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 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?
It's okay to be afraid of death, but you can also find a new way of looking at it. Yeah, it's forever, but think about what you can do before you get to that eternal state. You can finish school. You can become a doctor, a lawyer, a singer, an actor, or the president. You could help decrease world hunger. You can get married, have children. There are so many things you can do in life that will change the world, in a small way or in a big way. Sure, there's a chance that you'll get hit by a bus tomorrow, but on the other hand, there's a much better chance that you won't. My first advice is this: Please speak to a school counselor or another trusted adult about these thoughts, because that can really make a big difference. My other advice is: Keep living. See how much fun you can have, how much you can learn, and how much you can do. So stay alive and contributing to the world at your full potential and let life and death take their courses.
--Yulia, IML Mentor
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?
--From Anna-Marie, 11
I think there are plenty of things that can help you get over your fear of needles. One thing you can do -- and probably the most important thing to do -- is share these fears with your doctor or the school nurse before you're vaccinated. Many people share your fear, including the ones giving you the needle, and will do things to help you with your fear. The last time I had to get a shot, back when I was 15, my doctor distracted me so that I wasn't thinking about getting the shot just before it happened. Another thing you can do is talk to parents or friends who can give you some words of comfort and help you feel better about needles. Remember that even though it hurts, it's really not THAT bad (especially if you aren't stressed out; your muscles won't tense up and it won't hurt as much). Falling off your bike hurts more! Also, for the second or two of pain that you go through, you get protection from diseases that could hurt you a lot more than a needle ever would (it helps to think about that too). Good luck with your fear. I think it's great that instead of avoiding needles, you want to tackle it head-on.
--Sarah, IML Mentor
I had a major fear of needles that lasted until my 9th grade year. The time I lost my fear of needles was when we got the H1N1 shot at school in 9th grade. What did I do? I calmed down and relaxed and when they had my sleeve rolled up, I looked away from the needle and thought of something else. I had a boyfriend at the time and he was getting his shot right next to me, so I was able to think of him. If you don't have a friend there, just close your eyes and think about something you really like. Maybe you love jumping in the leaves in fall or throwing snow at your friends in the winter or maybe even going to the movies with your BFF. Imagine yourself doing that which will help you calm down and forget where you are. Before you know it, the shot is done and you didn't feel a thing. Hope everything goes well!
--CinKay, IML Mentor
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.
--XX Black, 13
I know EXACTLY how you feel. My fear of hospitals goes to the point where I feel uncomfortable even discussing it! When I had to go for dental surgery at 13, I was scared out of my wits. However, a few things did help me. One thing was to research everything about what I was going to have done; if you do this, make sure you are researching from reputable, reliable sources. When I went into the office, I knew what to expect, and it helped take some of the fear away. Another thing I did was talk to my dental surgeon before the surgery. You should talk to your doctor before anything happens, and come with a list of questions, even if you think some of them are silly or obvious. You wouldn't believe how many kids are in just your situation, and your doctor's probably heard it all and knows just how to answer your questions and make you feel more comfortable. People around you, like your parents and friends, may also have the same fear and be good to talk to. Above all else, just tell yourself what I always tell myself: I'd rather be scared than sick and not aware of it. Good luck with your physical!
--Sarah, IML Mentor
It's hard to get over fears, but one good thing about them it's that they're smaller than you. If you remember that doctors are only there to help you it might help. Or you can try writing down all the reasons why you are afraid and then write down ways you could get over it. You could also try figuring out how this started and talking about it with an adult you trust. Hope this helps!
--Nikola, IML Mentor
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