“Fear, to a great extent, is born of a story we tell ourselves”. – Cheryl Strayed, Wild.
Let me start by explaining one of my greatest fears. Something that some people will scoff at and some may be baffled by, but I’ve learned not to care about them.
This post if for people with anxiety, mental illness or just anybody who has a FEAR.
Like it not, we all have something we are scared of. The people who scoff and laugh are probably the people who have not come across their own fear yet.
For years I had a phobia of driving. I lost a lot of friends to car crashes when I was younger and I just really lacked the confidence to push myself and push through the anxiety and fear niggling me.
Over time the fear just grew and grew and the mere thought of driving made me want to burst into tears and throw up.
It made me really frustrated with myself because it seemed such a stupid thing to be scared of. People would laugh at me, try to psychoanalyse me, tell me I was “just being stupid”, or constantly question me about WHY to the point where I felt it was such an unjustified fear that I used to make stuff up to try and make it seem justified to other people and make myself feel less stupid.
Luckily, living where I did in England, it wasn’t really a huge problem. There were plenty of buses and trains and taxis or I could walk or cycle to where I needed to go.
It never greatly affected my life that much.
Then I came traveling to Southeast Asia, and at first, it wasn’t a problem here either.
Singapore was well connected with MRT lines going all over the city and plenty within walking distance.
Jakarta had trains and taxis and tuktuks and Yogyakarta had similar modes of transport.
After I finished my volcano treks to Mount Bromo and the Ijen Crater in East Java we were dropped at the ferry port and got on a boat to Bali.
I stayed for one night in Denpensar and when one of the girls said she was going to a surf and yoga retreat in Canggu, which was a popular spot and where one of my friends was living. So I sweet talked the driver into dropping me off at a hostel near the retreat.
There was not a huge amount to do, taxis were few and far between and when I was on my own they were ALWAYS trying to rip me off.
People would tell me about this awesome thing or this beautiful place and tell me it was “only a short drive”.
That’s when I realised I was a bit stuck. I contemplated it, but I couldn’t muster the courage to even try.
One of college friends had died from a complication from a crash just a week before and I really did not feel in the right headspace to try and push through the anxiety.
When I moved on to Ubud, a place that I had wanted to visit for years, I had the same problem.
Unless I could tag along on the back of someone else’s scooter which I did a few times, there was not a lot to do within walking distance.
Unfortunately, my own fears held me back from exploring the way I wanted to and seeing so many things in a place that had been on my bucket list for yonks.
I was mentally trapped, stuck inside my own head, and drowning deeper and deeper in my own thoughts and fear.
The more I would dwell on it, the more I would feel like a failure for not being able to do something simple and I could feel myself sinking into a depressing cycle.
It wouldn’t be until later on in my journey that I conquered this fear, but I feel that there is a right place and time for these things.
I just wanted to let you know, that whatever your fear is, even if it seems stupid to other people, is NOT stupid. It doesn’t make you stupid, and it doesn’t make you a failure.
If you truly want to move past your fear, there will come a time when you are ready to do it.
Don’t let anybody push you, just focus on building your confidence, and surround yourself with positivity and people that build you up, not tear you down.