Everyone experiences some type of fear in their lives… and for many of us the first thought is to avoid situations where those fears will take over your mind….  We may not be fully aware of it… but it’s the way our brain works…

It might be something simple or something that doesn’t interfere with your normal life…. like you if you’ve had food poisoning dinging out at a restaurant you will most likely avoid going to that restaurant again…  Your mind may start to connect this event to certain type of food…. and you will start avoiding that food from that day forward…. or maybe you will start relating particular taste, or scent …or even unrelated food to getting sick and what you experienced after the food poisoning….  This is quite common and something that many people can relate to… myself included…  You experienced something that was bad or unpleasant, so you avoid it. You get those thoughts of “If I eat that, what if I get so sick again?” You just did a “what if”.  It’s just the way how the human mind works….

Now, let’s talk about fears of things that too many people seem easy to overcome…  or seem as irrational or even stupid to have…  but also… let’s spice it up with life experiences that fortunately most people will never have to go through… some kind of trauma…. where you have felt that your life may have been in danger… You may have had to experience excruciating physical pain for weeks after the event…. or even experienced those types of situation… or similar situations… repeatedly….

Let’s say you were a child when you experienced the trauma…  a child that was abused… not once but multiple times…  never knowing what would happen the next day… never feel safe…  Fortunately for some of us who have had to go through that sort of experience our brains come to the rescue and to help us to stay alive …It somehow helps us to live through each day of torture by making us somehow be able to dissociate or detach the fear from our selves…  Something that feels as if you are out of your body and you feel as instead of you being tortured it is someone else’s body….  or even as if you’re not there at all….

Years go by… and you are no longer being abused… you grow up but your brain is still working overtime by keeping out the danger…. but eventually it can’t do that anymore…. and it starts sending you bits and pieces  of what it has kept from you through the years….  That’s when you start collecting items in your box of fears… Maybe without really knowing why…. but every little thing/fear becomes an item in that box…   Soon the box is over full… and you can’t get a clear picture of why each item is there or how to deal with all of them because they are coming on too fast…   More time goes by and you eventually start to be able to make out what at least some of the items in your box stand for… or more like… how you can avoid it becoming alive in your mind… and situations where it becomes alive or where you think it might become alive…

Remember in the example I started this post with…. the part when you start to avoid everything that can possibly remind you of that unpleasant experience?

The later example is not really that much different from the first… the only difference is that there are more situations… more reminders and for some of them you may know that your fears are irrational… built up in your mind…and made impossible for you to control… Or that is what you believe… so instead of doing what you have to do your reaction is to avoid…

As result of the abuse I went through the first 27 years of my life I have something that medical professionals call Disorder of extreme stress not otherwise specified… or DESNOS… (To some better known as Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or C-PTSD).  For me having this diagnosis doesn’t really mean anything other than it gives me access to therapists, doctors and other specialists who have education in that area… and who can give me tools that may help me and maybe my family to understand myself a little better…

I am still me… and I want to take a moment to say it….  I really do not like the phrase when people say “I suffer from…. [put anything here]” I know it may seem to some people that I suffer… but suffering to me is a negative word… something that gives you no hope, no escape or no chance to heal….

Ever since my box of fears started to fill up…. maybe 18 – 20 years ago… even long before that I have had to learn what most people learn while they are still children… In many ways I was a child mentally long after my body became an adult… but also at the same time a child that had experienced the ugliness and cruelty of humanity, and that from someone who my nature should have offered safety, love and guidance….

Today, I know I can trust my wife… even when I feel I can’t always trust myself… but I feel as I am getting better at that too… I usually know what to do… or what not to do…

I don’t really want to go into too many details but yesterday my wife had to make an appointment for me because of a physical problem that I know very well can lead to more serious problems if not treated…   I had/have an infection in my mouth…   I have many items in my box of fears that hold horrible memories involving my mouth… and though most of them are since my childhood some are even more recent than that…  and ironically I have called some of those recent fears up on myself….

Yes, my wife made an appointment for me, and I really was planning on going…. but my brain started spewing out all sorts of reasons for me not to go…  all sorts of “what ifs?”  …spiced up with irrationality…as I knew that no one was really going to hurt me… at least not on purpose …and also knowing I have been through much bigger things than what this could ever be…. but not the less I freaked out, and refused to go with her….

But today was another day…. and another chance…  and well… it turned out to be a no big deal… and a big box of antibiotics… and come back again next Friday…

Will that result teach my brain not to over think my next appointment …or future appointments?   I honestly can’t say for sure… as this wasn’t the first time something like this happens…  but maybe I need to start paying more attention to my box of won battles …That box is not empty…. but it is something that I need to be reminded of every now and then… or it will be outgrown by the other one….

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