Don't let fear hold you back
Fear is defined as 'an unpleasant emotion caused by the threat of danger, pain or harm.' Not only does fear invoke an uncomfortable emotion, it can also manifest physically as well. It can cause changes in the way the brain and even organs function. Preempting situations in which you may experience fear can cause anxiety. It can cause you to feel worried and scared. You can get butterflies in your stomach, feel sick, shaky and sweaty. We all experience difference degrees of anxiety in different situations. One of the things we often hear in order to beat fear is to face it head on. Confront your fear and not let it control you. Sometimes it is easier said than done.
One of the things I often hear from people who contact me about the blog is that they would really like to go on an investigation, but they are scared. Some are scared of the dark, but some are scared at the possibility that the things that go bump in the night that keep our imaginations stimulated could actually be real. I know this held me back from attending my first investigation for many years. Eventually I guess I just decided to do it and as scared as I was I stuck with it and here we are. I have coached many people through their very first investigation. When you think about it, what an honour it is being able to share this kind of moment with a complete stranger. Some of them have had some sort of light bulb moment or profound experience that has sparked their love of paranormal research. The fact that I was able to play a small part in that is quite humbling. We as experienced investigators may take it for granted sometimes because we do it every single week. I know sometimes I long for the kind of experience when I am not overthinking things, trying to debunk and just letting it happen spontaneously. It does often spark a reignited flame.
It is easy for me to sit here and tell you to face your fears and just go and do it, but in reality perhaps I need to take my own advice. There is a lot of things I personally fear that perhaps hold me back. In the same way it took me years to attend my very first paranormal investigation, there are opportunities I am passing by quite simply because I am scared and they make me feel uncomfortable. I am not sharing this information for comfort or encouragement. I am sharing it to show you that you are not alone. Social media can be quite a destructive tool. We 'live our best lives' on social media. We share our perfectly pre meditated and constructed photos showing us having the time of the lives ..... all the time. We show how happy we are, how we are out investigating the paranormal with all our friends. We are all smiling having a great time. It is a 1 second snap shot of an entire night, and we make it look effortless. What you may not see in my photos is that it took me hours to build up the courage to leave the house because I felt anxious. What you may not see is strained relationships behind the smiles. I know particularly in my case in the past, I smiled through the physical pain I was feeling at the time. Sometimes it was crippling. No one really knew that I suffered from chronic pain, because it is not really something you advertise on social media every day. I didn't exactly do an announcement at the beginning of each event. I remember one investigation I was doing I had to lie on the floor I was in so much pain. The only person that knew was my brother and we eventually had to go home because I couldn't go on. Earlier that night I had posted photos of me smiling expressing my excitement to be at such a magnificent location. An investigation that was almost a waste of time as I barely got through 1 EVP session.
About 20 minutes after this photo I was on the floor in pain.
I have advertised in the past some of the great radio interviews I have been very lucky to of been asked to do. What you didn't hear in these interviews were the hundreds of excuses I was coming up with in my head to try and get out of it. What you didn't hear was the fear in my voice of simply not wanting to do it because I was so nervous. What you haven't seen is the number of interviews I have said no to simply out of fear. Fear that my strong Australian accent sounds too 'boganish'. Fear that I say the word um too much. Fear that people will think I have no idea what I am talking about. Fear that no one will really be interested in what I have to say. Again I am not looking for comfort or encouragement, these are the real things I experience. These are the real things others experience too. We just don't really talk about it. When I spoke at Earthcore, when I prepared my speech for Paracon and when I ran my paranormal experiments and theory workshop, I spoke with confidence and faked my way through the whole thing. What you didn't see was that I was scared. Scared that I would make a mistake. Scared that people would think 'why are are we here listening to her? What does she know?'. I thought so many times that day of not doing the talk and just doing the practical part. I really had to force myself. I am so glad that I did. Once I overcame the fear, I enjoyed speaking. My confidence grew and I received great feedback. If I didn't do it, I would have regretted it. Life is too short for regrets.
I didn't show it, but I was petrified!
So here I am 11 weeks post hysterectomy and I haven't been on an investigation in 3 months. I am quite keen to get back out there, but let me tell you that fear and anxiety is creeping back. What if I goto the investigation and I have forgotten how to do it? What if I don't like it anymore? What if I get tired and need to finish early? Then there is just the mental barrier of having to leave the house. My little sanctuary that is my home. It is my bubble and I am safe here. To leave my house means I am walking out into the unknown. The unknown is scary, and the unknown causes fear and anxiety. It is so much easier for me to sit here on my beloved macbook pro (which is literally sitting in my lap wherever I go) typing my thoughts and communicating through writing. I know though that I cannot keep going on this way. I know I have to leave the house. I know I have to break that barrier and just throw myself back into it. I know I will love it and I know it will be just like riding a bike .... you don't forget. I know all of this, but try telling that to my anxiety.
I am slowly taking steps to really put myself out there again. Yes the internet is a scary place, particularly for a blogger. You are laying your thoughts bare for people to criticise and pick apart. When it comes to the paranormal field, it can be a nasty place. I am actually really lucky that you guys are quite kind and amazing people. We can have respectful conversations and even disagree with one another without getting nasty. It certainly makes it that much easier to do. I have my first radio interview of the year coming up and I have agreed to a second later in the year (which I ummm and ahhhhed about a lot). I am going to pick and choose any media I do because it really has to be the right fit. You don't have to do something just because an opportunity comes your way. It has to feel right. I will one day slowly start up the live streams again and get back to putting myself out there but that is another big mental challenge to get past. Hitting that Go Live button for me is terryfying. I have slowly gotten back into investigating and I am heading into that aspect by grabbing that fear by the Mel Meter and spiking at 1.21 gigawatts (yes I know bad joke). It really is the only way to beat it.
Don't be like me and let your fear hold you back from something that you could potentially love doing. I really wish I had jumped in and done my first investigation 17 years ago when I really wanted to it. Instead I waited and waited and only did it 6 years ago. I think of all the missed opportunities I said no to simply because I scared. Being scared is normal. It is a normal emotion. Normal is a pretty odd word to use in the paranormal field. Everything we do in this field is unknown. The unknown is scary. It is OK to be scared. The paranormal field has some pretty amazing people in it that have been scared at some point too. We may not show it, but it's there. They will support you and they will help you because we want you to explore the paranormal. We want you to ask questions and join us on this crazy ride. You know what one of things that makes it less scary is? Friends! You will make a heap of them and they will be life long friends you can't imagine not talking to. They have been scared too. Let's hold hands and jump in and do this together. Don't let your fear stop you from doing something you love. If you want to go on an investigation do it! If you want to start a creative project do it! Now is the time is stop being scared and hit that publish button. You won't regret it! I know I don't!
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