As soon as the chair lift started going up, higher and higher, I could almost feel the negative thought creep into my mind and take control of my body. All around me, people at the state fair appeared to be enjoying the fair without a care in the world. My son sat smiling next to me, without a clue that I was freaking out on the inside.
My mind was shouting, “Get off this thing! Now!” My legs were felt weak and I was paralyzed with fear. I knew I had no choice but to stay the course. I was hanging over the state fair grounds on a chair lift with my 10 year old son next to me. Where would I go?
I focused on my breathing, feeling my breathe going in and out. Slowing the pace of my breaths. I checked the safety of the chair I was sitting on, the bar was secure, many other people were on the ride. I gently squeezed my arm around my son to give him a hug, but I was very careful not to move the chair too much in the process!
For a few minutes I felt better, then I started thinking, “How long is this ride!” and wanted, again, to get off.
I looked around to see the fairgrounds and listened to the variety of music that drifted up in the air as my son and I had a “relaxing” ride on the chair lift. People going the other way on the chair looked very relaxed and children were smiling and laughing. Why was I afraid? I knew, rationally, that there was nothing to fear, but historically the fear of heights has been a problem for me.
The good news is that dealing with these types of fears is possible and, even though I nearly dove off the chair lift to ease my anxiety, I did survive by using the techniques that I had used in the past to help minimize anxiety in social situations.
If you are struggling with anxiety-producing situations in your life, remember that it will get better. Keep the simple steps to minimize anxiety in mind and find other ways to become more present. There is no anxiety in the present.
It is my hope that if you are ever ‘freaking out on the inside’ you have the courage to recognize what is happening and believe that you will be OK. Everything takes time, so be easy on yourself as you deal with difficult situations in your life. Have faith and keep moving forward.
Sending my love,