Everyone feels afraid from time to time, and it's easy to feel embarrassed or helpless about it. Here are some ideas and advice for overcoming our fears.
Advice Questions about Feeling Afraid:
- "I'm really afraid of death, I'm not religious. At night, I think about how death is forever, for eternity. Yeah, I think dark thoughts. And I need help to get rid of them. Any advice?"
- "I have a really bad fear of needles (or vaccinations). After getting scared at the school immunizations, I feel as if I want to get this fear under control. Do you have any advice?"
- "I am really, really afraid of going to the doctor, I find going they're soooooo scary. I am TERRIFIED of hospitals, ambulances, or anything else that has to do with a doctor. Please help!!! How do I get over this fear? I have to have a physical soon and I most certainly do not want to go!!! I really need to overcome my fear, but I've had it for a really long time."
- "My parents both work. I have to stay home alone, and I'm scared. What should I do?"
- "Every night I get these panic attacks and I keep thinking that these ghosts or demons are gonna pop up and scare me or even posses me. I stay up to almost 6:00am every morning, thinking about this! I'm afraid of the dark and vampires. I start to see things and my heart races. I even cry it's so bad. I shake and toss and turn. I only feel better when my dad gets up for work or when it's daylight. I have a serious problem that I don't know how to fix."
- "Student council elections are coming up in my school. I want to run for VP. But first, I'm nervous to give a speech to some four hundred kids. Two, I'm a little bigger than some of the kids. I'm scared maybe they'll judge me on that. Any advice?"
- "This may sound weird, but I'm afraid of singing solos in front of lots of people. I'm okay when I act or speak in front of tons of people, but singing makes me really nervous and I always start singing bad when I am really nervous. I'm okay when I sing in groups. Can you help me handle my solos?"
- "I know this sounds babyish, but I have fear of the dentist. It just seems so horrifying to me. I'm really scared, because pretty soon I'm going to get a tooth yanked out. Any advice?"
- "I have public speaking problems. My teachers want me to read my essay in front of my class and I refuse. It's not only in front of class but also when I'm talking to a cashier I get nervous. English is my first language so I don't understand what is happening!"
- "I've got a problem. Last year I got a really expensive snowboard. Well, I'm just a learner. Every time I get off the chair lift I fall and humiliate myself! I love snowboarding. All my friends keep telling me to just keep practicing but the more I go, the more I fall and the more I fall, the more embarrassed I am. And the more embarrassed I am, the less I will want to go. If I never go, I will never learn so I don't know what to do!! Help me, I hate this situation!"
- "I'm addicted to the computer. I have a habit of always going on. How do I stop?"
- "I would like to know how to overcome my fear of heights because I have got this event coming up and you have to abseil (climb down a rope) off the top of a climbing wall. I know it isn't much but it scares me to think about it. If you can help, please do!"
- “I have a fear of talking in front of people. Even if it’s just a few people, I get nervous talking out loud in front of them. I get sweaty, and my heart beats so fast since English is not my first language. I can speak English fine, but I'm not confident enough to speak out loud because I might make a mistake in my pronunciation and my peers would laugh at me. What should I do to overcome this fear?”
- “I'm 12 and I'm still afraid or the dark!!!!!! But I'm mostly afraid
of vampires. Whenever I'm left alone downstairs, my parents tell me
to shut off everything. I turn off everything a little far from the
stairs, then when I turn off the 2 final switches, I run up 13 steps
just to get to the upstairs living room. Anyway, how should deal with
my fear? PLEASE HELP!”
- “I'm a real scaredy-cat. I am afraid of rides, mostly roller coasters. If my friend forces me to come on a ride that I'm really scared of, I cry before the ride starts and the guy operating the ride lets me off. At the end of the school year the school band is going to a rating festival in Pennsylvania, and afterwards we are going to Hershey Park. I hate 80% of the rides there, and I'm afraid people are going to make fun of me for refusing to go on most of the rides. Please help me! (If your advice has anything to do with going on the rides I'm scared of, I WON'T DO IT!)”
- “I'm ten years old and will be going to summer camp this summer...I'm worried that there might not be privacy when I change clothes or bathe. I'm also worried about being away from home and my family two weeks straight…What can I do?”
- “Ever since I found out I had asthma, I have just been sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I'm afraid to go exercise or that I might have an asthma attack. What should I do to get over my fear? A couple of my friends have asthma and my mom says I should talk to them. Should I do it?”
- “I am afraid of tornadoes. When I hear the weather report,
I cover my ears. I know it is SO stupid, but I am terrified of them. When it's raining or there is a thunderstorm, I get scared. I live in Minnesota, and we get tornadoes once or twice a year. The last tornado that we had here was in May on Mother's Day, and it was right by where I was. It was only 1 mile away! Can you help me with this problem?”
- “My mom signed me up for sleepaway camp this year. I have been before, and I was miserably homesick! I don't know how I am going to deal with going again. At night, I worry that I just won't be able to make it. How can I deal with this?”
- “I feel so stupid. All the time when I'm at my house, I feel like someone's watching me through my windows. It's not so bad in the daylight but I always try to act different just in case it's someone from my school. At night or when it's dark I get freaked out. My stairs face my front door (which has a window) and whenever I go upstairs when it's dark, I have to run and hide behind a wall. I don't know how to get over it. Please help!”
- “I feel like a jerk. I'm afraid that my life will change forever once I get on a plane, and that I will never be the same as before. I'm 11 and scared. Can you help me out?”
I'm ten years old and will be going to summer camp this summer. I've seen
the camp booklet and it seems like fun with the sports and games and all.
But I'm also nervous. I'm worried that there might not be privacy when I
change clothes or bathe. I'm also worried about being away from home and my family two weeks straight. My Mom and Dad just tell me I will have a lot of fun, and it will be great and they will visit me. But I'm still nervous. What can I do?
I was in the exact same situation as you when I was nine years old. I was going away to sleepaway camp for the first time and was really nervous and afraid that I would be homesick. What I felt the best way to overcome this fear was to just think about how much fun I would have. It is a wonderful experience to be away from your parents and be free and have no rules or boundaries. One thing I would suggest is that you and your parents should call the camp to get your specific questions answered. Also, try to make a friend as soon as you get there. It will make it easier to get through times when you’re homesick. About the privacy issue, there will always be free time for you to be alone with yourself and have your privacy. Remember that many other kids will probably want their own privacy too, and will respect yours. When you need to change clothes or bathe, just understand that everyone will feel a little awkward about it at first and then you’ll probably get used to it. If you get uncomfortable you can change in your sleeping bag and shower in your swimsuit. What will REALLY help you keep your mind off any worries is to have FUN. Let loose. Be free. Open yourself up to new situations. After this first time you will probably get all your fear out of the way and then the next time you go to camp, you’ll be fine. Good luck!
--Joel, IML Mentor
I remember the first time I went to camp. I was terrified! I had so many fears, but by the end of the weak, the only thing bothering me was that I had to go home. Your parents are right: you will have a fun time. Camp is a great place to meet friends, especially since you'll be there for two weeks. Remember that just about every other camper is worried about the same things you are, so talk to your cabin mates about fears or ask second-time campers how they dealt with problems the previous year. Talk to your counselor about some of your issues; they've dealt with them before and can hand down some good advice. As far as changing and showering, if you're not comfortable changing clothes in front of other people, do it in a bathroom or shower stall. I'm almost positive every camp has shower curtains, but if yours doesn't, wear a swimsuit while showering. Have a great time!
--Lauren, IML Mentor
Ever since I found out I had asthma, I have just been sitting around feeling sorry for myself. I'm afraid to go exercise or that I might have an asthma attack. What should I do to get over my fear? A couple of my friends have asthma and my mom says I should talk to them. Should I do it?
From Josephine Schiff, MSW, LCSW, school social worker in Northern New Jersey
Absolutely! Talking to your friends is an excellent idea. They are your handy “experts” who can give you their first hand experiences with asthma. You might feel less alone after talking with them. The American Lung Association has a Web site, www.asthmabusters.org, which is developed for kids with asthma. Getting the facts is important in order to know what to expect and how to control your asthma. I have a feeling that if you talk to your friends, and do a little research, your fears will get smaller. Franklin Delano Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself.” Learning about asthma and making connections with your friends will help to push away your fear. Take care, and good luck!
I am afraid of tornadoes. When I hear the weather report, I cover my ears. I know it is SO stupid, but I am terrified of them. When it's raining or there is a thunderstorm, I get scared. I live in Minnesota, and we get tornadoes once or twice a year. The last tornado that we had here was in May on Mother's Day, and it was right by where I was. It was only 1 mile away! Can you help me with this problem?
I live in California, and there's always the threat of earthquakes here. When I was little there was a really huge earthquake that ruined a lot of my house, and for a while I was really scared it would happen again. I still get nervous sometimes. But now I know that there’s only a small chance another one will happen, and even if one does, it's not the end of the world. While it is horrible, you can always rebuild your house and your life. Material items can be replaced, and the only thing that's important is your family. Remember, worrying doesn't make any type of disaster less likely, it just takes up your time and stresses you out. Live your life in the moment, because no one really has control over the future.
--Elizabeth, IML Mentor
Weather is scary, because there’s nothing you can do to control it. It’s not fun to feel like you have no control, but there are some things you can do
about that. Talk to your parents, and make sure your family has emergency supplies and plans, just in case. The news likes to show all the bad stuff that is happening, because good news isn’t as interesting. They don’t report on all the sunny days, just the rainy ones. So take all of those reports with a grain of salt, and know that if something happens, you’ll be prepared.
--Megan, IML Mentor
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