How Does Fear Feel?

I’m three years old and I can barely breathe. Where is my mother? Why has she left me alone with these strangers? I see the door that she left by and I start running. I run as fast as I can so that no one can stop me. Please, please don’t stop me.

I’m four years old and I’m shaking. My father is driving, it’s late at night, and we have run out of fuel next to a large forest. I don’t want to know what monsters are lurking in the darkness. Hot tears run down my face. Is that me screaming?

I’m five years old and I can’t get to the door. I can’t get out of my bed, I can’t move, I can’t roll back the bedsheets. A dinosaur is lurking outside my bedroom and it is going to eat me. My mouth is so dry, I can’t even call for help. I need somebody to save me.

I’m six years old, dressed in a white karate robe. I stand on the stage in front of my whole school and their parents. Everybody is watching me because I am Angel Gabriel. I have fifteen words to say, but I can’t even remember my own name. I do not want to do this anymore, I do not want anyone to watch me. I do not want to be Angel Gabriel.

I’m eight years old and it’s my first day at a new school. Five hundred children. I don’t think I’ve met five hundred people in my whole life. I bet they all know each other, I bet they are cooler than me, I bet they don’t like me. I don’t want to be here, I don’t want to speak to anyone, I want to go home. I am a little fish and I am drowning.

I’m sixteen years old and a girl in my class tells me that she has never heard me speak during five years of high school. I can speak, of course I can speak. I open my mouth, but no words come out. I shrug my shoulders and smile apologetically, hoping she leaves me alone. What is it that people even talk about anyway?

I’m seventeen years old and I don’t know what to do with my life. I don’t know which university to go to, I don’t know which course to apply to, I don’t know anything. I don’t want to think about it, I don’t want to have to think about it, I don’t don’t don’t. Life should be simple, like computer games.

I’m twenty-three years old and my back is broken. The doctor asks me to wiggle my toes, checking for paralysis. He says I can’t play sport for at least a year. My panicked breaths are so laboured that they are causing me further pain. I wish I could wake up from this nightmare.

I am falling. It’s that feeling you get just before you hit the ground. Except that I am not going to hit the ground, I am not going to stop falling. It just goes on and on and I beg for it to stop because it is the worst feeling in the world and I don’t even know what is causing it anymore. I am twenty-five years old.

Fear is debilitating and controls your life. It shouldn’t be like that. The above passage is taken from the prologue of The Boy Who Was Afraid of the World – the true story of how one individual learns to deal with fear, rather than overcome it. Click here if you would like to read it and if you do, I hope that it helps you with whatever fears you may have in life.

The featured image of this post is of myself and my father on the log flume at Alton Towers.

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