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Leave the fear behind

I had a minor meltdown last week. I say minor because in the scheme of things it was small, however still somewhat debilitating in the moment.

For the first few weeks of my new part time lifestyle I was overcome with excitement. I would drop my son off at school and come home and drink slowly consumed coffee while contemplating my day. No hurry, no peak hour traffic, no agenda. It has been surreal, I have dreamt about these moments for years. I was literally walking around smiling to myself, chuffed that I finally had the courage to chase my dream and chuffed that I had all this time to do more of what I love. And then one day, fear snuck in.

Was it rational? Not one bit. I haven’t made it my business to be concerned with money since I made the conscious decision to pull the pin on full time employment. I weighed up the finances long before I made that decision. I also know if (gotta love those ‘what ifs’) I ever found my finances running short, I would find work of some sort – hunt down some copywriting work, land a photography gig, clean houses – I would make it work somehow. The problem here was, I didn’t even need to be worrying at this stage, I was only weeks into my dream chasing and far from broke.

The problem with fear is it often isn’t rational. It creeps up and preys on the mind when it is feeling most vulnerable. Worrying thoughts take over, rationale takes a running jump and all we’re left with is an overwhelming feeling of helplessness. I had worked myself up into such a frenzy that the small moments I usually enjoy no longer brought me joy and my stomach stirred with intense anxiety. The things I had worked hard for over two decades seemed worthless and I felt exhausted. My head hurt.

Then, after days of excruciating fear all created and stirred up in my own head, it dawned on me, the basis of this unwelcome feeling of immense fear.

I often write about anxiety and how it works (as I did in this post). During moments of complete peace and acceptance and happiness, I have this wonderful little way of expecting tragedy. As a result of two tragic events in the span of 9 months in my family some 8-9 years ago, my nerves have this uncanny ability to predict trouble. Of course, the predictions are not accurate, they take the shape of fear and manifest in the confines of the troubled parts of my mind, hiding from the rational side of my mind. My body primes me for trouble, whether it’s looming or not.

During this moment of realisation a few days into my panic attack, it hit me: things were good, real good, so of course I was expecting things to turn bad. How could I be living the dream and not have something to worry about? 

During my full time employment, I can honestly say I didn’t stress too much about money. I didn’t want for much, I barely enjoyed shopping for shoes or clothes or makeup, so my money went mainly on household items, family holidays, and food. I could happily spend a fortune in the supermarket, stocking my pantry and fridge makes me very happy. However during my panicking, I found myself strolling through the supermarket nervous about racking up my usual hefty shopping bill. I started to compare the cost of hand soap, something I haven’t done for many years. So very silly, but at the time, so real. 

Once I realised where the fear had come from I started to breathe a little. Recognising the source gives me power to accept it isn’t rational, and then I work at removing the feelings of fear. The panic was settled quicker than it was born. And I went back to enjoying my newfound freedom and space to be creative.

The thing with fear is, when in its irrational form it serves no useful purpose. It takes up thought and turns everything dark and scary. I know this, and yet in the depths of my despair I find myself spiraling down into that scary place I really don’t want to visit. Sometimes I allow myself to stay there, just for a day or two. But eventually I have to snap myself out of it and let rationale take control.

I am following my dreams whether my fear likes it or not. I will have moments of nervousness and self-doubt. I will have moments where I really think I can’t do this. There will be times where going back to a secure pay cheque seems like the safe thing to do, I may even briefly (but not at all seriously) consider this. But in my heart of hearts I know I am following my dreams whether my fear likes it or not.

If you have ever had a dream that consumes your every thought and all you want to do is chase it, know that fear will be present. Also know that it should not stop you from chasing that dream. Fear is driven by the false self, taunting you to discourage you from chasing that dream. Listen to your authentic self, listen to your soul. Do the very thing that bursts your heart open and fills your days with pure joy. And leave the fear behind.

 

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  • Deb @ Home life simplified - thanks for this Peggy – i needed to read this today xxReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - You’re welcome Deb. I always share the good stuff, thought it time I share the not-so-good stuff too, in the hope that if someone can relate they can be reassured it is very normal.

      Hope you’re well Deb. xoReplyCancel

  • Cherie @ raising master Max - I’m having this meltdown as we speak.

    I hate fear.

    You’re a brilliant writer Pegs, & every word you write becomes a story that is relatable, or inspiring, or nurturing, or something that we’re just able to … connect with.

    So just keep plugging, it is already paying dividends. I don’t mean that in a monetary sense, you know what I mean :)

    P.S question … how did you put the sweet graphic at the bottom of the picture with the font? Love it xReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - Hey Chez, I hate the meltdown, it isn’t fun. But, do know you will get out of it. I think by acknowledging when I am in deep, and although it isn’t rational allowing myself to wallow if only briefly, I wind up humouring the feeling (and although negative, it is STILL a real feeling) and eventually moving on. It is very normal for the stage you are at, you are going through some MASSIVE life changes. Hang in there sweets.

      Thanks for your ongoing encouraging words Cherie. I have said this before and I say it again, I am blessed to have you cheering me on. Thank you. :)

      I did the transparent banner thing in Photoshop Elements and the text in Picasa. That font is one I downloaded called Honeyscript. Cute font huh!

      xoxReplyCancel

  • Your mother - I know exactly what you mean, I have been there so many times even though you always thought that I handled all the drama so well. I was just good at hiding it from those that I love. I couldn’t possibly let my family know that I was crumbling inside with the unknown. Many tears i cried while having a shower so no one would ever see me that way.

    It so easy to work yourself into a big mess but when our rational mind awakes, usually all isn’t as bad as it seemed and I’m a strong believer that the sun will shine again xxooReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - You nailed it Mum, the sun will always shine again. Funny during those dark moments I know I can get out of it, but sometimes I need to allow myself to stay in it, even if just to vent and get those things out that I don’t want to acknowledge when I am my usual positive self.

      Thanks Mum, you’ve always been the backbone in our family. I love you for your strength and I love you for admitting your lack of it. xoReplyCancel

  • Elinor - Holy crap Missy P are you telepathic as well as being a writing photographing extraordinary lady? Suffice to say you summed up very eloquently how my own mind lurches from giddy with excitement to vomit-inducing fear. Do you think this see-sawing is just part of the self-employed ride? Though I could do without this particular fairground attraction, seriously! Without any conscious thought, it seems, sometimes my hands start to google job sites. Honestly what a waste of time. When it happens I just chant – no not in a meditative cross-legged kind of way, more of a Nemo’s fish friend way – ‘just keep swimming, just keep swimming’. So just keep swimming we are all there paddling along with you gorgeous ;)ReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - Oh gosh Elinor, that is exactly what happens – giddy with excitement to vomit-inducing fear. That is EXACTLY it. I do think it is part of the self-employment ride. I think the giddy with excitement stages are our authentic self loving ourselves silly! And I think the vomit-inducing fear is just fear mixed with caution and probably a bit of self-doubt. But as long as we do remember WE CAN DO THIS the fear won’t stay around for long. I am going to remember your little mantra “just keep swimming”, especially on the days I am drowning in my own fear.

      Thank you Elinor, I always love to read your insightful and encouraging comments. Thank you. :)ReplyCancel

  • Carly Webber - Well isn’t this the truth! Fear throws itself on us and it sends the mind into a tizz of doubt and then plays havoc with our beliefs. And it is irrational but it’s also a measure of how important something is to us. If we were ot afraid of loosing it or failing, it would mean we didn’t care for it in the first place… if that makes sense. You are doing an amazing job Peggy, you are an amazing photographer and your heart is filled with passion. I love what Elinor wrote…. “just keep swimming”. Thanks so much for sharing and your encouragement. You know the saying; ‘if your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough’ xxReplyCancel

  • Peggy Saas - I totally agree Carly, if we didn’t feel some element of fear I don’t think it’d mean that much to us in the first place. That fear is associated mostly with ‘fear of failing’ or losing it. I totally agree.

    When I read the words “you are an amazing photographer” I actually sighed. Thank you Carly. I am always open to others critiquing my work and love feedback, but to hear someone say it is ‘amazing’ is just mind-blowing. Thank you. That is a massive compliment coming from another photographer.

    It’s nice having you in my corner cheering me on. Thanks for sticking around and for sharing your encouraging words with me. xoReplyCancel

  • Maxabella - You are always so insightful, Peggy. I love coming here. I think you have an amazing ability to step back to sin perspective. This is something that I am working on!

    I hope you always remember this pst whenever you feel that anxiety creeping its way back in. Sometimes it can be like murky water – infiltrating and bottomless. xReplyCancel

    • Peggy Saas - Thank you Bron. I will have to come back to read this as a reminder sometime down the track, I’m sure.

      I love you coming here, thanks for your wonderful words. xoReplyCancel

  • Deb @ Bright and Precious - Yes Peggy, fear will try to discourage us – even when pursuing our dreams. Lovely to read your insights. Very encouraging. xReplyCancel

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