Monday, July 9, 2012

Lets address those fears of mine...

I've been living with fears both known and unknown for many years of my life. In ways, fears have become my friends and I have learned to change my activities or my actions to help my fears feel safer in my life.  That is until this past March.

I turned 47 years old in February and this seems to be the year for me to take my head out of the sand and start learning about things/subjects I thought would never be an issue and to also look at and find my fears and begin the processes of overcoming, conquering, and letting go of said fears.

Fear #1: Camping on my own. Even before I was married (17 years ago) I was so fearful of the idea of going camping by myself. How does a girl get over this? She camps. Now granted I didn't go by myself, I took my two daughters and we camped at our mountain property so there was some sense of familiarity. Because the men of our family were at scout camp and I wasn't going to be sleeping well at home I figured this would be a good time to start addressing this fear.
Indeed the days were just fine and peaceful but the three nights were rough emotionally. The first night I could hear cars driving bye, then about 2am a truck came very slowly just creeping along and I realized I had nothing to protect us with except the panic button on my key chain which if I activated it someone might have heard. The second night I realized people just drive slowly past our place because they have finished driving up a steep hill. So finally on the third night, I am truly prepared to sleep. I have a girl on each side of me, ear plugs now in my ears and we feel warm as bugs all snuggled together. Amazingly I fell into my first deep sleep in a week when at about midnight I hear a vehicle pull up close to my tent. Talk about a sudden adrenaline rush! I wake up enough to realize I heard a diesel truck! I yell out "Gove, is that you?" "Yeeeep" I hear in reply. What a relief to my poor heart. We spend the next hour talking about how Beth started all the camp fires and I made fantastic bacon and pancakes on the open fire griddle. And then I couldn't get back to sleep just when I thought I would have the perfect nights rest out in the open fresh air. I would not call camping on my own a fear anymore but it does come with some apprehension. I think I should have a hand gun next time and some pepper spray. I do feel empowered to camp now and can even invite other moms and girls to come with me. I don't have to wait for a man to help me and that is kind of a nice feeling.

My next fear is pretty personal and I'm not sure how to go about address it. I think it is possible to live in fear of what another person is going to do or choices they will make if you are not there to help, prevent, check up on, etc.. I think this is called co-dependency.  Anyway I decided in March that I would attend a 12 Step program to help me. I at times realize that having this fear also makes me feel trapped and annoyed.
The funny thing about programs like this ( I'm attending and an LDS family support meeting) is that what you come for is usually not the real problem. I was hearing people talking about codependency and I started to wonder if what I feel is control issues. So besides working on the 12 steps, (I'm on step 2) I have just started reading one of Melody Beatie's books called Codependent No More. It's interesting. I just finished reading a long list  traits of being codependent in several different categories. I think we probably all have some of these traits just at different levels of intensity. There is also something nice and perhaps therapeutic in gathering around in a circle, sharing ideas or pains without any judgement and just feeling love in the room when attending meetings.

Fear #3: Fear is felt because of ignorance. Ignorance is not bliss. It's terrible. What will happen? Will this never end?  Well the fact is we all live in the age of easy access and even when you are not trying to access you can stumble across pornography on the web. Filters don't keep naked pictures off of google images. I was going to keep my head in the sand until I realized I could not fear this epidemic. I needed to be prepared to help combat against this morally crippling infection. And really lets face it, our kids are going to be exposed one way or another and it was so nice to learn about how to share with my kids what to do when you are accidentally exposed to pornography. It's really important to be able to talk about it and take it out of their mind through words.  It's also nice to be aware of signs that can indicate a problem and to be able to help a family member early on is worth everything there is!
So if you don't know where to start here are a couple of books I would recommend.
The first, and my favorite (so far in my learning) is Understanding Pornography and Sexual Addiction: A Resource for LDS Parents and Leaders. This was a comfortable way to start learning. I love all the resources, sample lessons for different age groups, letters of addicts and parents of addicts, handouts, what to ask when dating seriously, important articles and much more. I'm still working on the articles and I have been grateful for the lesson outlines to guide some of our fhe lessons.
Second is What's the Big Deal about Pornography? A Guide for the Internet Generation. Written for youth to read and parents too. Many youth don't have any idea the side effects and the author has tried to be straight forward about what will happen and how perspectives change.
Thirdly is a book I am just starting. I like the table of contents and I can see that what the subjects are covering is not just for a sexual addiction but for many others like compulsive eating, anger, you name it. The book is called, Putting on the Armor Of God: HowTo Win Your Battles With Satan

So these seem to be the fears most pressing on my mind. I do fear I'll never have another restful nights  sleep again, I fear my teeth will never be white and my silver hair will only continue to spread..along with my lower body; but these I can live with. How terrible to let fear keep me from learning.I need to be ready to help guide a family member or a friend to find hope. A little discomfort in the beginning is worth the understanding in the long run.

Fear had interrupted my life...
Fear had stolen my security....
Fear had disrupted my peace...
Fear had disturbed my sleep...
Fear had me constantly on guard and unable to wind down either awake or during rest.... 
And now FEAR was starting to impact my health and quality of life!
-Latosha Brown

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