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?”
My parents both work. I have to stay home alone, and I'm scared. What should I do?
--From Nicole, 9
We all have been through that fear in one way or another. I suggest that you ask your mom and dad to call you every so often just so they can know you're alright and they can tell you how much longer they have at work. Ask your parents to make a code word and if anyone doesn't know the code word, don't answer the door. Keep yourself distracted. Watch TV, clean the house, play a video game. If you're distracted you won't even feel like you’re alone because you'll be doing other things. The time will go by faster when you're distracted. And also ask your parents if anything is off limits when they aren't home. I wasn't allowed to use the oven or the blender when my parents weren't home. For more ideas, visit the IML section on "Home Alone." Good luck!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
There are a few ways for avoiding fear when being home alone. For one thing, you can make sure that you have all the phone numbers you'll need in an emergency -- like your mom or dad's cell phone number, your grandparents' home number, and the number of your local police station -- clearly posted where you can see them. Knowing that help is just a phone call away can be very reassuring! Also, see if you can arrange to spend time at a friend's house some days, to bring the number of days you spend home alone to a minimum. You can also sit down with your parents and talk to them about how scared staying home alone makes you; they can help by doing things like calling to check in and walking you through everything you might need to do in an emergency. Good luck. I hope I helped!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
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.
--From Rachael, 12
Here's some advice, try thinking of the vampires as the ones that aren't scary or intimidating. Like the ones from "Twilight," or "Sesame Street"! Of course, creatures like that don't actually exist, and if they did they certainly wouldn't be lurking in someone's room! If these attacks are getting really bad, maybe ask your parents to arrange an appointment with a school counselor or your doctor to see if there are some tricks to help you get to sleep at night!
--Natalie, IML Mentor
I used to have HUGE problems with the idea of monsters when I went to bed, right up until about two years ago. One thing that I found really helped was pretending that my bed had a shield around it. You'd be surprised about how well it works -- if you truly believe that you're protected it doesn't matter what you see around your bed. Also, you might want to try investing in a night light. It's really not a 'little kid' thing to do, and it's a great way to give yourself just enough light to see that there's nothing in your room with you. If worse comes to worst, I'd suggest you sit down and talk to your dad about it. He could have some ideas of his own to make things better for you! Good luck to you. I know how hard it is to get over something like this, but I have faith that you'll be okay.
--Sarah, IML Mentor
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?
--From Mikah, 11
I suggest just being yourself. They won't judge you by your size. They'll judge you on how you present yourself and how much self-confidence you have. For the speech part I suggest what I call the "teddy bear method". Get a few stuffed animals and put them on your bed sitting up as if they are listening. They are your audience. Read your speech in front of them every day a week before the speech day, or more if you know you'll need the practice. Then when you're delivering the speech in school, just pretend that you're in your room reading to your teddy bears. It lowers your the stress and it makes you feel more comfortable. Hopefully, everyone will think that you're full of self-confidence and have many ideas for the future. That's what gets votes! Good luck!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
In terms of being nervous in front of a crowd, I’d advise practicing in front of a mirror until you get the speech down. Then try saying it in front of a few of your friends and our parents. Once you get this down, it will be easier to speak in front of a crowd because you’ve practiced it so many times. As for the “being bigger” part: as long as you are comfortable with yourself, and having a good time campaigning, people will see what matters.
--Natalie, IML Mentor
My advice to you is to have confidence in what you're saying and what you believe you can do for the school! If you truly believe that you're going to win, this will shine through in the speech and the other kids will notice this. You can also look up some breathing exercises to do before the speech to help calm yourself down before the speech. Good luck!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
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