Afraid of fear

Have you ever been afraid to go to sleep? I don’t mean afraid of ghosts or the boogey man or afraid of the dark, but afraid that if you do fall asleep, you won’t wake up? So you fight sleep as you lie awake in bed.

Recently, I’ve sometimes been afraid to fall asleep. No, I don’t mean that I’m afraid of the dark—although sometimes the dark can be pretty scary—or that I’m afraid someone is about to break into the house. What I mean is that I get these strange thoughts that I’ll stop breathing or that I’ll have a heart attack or some other health related issue like that will strike. Don’t ask me why. I think it is a combination of things actually.

First, I’m not a twenty-year old strapping young lad anymore. Second, I know that I don’t get the exercise that I used to get or that I need to get. I mean well, but for some reason the clock moves incredibly fast and I run out of time…and exercising tends to not be at the top of my list of things to do. Third, my kids are growing far too fast and I’m able to remember much of my own life at their age. A few years ago it wasn’t an issue because I really don’t remember being four. I do remember being fourteen! Further, it wasn’t that long ago!

BJ’s mom had a stroke when she was about my age. She lost partial use of one side of her body and she lost the ability to speak. Most of you that know me know that “talking” is something I’m inclined to do a lot of. There have been times when I’ve had a headache at night that I actually spoke aloud to see if I could still form words.

I don’t like that feeling, either, the one of being afraid of falling asleep.

It’s not that I’m afraid to die, either. I’m not afraid. No, I’m not saying I want to die now! I’m just saying I’m not afraid, not for me, anyway. I’m more worried about my family and what would happen to them after.

But I think that fear—some fear—is a pretty natural thing. Some people are afraid of heights; some of spiders; some of tight spaces. I even have a bit of claustrophobia myself. I don’t like getting on elevators. Let me rephrase. I don’t like getting on elevators by myself. If someone else gets on, I’m okay. Why? I dunno.

Maybe it’s just fear itself that I’m afraid of.

But every time I go that direction I’m reminded of the words of FDR: The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.

But sometimes, fear is kinda scary.



Filed under Columns

5 responses to “Afraid of fear

  1. Christopher Young

    It’s called anxiety. I got so worked up one night I actually ended up taking an exciting ambulance ride to the emergency room thinking I was having a heart attack. Amazing how powerful the mind can be and how it can affect the body. They can give you drugs for it but I have found meditation to be most helpful for me; for others prayer is a good cure.
    To quote Dune:
    “I must not fear.
    Fear is the mind-killer.
    Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
    I will face my fear.
    I will permit it to pass over me and through me.
    And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path.
    Where the fear has gone there will be nothing.
    Only I will remain.”

  2. There was a time in my life when I was younger and I feared pain. Why? Because I had come to know it.

    I next came to know that pain is God’s way of reminding us that we’re still alive. I learned that from God by way of my Marine Corps Drill Instructor back in the early 70s.

    I then came to know pain from the losses experienced by my Mom and Dad as they lost all the material things which they’d worked for their entire lives. Taking them from as much of it as I could, life showed me that it always has surprises. Mom died in July 2006 and Dad followed her in October 2007. Along with those two dear souls, within that same span of time went my Mother-in-law, a Niece, a close first Cousin, my youngest paternal Aunt, two childhood friends, and some of my hope; each of a different malady, unexpectedly.

    An unknown author once said, “God pours life into death and death into life without a drop being spilled.” Pain is now my friend. I have no fear of it. I have seen Death, but with fear behind me there is nothing to be afraid of.

    Don’t be afraid, Roland.

  3. Hi Roland,
    I’m another one of those authors represented by the awesome Kimberly Shumate. I’ve just linked to you and Christi and Jake and Melissa.

    My family and I are currently reading Max Lucado’s, Fearless. This is something you may want to do in your spare time.:) Spare time. What is that anyway?

    If you want I’d love to see you at:

    Come visit sometime. I love your picture at the top of your blog.
    Waving back at ya,

  4. christicorbett

    I love the widget for tracking your novel’s progress on your site. How do I do something similiar? Can you help please?

  5. I MAY have been a little over dramatic on this one. Yes, yes, I meant what I was saying, but I don’t feel it’s as urgent as maybe I made it sound. BJ was ready to get counseling!
    Chris: Yeah, probably some anxiety. Starting a new graduate program at 44…And I’m not at ALL optimistic about the future of the U.S. (no, let’s don’t go politics)…but that also means job prospects for me when I finish! yikes!
    Jill: Thanks for the book rec. I’ll stop by your blog and say hello!
    Christi: I’ll email ya!

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