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#290373 - 06/05/09 12:34 PM Fear of Bad News
Clockwise Offline

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Pennsylvania
Yes, more fear. This seems to be getting rediculous, I know. I've come to realize that I am afraid of bad news. Peope get bad news all the time and it's not about life or death or extremelly terrible either, it's just general things. In particular I am afraid of phone calls and letters in the mail. When I get mail from my bank I'm so scared that it will be something bad that I don't open it until a month later and when I do it's nothing but them updating me on my bank account or telling me about their new products or something. I was always owning money to my bank because I was going over my bank balance. I've paid over a thousand dollars in overdraft fees because I was too afraid to check my balance so I went over it all the time.

The same with phone calls. I'm still out of a job and all I need to do is call my union rep back so I can get the ball rolling. I havent done it because I'm afraid of him being mad at me for not calling him for so long. I just put things like this off and it's causing me pain. At first I thought it was just teenage pacrastination (sp?) now I'm starting to believe that I'm just afraid. I assume it's always bad new no matter what. I also haven't seen my T in about 3 months. All I have to do is go online and re-apply for insurance but I haven't because even though I know I have a problem part of me is afraid to admit it and doing something about it is admitting that I have a problem.

It seems like an easy fix, just push yourself and make the phone call or open the letter. It's not that easy of course. Not to mention I feel stupid for even having this fear. So what do I even try to do to get over this?


Yet another 24 hours.

#290376 - 06/05/09 01:16 PM Re: Fear of Bad News [Re: Clockwise]
Sans Logos Offline

Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 5796
Loc: in my own world in pittsburgh,...
clockwise, you're not so different than many of us in this regard.

since you have begun to embark on this odyssey of recovery, all of a sudden a whole new set of challenges lie before you. before coming to recovery, life was lived easily on automatic. most major decisions were not pondered, nor were they impeded or inhibited by a lack of inaction. the 'can or worms' had not been opened, and what energies were available for accomplishing life's tasks were poured into maintaining what had become regular patterns of behavior. there was not a lot of thought put it into it, because it just happened without effort. get up in the morning and go through the motions of the day, don't think much about tomorrow.

now however, since the wheels of recovery are turning, so much of the mechanism of personality is disrupted as a person begins to question the state of things, and begins slowly to disinvest in the modus operandi of the life lived prior to recovery. perceptions and feelings are now more sharp and evident than they once were, and the slit of the minds eye widens to to the appearance of so much more information, becoming ever so much more keenly aware of all of the previously unanswered questions, and it can become overwhelming. all this new information: the realization that the old self-management techniques no longer serve can leave a person befuddled in a polarized state not knowing which way to turn.

but this is not an end, but rather the beginning of the end of the old life, and as well the beginning of a new approach to living.

in recovery we learn to do one thing at a time. we painstakingly sometimes have to lift our limbs, put one foot in front of the other, often feeling like walking through molasses to get from point 'a' to point 'b'. since you have made a nice list of the things that you need to do, it's apparent your organizational skills are working well for you. you just need now to make a decision to go ahead and do each of those things on your list. start with today and pick one thing to do. then wait a couple of days and do one more thing. each one of those things you mention only need take a few minutes of your time, but if you think of them as a big lump of things that need done, then you will be easily overwhelmed. one thing at a time.

as has been said, feelings are not facts. fear is just a feeling, a sense of foreboding. rather than say 'i am afraid' maybe think of it differently instead, such as 'fear is surrounding me' and see it as an object separate from you. if you do that you will not wear its chains.

good luck, and remember the immortal words of FDR: we have nothing to fear but fear itself.

keep the faith bro,


#290469 - 06/06/09 03:51 AM Re: Fear of Bad News [Re: Sans Logos]
roadrunner Offline
Administrator Emeritus

Registered: 05/02/05
Posts: 22045
Loc: Carlisle, PA

I would see this fear of yours as related to your fear of monsters. Here's why (this will repeat in part what I have already said to Chris/hidden15 on a thread of his).

A child gradually becomes aware of the world around him, and if he's growing in a healthy nurturing environment he will begin to make some basic assumptions: 1) he cannot be catastrophically harmed, 2) he has worth, and 3) the world makes sense and can be understood. But if he is abused, that trashes all these assumptions and he comes to see the world as a very unsafe place - even if he is never harmed in his own home.

I can tell you I was certainly like this, and my case may illustrate how all this connects. The abuser seemed all-powerful to me, and when he told me that if I told then perhaps someone would run over my dog, I believed him instantly. I would sit at the dining-room table wondering if he would enter our house and just drag me away - I thought my parents would never even see him. I was scared of everything: sounds, phone calls, packages, whatever. If I were alone in the house I would be afraid to use the bathroom in case the abuser came into our house and cornered me there. I would panic so bad I would black out.

And monsters???? Oh man! I would lay in my bed and pull the covers up around my neck so vampires wouldn't be attracted to me, when I saw 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea I feared the giant squid might be under my bed, I checked closets to see who might be there, and I feared that hands would reach out to me from nowhere and do things to me. And this wasn't just as a kid. I was in my 30s when I saw Alien, and that gave me trouble for many a night.

All that is fear of a world that appears to be crazy and makes no sense to the boy, Terrick. You certainly aren't alone in these fears; lots of the guys here know this one VERY well.

Your fear of calling the union rep is part of this too: the idea seems unsafe because doing anything that isn't absolutely routine seems unsafe. Sometimes, however, we just have to walk through the fear and do these things anyway. As you see that the disastrous consequences you fear don't materialize, this will hopefully lessen your problem. It just takes time.

Much love,

Nobody living can ever stop me
As I go walking my freedom highway.
Nobody living can make me turn back:
This land was made for you and me.
(Woody Guthrie)

#290476 - 06/06/09 05:05 AM Re: Fear of Bad News [Re: roadrunner]
ericc Offline

Registered: 01/05/08
Posts: 1986
Me too Terrick! I've been right there. It has gotten better, I am certain of it (but not saying it's perfect). Also, Ron and Larry, very well said. Before I even read it I was thinking this exact same thing:

but if you think of them as a big lump of things that need done, then you will be easily overwhelmed. one thing at a time.

I used to (maybe still do, but less so) have quite the clutter in my apartment. It was so easy to just throw down the mail and ignore it. I would not talk to people for some time and fear that something bad might have happened to them or people that they and I knew (they are going to call and tell me someone has passed away for example or some other terrible tragedy will have taken place.) I still go through my periods where I don't answer my phone. It is fine if I just want some "me" time, but certainly I go through my isolation modes. But it seems to be getting better.

Ron's advice is key I think if looking for practical ways to address what you speak of. I slowly improved my living situation/apartment because I was able (not without struggle) to let go of thinking I had to address the clutter/other problems (and funny how these things were a parallel to my internal life as well) as a monolithic thing that needed an all or nothing solution. But I could instead tackle little bits one at a time without worrying about the bigger picture. As I slowly addressed things I noticed when I looked at the larger problem it slowly had become more manageable. And I also saw that I was developing better life and coping skills. And the funny thing I learned is that we are not born innate in knowing how to handle all this stuff (some do have an easier time of it, especially if their development path was not filled with bad stuff or they had good "modeling") but instead we learn as we go. I guess this would be that growth thing they keep talking about. Sure took me a long time to get the ball rolling on that one wink You are definitely not alone on this one.


#290486 - 06/06/09 06:55 AM Re: Fear of Bad News [Re: ericc]
Charlie24 Offline

Registered: 09/28/08
Posts: 562
I'm glad you shared this topic Terrick. I also struggled with this myself. Especially after September 11 I became a basket case. Just a total mess all the time. My gut was always in an uproar I was just fearful and for a while I had tried to convince myself I had Anthrax poisoning, I was so sure, boy was I wrong. It's amazing how powerful fear can be. It was spring 2002 and I was at the beach and something came over, just brought me a sense of calm, saying it was gonna be alright. To this day still don't know what happened to me there but I calmed down, learned things were gonna be okay. It felt good. Some might say it was God speaking to me, just don't know.

Fear can be a good thing in healthy amounts Fear can be a great little warning light, red flag that something is wrong. When it gets out of control as you've described that is when it becomes problematic. That you are able to recognize is a good step in recovery as they say. It gets bad when it starts to run our lives bud. That is when help or some form of intervention is advisable, from personal experience.

You seem to asking all the right questions and as you deal whit your abuse and growing up you will get there bud if you have the attitude you want to change.

All the guys who replied have some great advice. Good job guys.


#290497 - 06/06/09 10:39 AM Re: Fear of Bad News [Re: Clockwise]
Clockwise Offline

Registered: 03/03/09
Posts: 304
Loc: Pennsylvania
Thank you guys for your thoughts and consideration. I'm not sure exactly when this fear started but I'm definately aware that it is hurting me, although, I often pasify myself but saying that its the best thing for me.

I also understand what you guys mean when you say not to think of problems as one large lump of troubles but as one thing at a time. When I think about all the things I have to do (call my union rep, file for insurance, pay my credit card bill, etc.) it feels like I'm holding my own world on my shoulders. But when I do attempt to sort them out individually the pressure is reduced. I just wish I could be consistant in that. Sometimes I'll get up enough nerve to handle a problem and when its delt with that globe on my shoulders is reduced but then it will take me weeks or even months to handle another. That's part of the reason why so many things in my life are messed up and then I kick myself in the butt when they don't go right.

There is another fear that I didn't talk about origionally. In some ways its more embarrassing to talk about it. Sometimes I get the feeling that I'm being watched. I don't really like walking past open windows in my house and even when they are closed I sometimes get the feeling that someone could be peeking through the tiny spaces that aren't blocked and looking at me. Also, when I go outside and I walk to the store I feel like my neighbors and the people in the houses I wak past and the people driving by in their cars are looking at me. I almost always have my headphones on just so I have somehting to take my mind off of ot but it doesn't help as much as it used to. I still feel like I'm being followed. I wanted to learn how to ride a skateboard last summer but everytime I went outside I was so afraid of the people seeing me mess up that I just gave up. I wold have to wait for all the cars to drive by all the people with their kids and walking their dogs to disappear out of site and even then I still felt the eyes of my neighbors on my back. I gave up after less than a week and now the skateboard sits in my closed collect dust.

Believe it or not, it actually was worst. It actually got to the point that when I would go out into public I was firmly convinced that everyone, and I mean everyone (adults, elderly people, children, babies in their strolers, even animals), were ataring at me. Not in a menacing, evil or digusting way but just as if I had something on my face and they wanted to tell me to remove it but couldn't. It was like they were all whispering "Hey, there he is" to each other. I can't tell you how depressed I was. Every person I saw was some kind of monster. At school it was the same. I was painfully shy and the noise in the halls from all the people made my head want to explode. The paranoia took over my brain.

Luckly, my T was able to calm some of those fears. But since I have so insurance I haven't seen him in months. I do think I know where the fear originated. In early January of 2006 I was robbed of my iPod that I had just gotten for Christmas after getting off a train on my way back to my grandmothers house. The kids who did it (I say kids because I was 16 at the time and they didn't look much older than me) ran up behind me while I had my headphones in and punched me in the back of the head. I fell and my iPod slid out of my pocket. I wasn't hurt physically but the emotional scars were so gaping wide that for months I fantasized of beating and murdering those kids. From that day I have had this profound fear of people walking behind me. I constantly look behind me when I walk outside for fear of someone attacking me.

I have to end here for now. Sorry this is so long but I just had alot to say. Thanks again for the love guys.


Yet another 24 hours.


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