"DO THAT WHICH YOU FEAR THE MOST AND THE DEATH OF FEAR IS CERTAIN."
From childhood, my life was founded on fear. Many of my fears were anchored in people, darkness, snakes, heights, doctors, hospitals, criticism, and-- on and on. Looking back, I’ve learned that fear is simply over-anxious-worry that robs its victim of time, energy, and possibilities.
In most every case, fears are anxieties gone-wild. We cringe in the darkness of night, fearing, worrying about a break-in, or a fire, our next breath, or some unknown terror that never happens. The next morning, after a night of sleeplessness, we are tired and feeling stupid.
As a teenager, I developed the most extreme fears that often activated panic attacks. For someone who has never had a panic attack, it sounds crazy that suddenly, a person is unable to control his/her thoughts. For no reason the body suddenly lets panic take control-- your heart pounds/races--you breakout in a heavy sweat, and your brain issues a “fight or flight” alarm. The alarm triggers a message that you will die if you don’t run-- take flight-- immediately!
A panic attack is difficult to explain but when it happens…a victim reacts instantly with no choice but to run away. Home represents the victim's only security; it's the victim's only safe-haven against panic attacks.
I know…it happened to me too-many-times. I’ve had attacks while driving, speaking, singing, even grocery shopping and had no choice but... run. I’ve had friends who’ve experienced panic attacks on airplanes and, in two cases-- the planes had to make emergency landings.
The good news for me: Panic Attacks have been absent from my life for almost forty years and I thank God every day-- But, I don't take anything for granted --regardless of how many years I'm panic-free.
Every day is a new day. Routinely, I start each morning with breathing techniques and mental exercises for stress. I provide myself with simple but pleasant surroundings. I've trained my body to expect regular sleep, daily exercise, and I focus on fortifying my inner strength and self-worth.
Not everyone has the option of being alone in the wilds of China, with no means of communication. If I panicked during my Great Wall Journey, there was no safety-net, no home to run to, no emergency room for medical support. I had no one, but me.
The Great Wall was my ultimate test and it made all the difference.Today, fear no longer has power over my life.
I’m still cautious...I will never consider myself cured. But, as long as I stay healthy, strong, and in-control--- my fears, anxieties, and panic will have a tough time digging out of the deep hole--in China--where I buried them.