Overcoming Fear

Personal

Out of many facts about me, the fact that I am an assault survivor was not an issue I ever thought I would need to discuss on my outdoor blog. I have been trying to redirect people to this site for personal information since early 2014.

And so – I am still feeling my way around how to express this issue. Although I have fought not to let aggression towards me as a child affect the present, moving back to Newcastle meant that those old fears began to affect all aspects of my life.

One of the more enlightened decisions made by the authorities was to refer me to a cognitive therapist when I lived in London. Since then I have successfully used techniques from a type of cognitive therapy to help me to overcome my anxieties and remain positive. To this end I set myself various targets to master (it doesn’t matter how small they are). I then make a list of how I will achieve those targets and continually appraise my own progress in achieving each aim towards my ultimate goal. At first my targets were tiny things which seemed huge at the time, like going for a walk.

Storyboard
What did you do in the war mum? Storyboard

I used to write it all down but I have been using these techniques for so long that they are totally internal now. I have rarely explained them like this, as I’ve never considered it to be all that interesting to anyone other than myself. The techniques may not work for everyone but they continue in the background, whatever else is happening in my life.

Rimers of Eldritch
Set model for the Rimers of Eldritch by Lanford Wilson ©

To illustrate using an example of this process, I often set targets which challenge or conquer my fears, so I set myself a target to become experienced at wild camping on my blog. I made the mistake of sharing this challenge on my outdoor Twitter account and it was savaged by trolls.

I Pagliacci
Set sketch for I Pagliacci by Leoncavallo

I hope that some good will come of my making this post, and that it may be helpful to some readers. My advice is not to share your journey on public social media platforms such as Twitter, as trolls can and will undo the work of twenty years in half an hour if you let them.

Remember that this is entirely their problem and not yours. Hopefully social media safety people will realise this eventually and toughen up their responses.

January 2017.