Posted by: painreliefcoach | May 15, 2008

Face Fear

One of the greatest obstacles we all face is fear.  Fear of the unknown.  Fear of the future, of the present.  We doubt if we will be able to cope day in and day out.  We doubt our medical care.  We doubt ourselves.  We live in fear.


Fear immobilizes us.  Fear does not keep us safe; it keeps us from moving forward.  A recent counseling referral I met with stated she was so afraid.  She was afraid to start counseling because she felt if she learned to accept and cope with her pain she might never be pain free.  Yet, she was afraid to live with the pain.  Her pain consumed her life.  She was afraid to go out for a ride because she might not enjoy it.  She was locked in fear inside her house.


Jennie is a very sweet elderly lady who recently faced her fear. She has chronic abdominal pain and trouble sleeping as a result. This is aggravated by a roommate who makes loud noises all night. Jennie desperately wants to change rooms so she can sleep. Jennie told the nurses her situation and received sympathy, but no room change. She told the social worker and was shown a room she felt was worse, so she refused it. For months, Jennie complained about her noisy roommate and not being able to sleep.


I asked Jennnie why she didn’t take it to the next step and talk to the administrator. Jennie said she was afraid. Initially, she didn’t know what she was afraid of.


The first step to face your fear is to clearly define it. After discussing it, Jennie realized she was afraid the administrator didn’t like her and would say no.


Once your fear is clearly identified, decide what possible action steps there are. One possibility is always to do nothing. Jennie realized not taking action was making her miserable and that she needed to do something.


Making the commitment to do something means you’re halfway there. Deciding “how to” is next. Jennie had already tried talking to her roommate, the nurses and the social worker. She decided revisiting those efforts would not be productive. Jennie made the commitment that the administrator needed to become involved. Jennie analyzed the pros and cons of:  asking a nurse or trusted friend to go with her; contacting an ambudsman to represent her; writing a request or setting up a meeting herself. Looking at each option helped Jennie to decide she would obtain the best results setting up a meeting herself, which she did. Analyzing the pros and cons, anticipating what’s the worst that could happen as a result and deciding if you can accept and handle the possible outcomes leads to the next step.


The next step is the last step. In order to face your fear, you have to implement the action step you’ve decided upon. You still feel afraid, but you have thought it through, possibly received feedback from others and most importantly made the commitment. Just do it!


Jennie met with the administrator who responded appropriately to her request, but she has still not moved. However, Jennie is not afraid anymore. Jennie checks in with the administrator on room availability regularly.


Jennie faced her fear and increased her self confidence as a result. She is not longer a passive victim, she is her own active advocate. If she doesn’t have a room change with her current approach, she’ll go through the process again. She has overcome one fear and is confident to face her fears until her goal is met. The more fears you face the more empowered you become.


Take the risk.  Move past your fear.  Do not be afraid to face fear.



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