did my homework during commercials of the original Charlie’s Angels on TV. I was accepted to a major university (School of Engineering without the Juco) as an average student so I was satisfied back then. I did not have a TV in college so I really did not study. I did not party. But my fear with writing was I never learned to type. I had plenty of stories and ideas. With the desktop home computer, I eliminated the fear of the cost of typewriter ribbons and typing paper only to never finish an error free page. I can take my time. I guess; my novels will be like making fine wine. It is an investment in my future. I am even using the voice recorder on a cell phone to type recorded messages later. I can dictate scenes for my novel anywhere, which I can carry my cell phone. The fear is gone, but the waiting to be “published and paid” is a virtue.
Kristen, you are such an amazing woman. God bless you! And though I haven’t had to deal with fear on that level, this post really hit me where I needed it today. Thanks!
Great quote: Failure isn’t permanent, and it’s a necessary ingredient for success. Fear of failure is definitely something I’m working to overcome as I write. Thanks for sharing this.
Thank you so much for this today. I have been struggling in which direction to take my life after I rather chaotic year this is just the encouragement that I needed thank you.
Powerful story, Kristen. You dealt with the sadist and I got the sociopath. After almost 7 years and the birth of my son, I decided if I didn’t value my own life enough to leave, at least I could value my son’s life enough to not remain in a dangerous relationship. It took me six months to plan to run away (he was a stalker) and years of looking over my shoulder once we moved in secret to a new life before I can finally say I no longer fear that past. I’m stronger now…and so are you. And blessed to be surrounded by people near and far who care about the beautiful spirit that you are. Rock on, Kristen, rock on!
Donna L Martin
A very powerful message made all the more powerful because of your self-disclosure. Thank you so much for sharing. I can’t tell you how much it meant to me to hear this message, to hear from someone else who’s endured the pain. I suffered severe psychological abuse for the entire duration of my childhood that left me mentally scared. I pursued artificial remedies and every one of them ultimately failed until all that was left was what was within. When I started tapping into what I’d always had inside is when my life turned around. You’re right: fear points the way.
Inspiring and very powerful story. Many of us need to learn to fight our fears before they knock us down completely. Thanx for sharing .
Ah, Kristen. Been there too, but instead of a fiancee, the monster was my husband for seven years. I have scars, inside and out. I couldn’t leave, terrified to leave until the night he put a pillow over my face and held it until I thought -knew- I was going to die. The he raped me. Our six year old son saw the whole thing.
After he fell asleep, I grabbed our two sons and ran with the clothes on our backs. Later when I went back with my dad for protection, my soon to be ex, sat on the roof with a rifle across his lap.
Therapy worked wonders. I was lucky, the professional I found showed me how to take my life back, and keep it. Our stories differ in some ways, but the central theme is there, downgrading of our self esteem through fear and doubt. Sometimes it takes the fear of death, literally, when we have nothing else to loose, to get us out. I am glad you made it out, and were able to rebuild your life, one brick at a time.
I’m deeply glad that I stopped believing that all medication would make me into a mindless numb zombie with no emotions. Once I accepted help out of sheer desperation, I found that the right kind & dose doesn’t leave me remotely numb or unable to feel fear, nor have I needed any increases in dosage in 11 years (6 of which have been with an anti-depressant).
Ideally, someone goes onto medication when in trouble before they totally crash, so they can function well enough to address whatever’s derailing them emotionally and stop taking the drug; it’s just that the longer the condition goes unaddressed, the longer it takes to fully heal. It sounds like you actually used it precisely the way it was intended, but were given the wrong type or dose so you felt numbed at the time. I’ve had the right kinds/doses, so I’ve slowly returned to being my old creative, friendly, humorous self and regained my ability to write (which I lost for a *decade*), but 22 years of untreated PTSD, anxiety & depressive episodes takes a while to recover from. 🙂
Your post gave me much food for thought. Thanks for sharing your story. I know many will be able to relate, including me. I went through clinical depression and you’re right, the only way out is through.
I think fear is definitely a good way to know that you care about something so much you can’t imagine NOT doing it. That obviously applies more to writing and passions, than what you went through, but it has been my “tell” before… to keep going and push through. “On the other side of fear lies freedom.” – Robin Sharma.
I disagree that people who don’t fear much are either delusional, drugged or sociopaths. Some of us just naturally have big balls and prefer reality as ugly and as devastating as it is. There is fear but it’s overcome. Feel the fear, ignore it, and do it anyway is how I live. Psychological trauma, overcome by force of will does help one acquire huge balls. Medications aren’t the answer. I did a lot of research on the RX industry and what and how they push, and it’s mostly poison. I commend you for getting off meds and breaking through into uncolored reality. Medications are designed to keep you mentally ill, it’s not a cure at all. None have been approved for more than 8 weeks use and of course the FDA is owned by the drug business. How I know this and more can’t be explained in this small forum, but I’ve had my share of soul jarring traumas, meds, and breaking through. Fear, like all emotions and the RX industry, is a liar. Always rely on reason and applied willpower.
Kristen, it is a great talent to realize that your pain you went through you have turned into a good life lesson. In addition you are now inspiring a lot of people. Yes, everyone should try to get out of comfort zone. The successful person is the person who stands up just one more time than falls…
Reblogged this on The Year of Living Spiritually and commented:
This is a blog for writers about writing I read nearly every day. Today Kristen caught me off guard with her honest, painful story of abuse and facing fear. You may or may not be a writer. But this post is for you and is a personal story about what we have talked about in our last two posts on fear. Eugene
Kristen: I am a recent follower and have already learned much from your posts. Today’s caught me off guard. Your honesty is incredible and admirable and healing. My heart broke (breaks) for you that you should have been so mistreaated. I am glad for your freedom and that your pain is being redeemed through you telling your story. I write a blog called Living Spiritually at http://ecscott.wordpress.com that is dealing with fear this year. I reblogged your post there. Thank you for telling your story.
Fear is a great emotion ~ it’s useful and necessary, but it needs to kept in check because it can spiral out of control and become debilitating ~ big time.
You are courageous and strong and I’m happy that you got out of that bad situation. I experienced only a smidge of it and it took me a long time to recover, so I can only imagine how much strength it has taken to get you where you are today.
Since I had children, I have had to fight viciously with fear to keep it from turning into life halting anxiety. It’s tough, but I have to keep reminding myself that living in fear is no way to live.
What an amazing post. You are usually so full of humor/sarcasm; I was little caught off-guard by your story, too. You’re so strong and independent and spirited. #loveit & you! What an awful time to have gone through, but I’m sure it makes you who you are today. I’m just sorry for the loss of your dad when you were in such a horrible situation at the same exact time. Now, I can only imagine “Kristen with a gun” that you could openly rake across this guy’s carpet if you were ever to come across him again in your life and who would be scared then!! lol
He wouldn’t let me keep my guns in the house. Gee, wonder why. LOL 😀 They say humor is birthed from pain, so guess that’s why I am so damn funny ha ha ha ha ha ha!
when you’ve been completely full of fear and have reached your limit–and know it–every fearful time after that becomes tiny by comparison. You rate your fear–this time’s a 7, that time was a 3–but you’ll never be more fearful than your experience at 10, and once you start rating your fear, it disappears/
I knew I was in trouble when I had to hide even a paperback purchase from my husband because I was afraid of him yelling at me.
Really a wonderful post, on so many levels — THANK you, from the bottom of my heart, for sharing your story and tying it in so wonderfully to the fear that artists and writers commonly experience. I empathize with you tremendously on many levels right now, and this was a nice kick-in-the-arse. Very timely.
A very insightful post. Thanks for sharing your story.
Though I’ve never felt the kind of fear you’ve endured, I’ve struggled with personal fears in various areas of my life. My remedy is to place the situation in God’s hands and trust that he will handle it. He’s never let me down.
Thank you for having the courage to break away and be an example to all of us, no matter the source of our fears.
Don’t sell yourself short. It isn’t only women that are in abusive (held in the guise of ‘love’) relationships, and men too feel the guilt of stepping out of one; short or long term relationships not wanting to leave them in financial woe or without means to continue on.
Thank you for this post.
Excellent series. I’m learning so much from all this. I remember my very first post into the blogging world. Scared to death. Clicked that “Publish” button and went into free fall. I still stop and take a deep breath before I click!
Stepping into fear has been my greatest lesson. My career, aside from my blogging hobby, is a place full of fear. I have practiced in fields of medicine that few dare to trod. My current is my greatest victory–intense pressure + intense people who are intensely gifted + challenging learning curve = accomplishment and I get to do some really great things for patients. Each day I still take a moment and quietly pray before I step into it. The apprehension never leaves but courage takes over and the end result is incredible.
Thanks again for your thoughful post.