As I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve spent a large chunk of my life demotivated by fear. Theology isn’t the only thing I’ve avoided discussing because of fear, and it’s not the only thing I’ve avoided doing.
The truth is, I’m highly skilled at procrastination, and when you combine that with fear, it’s a winning* combination.
With that prize in hand, I didn’t end up writing about theology, and now almost five months have passed. Mind you, given my paradigm shift over the past few weeks, it’s probably better that I never got around to it; that shift, however, is a subject for another post.
Over the past few months I’ve been considering the role of fear, and I’ve come to realise just how much it’s held me back for most of my life. I decided that the only way forward was to start confronting my fears – but I was almost completely drowning in a sea of anxiety, and it was only getting worse. I was constantly exhausted, and completely unmotivated to do anything beyond the bare necessities to keep our family life ticking over.
Then a moment of clarity, and I knew what I had to do… and I was afraid.
I’ve previously written of my dislike of chemical assistance, but I’ve had to accept that my brain doesn’t quite work the way it should. It seems to either not produce enough of whatever chemicals it needs for me to maintain a healthy frame of mind, or it’s consuming them way too fast. Either way, I needed help, beyond just the regular visits to the psychologist.
I wear glasses. I don’t like wearing glasses, but the alternative is to give up driving, squint at everything, and generally have a miserable day-to-day experience; thus I choose to wear my glasses. Why should my brain chemistry be any different? I’ve been struggling along for months and having a generally miserable day-to-day experience, and quite frankly, I wasn’t much fun to be around.
So six weeks ago, I swallowed my fear and my first low-dose antidepressant… and things have definitely improved. Fortunately, it seems to be without any severe side-effects, and I’ve already been told by my beloved that she “got her funny husband back”.
As the anxiety receded, I realised just how exhausted I was. I think the human body isn’t designed to constantly be in fight-or-flight mode and constantly flooded with adrenaline, and with the removal of the trigger for me to be in that state, I just wanted to sleep all the time.
In this somewhat exhausted frame of mind, I found myself staring at a tweet from Jon Acuff. He was “looking for 24 people to go on an adventure”; I followed through to the blog post, and read it. No details, just “if you’re willing to take the chance, and punch fear in the face, send your address and contact details via email”. I thought about it for a few seconds, and then closed the browser. The idea of saying yes frightened the shit out of me.
But it ate at me.
“Really? You’re all about facing your fears now, and when faced with something that causes you fear, you walk away?”
After half an hour of this internal needling, I reloaded the page and emailed Jon…
That’s how I found myself as part of the “Start Experiment”. Our goal: to punch fear in the face – mainly by facing our fears, and by publicly risking pursuing a dream.
As per usual, I may have overcommitted, but it has started me blogging again – because that’s one of the things I’m risking. I don’t love writing, but I do love having written something that’s touched someone else’s life.
So here goes… I’m starting again.
*Winning as redefined by Charlie Sheen, as opposed to actual winning, like a medal or something.