Have you seen the movie Beetlejuice? Most people would answer, ‘yes’. Even though I am going to make a connection between the two, I have never seen it. (My parents had very strict rules on what we were allowed to watch and what we couldn’t watch.) However, I am a subject of pop culture from the 80’s and 90’s and so I feel that I have enough perspective to make this connection.
I have suffered with anxiety for as long as I can remember. I suffer from OCD, panic disorder, and a severe phobia. My family and close friends know this, but not many other people do. I cannot remember life without these things. They are a part of me, and for a long time, I allowed myself to be defined by them. Slowly, but surely, I am growing stronger against them.
But of all these things, my phobia is my constant companion. I have always looked at my phobia as a specific part of my being. However, it isn’t a personality trait. It is its own entity that resides within me.
I am Kieren, and I have a phobia. Wherever I go, it goes. Its goal is to remind me of the danger. The danger that encountering my phobia will bring. Its goal is to remind me that in the face of it, I am weak and helpless. Its goal is to remind me that I am strange because of it. Its goal is to remind me that it could be anywhere at anytime. Its goal is to convince me to avoid places it COULD be. Its goal is to remind me that it is strong, and I am weak.
I am feeling overwhelmingly anxious right now.
Now, the Beetlejuice connection. In the movie, Beetlejuice would appear if you said his name 3 times. I don’t like to talk about my phobia, or think about it. (I know I am talking about it right now. This is a big step for me.) I have created this scenario in my head that, like Beetlejuice, the more I talk about it, the more likely it is to appear. In years past, I reached a point where I couldn’t even hear the word or see it written. If I did, I felt like it would appear.*
*This is where the OCD enters into play, but that is another blog post*
This moment, right now, is a huge step for me. I am, for the first time, putting my feelings and frustrations about my phobia in the open. I am tired of allowing it to control me. I have said its name more than 3 times. This makes me anxious.
Each experience I have dealing with my phobia makes me stronger. I am no where close to being ready to say that I am phobia free. But every time I stand up against it, it is a victory.
If you struggle with anxiety or a phobia, know that you are not alone. Know that it is a daily battle. Know that healing and recovering from a phobia can only be done by developing strength and bravery against it. Also, know that it takes time with many victories and defeats. I feel that finally my victories are beginning to outnumber my defeats. ❤