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May 2016


Coping with My Fears

It has been a very long time since I wrote in my blog. I should start out by acknowledging this. I told myself that when I had something to write about, I would write again. But I wouldn’t write just to write.

So what have I been doing? I have been living! I stepped away for a bit to find my new happy. My health is currently steady. I am in maintenance mode. I take chemo pills every other day, do labs twice a week, and have chemo in my port once a month. Overall I am doing great. I am alive, and it is crazy that I am.

It’s been almost a year and a half since I experienced a fear I didn’t even know I had. Cancer has been life changing, and in addition, this year has brought on so many other potential fears. To name a few:

  • One of my best friends just left to do his final deployment. Will he come back the same as when he left?
  • My cousin, who suffered from bipolar disorder and was more of a very close friend growing up, unfortunately ended his life. Will his young kids and family be ok?
  • My aunt just found out yesterday that her Brain Cancer is back after 9 years of remission. They won’t know the results for another 10 days.
  • My good friends have a 1 year old daughter that is suffering from AML, will she be ok?
  • In my business, I have an important person/employee leaving our studio, and it’s the busy season quickly approaching. How will I get someone new trained in time?
  • Will I keep bringing in enough money to paying all of my HUGE bills
  • April is venturing into a new job. Will she like it, is it the right move?
  • The photography market is changing and there are a lot of new photographers that keep popping up. Will the value of photography stay where it is?
  • Then there is my own health fears. If someone near me coughs, does that mean they have the flu, and I will catch it? Should I eat here? Is it ok to travel? Will my Cancer ever come back????

Those are just a few on the long list of my own potential fears. Each person I mentioned has their own fears also. The list goes on and on for everyone. We all have a laundry list. If you just focus on the fears, the world can seem pretty bleak. It is stressful and depressing. So how do we fight the fears? How do we maintain our sanity? How do we stay happy in the present?

To fight my own fears, my biggest weapon is faith. I don’t necessarily mean faith from a religious sense, or maybe I do without realizing it… For me, faith is more about trusting in my decisions. Even if the judgements I make are sometimes based on intuition, and not my own experiences, I have to believe they will be correct. As long as I learn and grow from my own choices, I will continue to evolve.

I don’t think it is necessarily healthy to remove all fears. We have them for a reason. Ironically, though, it is typically the fear we create in our minds that causes the majority of our pain and suffering. Once we have the outcome, whether it is good or “bad”, the coping or healing has already begun.

It is sort of like eating good fat or bad fat. Good sugar or bad sugar… There are fears that are necessary and good, as they keep you cautious. But fears of the unknown get in the way of happiness and can be bad. They keep us from taking good risks. These are the fears that need to be conquered.

Over the course of running my business for 16 years and then going through a year and a half of fighting Cancer, I have developed techniques for myself to get through what I consider to be the “bad” fears. I will share some of them in hopes that it can help someone else have a better day :)

  1. The first step is to take a moment and acknowledge the fears. The quicker you can do this the better. By doing this, you don’t get sucked in and overtaken. It is really easy to go into that panic mode. The heart starts racing, the mind wanders, the body tightens up, and now your body is working against you, rather than for you. Just take a moment and stare right at the fear. Acknowledge its existence and then stop for a moment.
  2. Don’t jump too far ahead. That is when most of our fears grow.
  3. I then think about the things that are outside my control, and have faith and trust that it will all work out, as it is supposed to. There just isn’t any purpose worrying about something you have no control over. (I know, easier said than done). If anything works out differently than I had hoped or expected, then I will eventually discover why, and will grow from it.
  4. I then list out what I think is in my control. Once it is listed out, I don’t look at the entire list. I look at the first step on that list and start to execute the tasks. If you look at everything you have to do, it is like putting gas on a fire. Its overwhelming and then allows fears to grow. Just go one step at a time. I try to simplify everything into step 1, step 2… Before jumping 10 steps ahead.
  5. Finally, after I do what I can, I accept and trust the outcome. I did what I could, and what I couldn’t control worked out the way it was supposed to… even if I couldn’t understand why at the time.

All of these techniques are easier said than done. I still have moments of being overtaken by my fear. But I am aware of it, and try to quickly combat it. If we live our lives in fear, I truly believe that we never really lived.

As we get older, there is so much more to fear, with all of our responsibilities, our childrens’ well being, our personal health, paying our bills, and the list goes on and on… But if we can have the faith and acknowledge life as it is, then we can still be very happy. We won’t let our days be consumed with fear. We just have to trust, and know that everything will be ok.

Rachel and Kenneth, you will be ok. Mom and Dad, Shosh and Brian, Brandon, Rachel and I will be ok, with whatever lies in front of us. Marsha and Gene and Rachel, you will get through this. The kids will be ok. Tim and Lynn, Hazel will be ok, you will be ok. Ryan, you will be ok. Cheryl and Nathaniel, Ryan will be ok. Kristin Q, you will be ok. You have gotten through everything life has thrown at you. You will be ok. Megan, if you’re reading this, your mom is more than ok. She is smiling down at you and your family everyday, but especially this Sunday. I know this. I really do know this. Your family will be ok. April, you will be ok. April, I will be ok. Jill, you made a tough decision, but you made one, so you will be ok. My business will be ok. Everyone in it will be ok. Those that are struggling financially, just strive to be the best at what you do, and you will be ok.

Lets all just take a moment to shake off those fears, and trust that we will be ok :) If you feel like it, click on the comment wall and write down one of your current biggest fears. I think we will see how connected we all are. Then let’s see if we can all let those fears go.