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Fear: Is it Contagious?

I have a history of cancer in my family so I went for my recommended annual check up given I’m “at that age.” My doctor had requested a breast ultrasound. They told me I should plan for a 1-1.5 hr visit. I was the youngest in the room; however, while sitting in the waiting area with the rest of the ladies, I was one of them. Whether you were a survivor or just there for cautionary purposes, everybody chatted. As stories were shared, fear started knocking on my door.

The second youngest lady, who was also a survivor, was talking about how her doctor shared that due to her not being a mother her cancer risk rose and eventually surfaced. I caught myself having a reaction by thinking, “I don’t have children. I’ve heard this before too!” As my wheels turned, the technician called me in to indicate “plans changed,” so I was also going to need a mammogram, adding two and a half more hours to my stay. Furthermore, the technician added I may stay longer in case the doctor requested more images. It was then when my anxiety decided to perform. I wondered, “Why would the doctor want more images? Should I be worried?” Tick tock, tick tock. Every lady left. I remained. Finally, I was cleared.

I decided to reflect on my experience. This is what came to me:

#1 We are all connected, either by our family, environment, experiences or fears. Although my intent was not to focus on cancer, I tapped into a collective story, a collective fear. By sharing a space with others, the common story impacted everyone. I just had to decide how I would choose to respond to such a collective experience.

#2 The more attention I paid to others, their story became the main one, impacting my story in a negative way. In that moment, MY story mattered “less,” only because that’s what I chose by focusing on others. It was then when fear became contagious. My balance was off and that’s why I got lost in translation.

#3 Through others’ stories I began to identify myself, in a negative way, with those who had suffered from the disease. I realized I don’t have to become a character in a story for me to be able to understand the story. Through empathy and sympathy I am able to participate even if I am not claiming the leading role. Life becomes more relaxed when we choose our roles from a loving place.

Now, bring it back to you. Xiomara and I have been talking about fear in our last two posts. I now invite you to join me in this reflection by asking yourself the following:

What common experiences/stories are being shared by those around you?

How is it impacting your story and your behavior?

Are you paying attention to another person’s story more than your own?

Try to balance the focus you give to others’ stories/experiences by giving as much focus to yourself.

Are you tapping into any collective fears? If so, why and what will you do with that now?

Are you revising your roles from a loving place or are you continuously blaming, complaining, comparing?

Take a step back and question: Are the fears I am acting upon mine or are they influenced by others? Am I instilling fear in myself? If so, why?

Also ask, what growth factors am I noticing?

Give yourself credit for your progress!! Revising is not only about the “bad,” but also about noticing the good.

Recognize that YOU write your story, so YOU can control YOUR plot. Like an IG meme says, “If you don’t like the results, yell, plot twist!” and change your course.

I caught myself, so can you!

With love, Yarime

 

4 thoughts on “Fear: Is it Contagious?”

  1. I am glad you guys are writing on this topic because in the past it has been something hidden in the corner of the room. I struggle with fear that turns into anxiety and as you have told me on many occasions those are irrational thoughts. I find myself losing to fear more than I win. I think if i would answer the questions above I would say i am instilling fears on myself based on things i have done and don’t want repeated by kids for example. Or fears that I can’t do something to much and then that becomes anxiety…i just wonder if I will ever win this battle. I am working on it and the more i speak about it and write about it the less in the corner this issue has to be and can be attacked head on…

    keep going these are good – Allan

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  2. Hi! Thank you for sharing. This topic can be intimidating for many people. It sounds like you have insight into your thought patterns. Now, the key is to challenge some of the beliefs you may have and replace with new thoughts which allow you to see other options. This can decrease some of the anxiety you may experience.

    Thank you for the support!

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  3. First of all I want to say great blog! I had a quick question in which I’d like to ask if you don’t mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your
    head prior to writing. I’ve had a difficult time clearing my thoughts
    in getting my thoughts out there. I truly
    do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to 15 minutes are wasted just trying to figure out how
    to begin. Any ideas or tips? Thanks! http://Wiya4Kids.com/index.php?task=profile&id=1044269

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    1. Hello there and Thank You for your words! I agree with you about the power of writing, specially as a form of release. Whenever I encounter blocks, I’ve learned not to fight them. I give myself a break, jot ideas down as they come (brainstorm) and sometimes just just sit in silence. Sitting insilence does wonders for me because it relaxes me. If you meditate, that can be helpful as well. If not, going out in nature and looking around might surprise you with inspiration. Also, if all fails, just write about your block and see what pops out to you. Often, repressed fears or feelings are the source of the block. Be kind to yourself. It’ll come. Hope this helps!

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