Sunday, 4 October 2009

I walked to Chepstow this morning. Its a long walk, and when I got there I realised that the Coffee #1 in town was already open, so I popped in to get a caffeine boost for the walk home. I didn't take anything to read with me, and I can't sit in a cafe with not book but luckily they had a small stash of books just inside the door for people to read while they drink their coffee. I picked up a book called 'Feel the Fear and do it Anyway' - or something like that. Has anyone read it? I didn't get far, but what I did read was vaguely interesting so I may go back to pick up where I left off - or maybe even get my own copy! I am a huuuuuuge coward - about just about everything - and I would like to learn some coping mechanisms to work through that, as I feel that I sometimes / often miss out on life through fear of possible consequences that probably won't ever occur - and might well not be that bad if they did! The main fear I have a problem with would be fear of embarrassment - looking stupid / weak / cowardly - sometimes it makes me do things that also scare me, or things that do make me look stupid, which is just ridiculous. One example: on a cruise in the Caribbean a few years ago M, his father and I had all booked a trip to scuba dive - a tester dive for people who weren't qualified. I'd wanted to try that for absolutely years, but was put off by the idea of getting water in my mask, but my father in law had tried a similar trip in Greece and told me how great it was, so we gave it a go. As soon as I got in the water I was very doubtful. Then we had to do an exercise where the breathing tube was knocked out of our mouth while we were under water, we had to circle our arm around to hook the tube and get it back into our mouth then blow out the water. The first time I tried I had a complete panic attack and went straight to the surface. I desperately didn't want to do that exercise, but we were on a boat in the Caribbean Sea, we'd paid to dive, and I was too embarrassed to admit how scared I was - so I did the exercise, then went for the dive. As it happens I didn't enjoy it much, my ears hurt all the way around despite my efforts to equalise the pressure, and the visibility was so poor we saw very little in the way of fish, but I did make it round. The question is, was that 'Feeling the fear (of the dive) and doing it anyway' - or was it forcing myself to deal with the lesser fear because of the greater fear (embarrassment)? As part of this particular fear I've always hated to be the centre of attention. As far as I'm concerned, if no-one's looking at you, no-one will see you mess up. I've spent a lot of my life trying to be invisible for that very reason. The stupid thing is that I am simultaneously depressed by the thought that I am making absolutely no impression on the world - that if I dropped dead today no-one in the world would even notice, much less be upset about it. Am I weird or what? Anyhow, I want to stop being ruled by my fears. Randomly facing odd fears (like taking part in a Public Speaking Competition while at school, or doing the scuba dive) doesn't seem to help much, so I think I need a technique or an approach to work through... any ideas?
Enough rambling for now (and don't worry, this has only come up because I spotted that book, not because I've depressed myself thinking about this)
Food today:
All bran with strawberries and a nectarine
A big lunch because I went for a big walk this morning - probably about 9 miles - and I was HUNGRY when I got home!
I had a mug of home-made soup to warm with me up (with some green beans added), an egg white omelette filled with peppers and onion, and a salad topped with feta cheese

Stir fried vegetables (from a stir fry pack) and honey & black pepper chicken. The chicken was very tasty, but the black pepper left my mouth on fire - so I had to have a few teaspoons of mango sorbet to cool down!

An almond biscotti (with a black Americano) on my walk, a protein bar, a Dr Karg spelt muesli crispbread, and a gooseberry yoghurt - yum! I haven't had anything with gooseberry for years A long time ago - when I was doing my degree in Biology - I was hooked on gooseberry fool. I thought it was fairly healthy because it was fruit based and not too sweet, didn't realise how much cream went to give it that texture - or how much sugar it took to make it even that sweet! Once I found out I stopped getting them, but the yoghurt was only 150 calories so it fitted into my allowance. Oh yes, and a few chunks of melon.
Weight today 10 st 3 (143 lbs) - not as good as I'd hoped after yesterday, but not too bad!


  1. I think you are making an impact on the world. I am enjoying reading your blog and I know others do too. Fear is a big one for most of us. We are all afraid of something. It is the courageous ones who are willing to talk about their fears. I work with my breath when I am fearful. I try to take deep and slow breaths and it helps.

  2. Chris, I face these same issues and I think, at least for me, that at the core of this is the fear that whatever is going on WILL become overwhelming and that I cannot cope. It's not that it is right now, but that it might be. If that makes any sense.

    As for the fear of ridicule/embarrassment, I have that too. What helps me is to try to realize that other people do not think about me as much as I think they do. That's such a hard belief for me to shake, because it feels like the truth. But it is not. People don't care that much about what I do or how I look, so I really am free to go and do as I want - and I don't have to do any of it perfectly.

    And if I were perfect, people would probably hate that, too!

  3. Hi Chris. I've read that book myself (by Susan Jeffers? or similar name) many years ago and I think it's one of the few self help books that I've ever found useful. I'd recommend reading it through but the basic message is in the title! The main thrust is that people who are successful in life feel the same fear as everyone else but they go ahead anyway eg start their own business, move jobs, ask a person out or whatever it is. Whereas the non-successful people are those who let fear stop them doing things which could potentially improve their life. It makes a lot of sense.

    Although I've read the book I don't think I've applied the lesson learned in many years! I did for a while though. So thanks for the reminder.

    I have always tried to be invisible too. Wearing black baggy clothing even when I'm thinner, no make up etc. It has eased a bit as I get older - but then you become more invisible anyway with age. Is that a depressing thought or what?! Weird to find it depressing when it's what you want as well. I suppose blogging is great for me in that way because I'm "invisible" yet still able to contribute.

    I think many people would notice if you died esp your husband and your mum to name just two! But I suppose you mean in the world at large - but even those who have fame in their lifetime are usually quickly forgotten except by their own family.

    If you do want lasting fame you still have options - write that novel or go into scientific research!

    I've never tried an egg white only omlete and I have to say it doesn't sound very tasty - just rubbery? But so many dieters eat them. I just think the calorie difference between say 3 or 4 egg whites and 2 whole eggs just isn't enough to make up for all the nutrients you're missing from the yolks, esp when you're maintaining. But maybe they taste better than I think!

    I've had a few packs of stir fry veg in the last week which I cook in the microwave and they've been very tasty.

    About the diving - I think it's probably better that you carried on with it because otherwise it would have conquered you rather than the other way round. And I think it was very brave to do the exercise after a panic attack. Hopefully you'll be able to get more out of next time (maybe upcoming holiday?) with better conditions so you can actually see something and that would make it more worthwhile.

    Best wishes,
    Bearfriend xx