Overcoming Fear and Anxiety
If there’s one thing I learned about myself over the past year or so, it’s that I’m a very anxious person. I think it has to do with the massive amount of big life changes I’ve experienced in the past year. I planned a wedding, I moved to a new state, I got a new job, I became a military spouse, I got an even better new job – the list goes on. Many of these changes have come with responsibilities I haven’t experienced before.
All of a sudden, I’m finding myself fearful of doing the simplest things. For instance, making phone calls when I don’t know what to say. I honestly often write scripts in anticipation of nerve-wracking phone calls. I’ve also been putting things off for days and weeks because the thought of completing the tasks frightens me. I’ve never been like this before.
An instance that stands out in my mind happened last week. I recently got hired as an 11th grade English teacher for the upcoming school year. Totally cool, right?! Yes. But also, totally terrifying.
Last week HR called and offered me the job. After I got off the phone, my excitement quickly turned into panic. What exactly am I teaching? What books will we be reading? What does my classroom look like? Will the students make fun of me? I’m so young, they won’t respect me. When will I know what I’m teaching? What do I do now? Questions and thoughts like these raced through my mind, and I realized that I was turning this exciting new experience into something profoundly negative.
I knew I should’ve been happy. I mean, not only was I now a full-time teacher, but I was assigned a position teaching my dream grade/content! Yet, for whatever reason, I became incredibly anxious about the situation. Part of this was because I felt like I needed answers now in order to begin planning for the year ahead.
I am not good at waiting, and I needed to have some idea of what my school year is going to look like. So, I eventually decided to visit the school and ask for any information they could give me about my new position.
The thought of visiting the school and asking questions was terrifying to me. I actually put it off for quite a few days. At first, I said I’d go next week. Then, when next week came, I said I’d go tomorrow. I was always making excuses. And all the while, this task was hanging over my head like a storm cloud; it was negatively impacting my well-being.
Finally, I woke up one day, got ready, and forced myself to go in, despite how anxious I was feeling. And you know what? I survived. In fact, I came home with so much valuable information. I finally felt like I had some confidence to move forward on this new adventure. When I look back on that day or try to explain why I was feeling so nervous about it, I’m embarrassed at how silly it all sounds.
When I feel afraid of a new experience, I often need to remind myself that I’ve done it before. I’ve faced scary obstacles time and time again, and I’ve survived.
Basically, what I’m trying to say here is that fear can be a crippling little sucker, but we all have the power to overcome it. When we choose to be confident and act in the face of trepidation, we always come out stronger on the other side.
If you made it this far, thank you for hearing me out. Sometimes, I like to use this blog as a manner of self-reflection. Writing about this experience helped me understand the underlying reasons behind my anxiety, and it has eased my tensions about the whole scenario. I hope my little story about overcoming fear can inspire you to conquer a mountain of your own.
How do you press forward in the face of anxiety or fear?