Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Flight or Fight?

When we are fear stricken by our phobias do we face them or accept that they are a part of who we are? No matter how silly or ridiculous some phobias may seem to outsiders the fear is very real to the person experiencing it and can even be debilitating. So how do we deal with the phobias and the people who just don’t understand?

Heights, small enclosed spaces, snakes, spiders and frogs (yes you read that last one right) are on my list of things that terrify me. Most people understand most of my fears; however my fear of frogs tends to get more laughs then understanding and comfort.

I almost gave up a trip to Costa Rica because of my phobias, knowing that everything I’m afraid of would be in my face and a lot bigger then home made me say no to an amazing trip the first time asked. It wasn’t until a few glasses of wine and my mom and sister coaxing me that I finally said yes to an amazing experience. Once in Costa Rica, I barely lasted a few days; we were smack dab in the middle of a rain forest on a biodynamic farm and were literally living with creepy crawlies. I was terrified to sleep and with a heavy schedule of yoga, crazy volcano hikes and other extremely exhausting activities I was physically and emotionally drained; missing my hubby I almost booked a flight home cutting my 15 day trip extremely short. I had to tell myself “ok so either you can suck it up and try to enjoy paradise or you can run home and never know what you are capable of”. Well I sucked it up and tried all the activities I originally said no too; zip lining over the rainforest, rappelling down a 350ft waterfall, crazy hikes and exploring the rainforest. I am sure I gave the night guard years of laughter seeing me trying to be brave and venturing outside of my cabin past night fall, screaming and running from frogs, snakes and giant bugs. But I did it and was actually able to sleep through the night.

I think I can...I think I can!
Since my trip; my fear of heights is a lot better and little spiders don’t terrify me anymore, I’ve made some great progress with those fears. However my frog fear is still as strong as ever. I cannot even rationalize it to myself. I am well aware that I am very big and they are very small and that (the ones in Canada) they can’t hurt me. But, when I see one my heart starts racing, I get anxious, feel like I’m going to cry or scream and if I lose track of where it’s gone I have to flee the area. This is why I don’t garden…lol

In my experience, both facing my fears and accepting them has worked for me. I think the best advice is to listen to your body, know your limits, which ones you can test and push and which ones are there for a reason. I’m glad I was pushed to go zip lining and challenge my fear of heights, the rush I got from flying through the air above the rain forest was amazing, and it was utterly breathtaking. However if someone tried to push me into a situation with frogs I would lose my…after I was able to breathe again.

If people never changed, the world would be an incredibly boring place. We evolve, “grow up”, move on, our tastes change and we experience life, this is what makes us so unique. What defines us can change, so why can’t our fears?

Whether you’re afraid of squirrels, june bugs, snakes, needles, garden gnomes or frogs; know that it is your fear and its ok. Don’t let people make you feel bad about having a phobia, regardless if they can’t understand it.  Challenge yourself and grow; but know it is ok to be you, even if that means running scared from a frog!

Lotsa Love,

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