Overcoming my Fear
I had never known fear the way I experienced it that day.
My kids and I like to “Ride our way to an adrenaline rush” in amusement park rides.
But my husband? He is totally terrorized!
I would laugh at the excuses my husband would come up with to squirm out of riding with us on roller coasters. Little did I know that I would soon be eating humble pie.
On this particular “life-changing” day of mine, I took the children to a mirror maze.
I had no intentions of going into a “Lame mirror maze meant for kids” and I decided to stay out. As soon as the children entered the maze my maternal extinct suddenly triggered.
My city had recently witnessed some horrid molestation, rape and death cases. I wondered what kind of people visit mirror mazes? What about the staff?
All sorts of doubts clouded my mind.
Without wasting any time or thinking, I entered the maze without actually paying attention to where I was going.
‘Thud’ I hit my head on a mirror wall.
Amused I turned.
And ‘Thud’ again I hit another mirror wall.
Suddenly, my head was spinning.
I had no clue from where I had entered and I definitely could not figure out where to exit from.
I could feel blood drain down my head.
I was sweating.
I started panicking and called out to my children.
The children like Knights in armour emerged from behind a mirror wall and were shocked to see me so pale.
By now I had started screaming, “how do I get out of this place, how do I get out of this place?”
One of the maze employees must have heard me, he approached me but told me he couldn’t “reveal” the exit! I pounced at him like an angry Tigress.The children by now were way too embarrassed by the attention I was gathering and they told me they will help my way out.
AND THEY DID!
It was just a kid’s mirror maze after all.
I was happy to be out finally.
When I looked at the kids, I could see they had their doze of adrenaline rush and so did I.
Mine was associated with “Flight”, “Escaping” the situation.
For the kids it was “Fight”, “Facing” the situation.
And yet it affected us so differently.
The fear response starts in a region of the brain called the amygdala. This almond-shaped set of nuclei in the temporal lobe of the brain is dedicated to detecting the emotional salience of the stimuli (Source).
I wanted to feel what they were feeling.
I definitely didn’t want to feel the way I was feeling.
And so, I decided to enter the maze again.
I did that not once, not twice but 10 times. Albeit, each and every time with my kids. I wasn’t going that path alone so soon. By the time I did it the 10th time I was calmer, even enjoyed figuring out the exit without the kid’s help.
My brain understood it was no more in danger. My brain understood there was no threat to my children.
When I re-labelled the situation from ‘Danger’ to ‘Fun’ I felt under control.
This incident however resulted in triggering the full gamut of physical and emotional responses every single time I was in a closed and crowded place.
Since this accident I have had my bouts of panic inside the over-crowded Shri Ekling Ji Temple in Udaipur, inside a stuffy old lift and even inside a flight.
My heart races, my breathing quickens, and I panic.
After these “Bouts of Panic Attacks” I knew for sure I had to do something consciously.
I wondered if avoiding to visit over-crowded temples, stuffy lifts be a solution. But what about airplanes? How was I to avoid crowded planes in India?
I had to beat this fear;
I had to beat this feeling of helplessness;
I had to overcome this overwhelming feeling.
I HAD to train myself.
l came up with two-step approach to pushing past my fears.
- Going to my Happy Place: I would distract myself by mentally going to my “Happy place”. It comforted me to think of pleasant memories which in turn distracted my feeling of discomfort.
- Focusing on my breath: And the second thing that has greatly helped me is concentrating on my breath. Now I have a small Mantra to say in such situations. I say, “Main Purna Hoon” (I am Complete). This mantra gives me a perception of control. I am complete the way I am. I am enough.
Focusing on my breath and reaffirming by saying the mantra “Main Purna Hoon” I had the perception of control.
Once I had the perception of control, I was responding to the situation very differently.
These situations taught me a very valuable lesson that how we react to a situation depends on how we perceive a situation.
For our brain to respond positively to a situation, we have to train our brain to not perceive “fear” as “threat” and respond to such “fears” with “fight” and not “flight” mode.
The fear of unknown.
The fear of being judged.
The fear of failing.
💥It is YOUR DREAM.
💥It is YOUR PASSION.
💥It is YOUR LIFE.
Capeesh !? 💡
The name of the game is TAKE CONTROL👊