Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Fear

People say writing memoir is courageous. People also said leaving everyone and everything behind and moving cross country was brave. I never saw it that way. The memoir was something that had to come out of me and changing locations simply felt like the right thing to do.

Someone I care deeply about is very frightened right now. They've got some physical symptoms that could potentially be quite serious. For six weeks, I have been trying to reassure them I don't believe it is the disease they think it is. Rather, it is a wake-up call to make some changes in their life.

But fear can be contagious. If you listen long enough to someone who is coming from fear, it is so easy to begin to buy into their belief system. And our belief systems dictate how we move through the world. The last thing this person needs is for me to begin to believe they have a dreaded disease and to become frightened about the possibilities of what that means for them.

All I can do is hold onto my faith that there are reasons this is happening; that the symptoms are treatable and it is possible to get some relief from them so they do not continue to impair functioning. The question is, how do you help someone get out of fear mentality and into action mode, since fear paralyzes us?

Any ideas?


The Alliterative Allomorph said...

Wow, I know what you mean. My mother is in the same situation and I need to reassure her at least twice a day that she's going to be fine. It's hard to overcome fear, especially when one worries about their health a lot. That's where people like you and me come in, Karen. We need to stay strong to give them the support they require.

Are you a writer? Then you MUST enter this CONTEST!

Mary said...

We can offer prayers, encouragement and hand-holding but in the end the choice of action is theirs and theirs alone.
Sometimes we must recognize that we have to be strong enough to accept their choices whether or not it would have been the one we feel is correct.
My prayers for you and your someone.

Sharon Lippincott said...

At the risk of sounding simplistic, just yesterday I had a physician poo-poo my expression of FEAR. (How surprising is that?) My thought at the time was that I did not feel heard. Moving to the more general level, perhaps the person needs to feel heard. There is always the risk of being a "Job's Friend" without (care)FULL listening to the other's core self.

Blessings to you as you grapple with ways to remain supportive of your friend while also protecting your POM. ... What is the message in this for YOU?

arlee bird said...

Fear is an anticipatory dread of the unknown. I've never feared relocation because I had done it so much since childhood that I was accustomed to it. To gain knowledge and adapt to the coming changes by eliminating imagined outcomes and facing reality can make a big difference.

A person facing the possibility of having a serious health problem should first start learning everything they can about it and in what ways they can adapt. Staying in close contact with doctors is vital. If they are able, volunteering to work with others with the same or similar problems can help take the attention off of themselves if they truly focus outside themselves. Listening to others who have knowledge and learn how they've coped can be worthwhile.

It the outcome could be impending death, getting ones affairs in order can be a constructive distraction to one's own pain or discomfort. Reassessing one's life and accomplishing what one is able and letting go of unrealistic expections can help bring perspective to one's life.

Friends and relatives should be supportive but not fall into a destructive path of pity and focusing on the negative. Positivity and optimism can do wondrous things, while acceptance and spiritual hope can bring peace and comfort.

Tossing It Out

Helen Ginger said...

I think you're doing the right thing, trying to keep her from falling into depression or inaction. That's not easy.

Stay strong Karen.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

We can't sympathize, but empathize, or we get caught up in it, too.

Jemi Fraser said...

It's so hard trying to help folks in that situation. Listening without judging is probably the best.

one planet said...

wish you the right action in the right moment .. just be there and say I m here

Vicki Rocho said...

Maybe you just need to talk out the worst case scenario so it loses its power? Then you can introduce more positive thoughts to take root where the fear was? Fear is a weed, after all.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

Did your friend self-diagnose or did a physician confirm the disease? If it’s the first, maybe offering to go to the doctor with him/her would help; if it’s the second, suggesting getting a second opinion might be an option. In the meantime, it sounds like you’re doing the right thing by listening and remaining optimistic.

loveable_homebody said...

Wow, now that you mention it I really see how fear can be contagious. It really is a belief system that we can start to absorb without knowing how to stop. "What if?" is probably the hardest question there is because there isn't an answer just endless possibilities. I hope your friend is okay and that she can find some relief of her symptoms and dignity and sympathy from medical professionals. You seem like a great friend.

I seem to have an intuition for fear and sadness as I get nervous or stressed when I witness or sense it in other people. It's one reason I find So You Think You Can Dance? sometimes difficult to watch.

Crystal Clear Proofing said...

This is an excellent question, since fear does indeed immobilize us, at least it does me.

You didn't say anything about your friend having seen a doctor. Obviously one of two things would come from that, but any answer is better than none.

Pray and continue to be supportive. This you can do for your friend. You must remember to take care of you too - and by that I mean guard yourself against falling into the *negativity pit.*


The Old Silly said...

Mmm, that's a tough one. The Law of Attraction will come into play severely if one fears the worst - dwelling on it attracts it. Try helping this someone to focus on health, prosperity, spiritual growth, and meditate on all things they are blessed with and that make them happy. Easier said than done depending on the psyche of the person, but ... the worst thing to do is dwell on it and fear the worst.

Cyndi said...

First and foremost, I hope your friend is ok and that you are right about the symptoms being a wake up call.

I have had no luck in getting someone in the grips of fear to re-frame their thinking. None. It has to come from each individual. We all have to learn our own lessons. It sucks. I have talked to many a friend, family member, etc. about negative thoughts and only later after the crisis has passed have they said anything indicating that what I had said turned out to be true.

All we can control our own thoughts and your positive thoughts cannot be shaken as you know in your heart you are right.

Tabitha Bird said...

I feel for your friend. And I feel for you. Bu tI honestly don't think there is anything you can do or say to help her chose courage and faith over fear. That kind of choice has to come from within. I have watched people wear themselves out trying to help others stay strong. You just can't. You can be there. You can listen. But in the end your friend has to grab hold of either fear or faith. I wish your friend all the best. Look after you :)

Ellie said...

Fear and anxiety can be mind numbing. I have had it when my thyroid level was off. My first suggestion, this person needs a TSH(thryoid stimulating hormone panel). When the thyroid is off, it will exaggerate fear, anxiety and depression. Another thought is a hobby or class something this person could enjoy. Art, music, journaling, etc. A way to free up their emotions... Therapy may be needed or another Dr's opinion(medical assessment). A lot of hugs n' prayers, won't hurt! You and yours are in my thoughts~