Connecting Beetlejuice and Life with a Phobia

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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.  ❤

-Kieren

7 thoughts on “Connecting Beetlejuice and Life with a Phobia

  1. To further the Beetlejuice connection, he did appear after saying his name 3 times, however he only controlled those who believed. Bettejuice is a strangely inspiring movie (one of my favs). He was scary and evil but with some work the characters in the movie shut him out forever!! 🙂

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  2. Thank you for sharing your phobias, I too have anxiety issues. I write in a journal to place all my thoughts that are causing me to be anxious at that exact moment in time, I find it helps me immensely. I hope you find something that helps you through your moments of anxiety. All the best to you.

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  3. Hi, Kieren. I follow your blogs here and vlogs on YouTube. I think you’re bold and creative, sweet and inspiring. I am truly impressed with how boldly you live your life. Admitting to the things you mention in this blog is no easy feat. I should know. I have sincere empathy for you and am proud that you are standing up to this fear. Good for you! You will conquer it. Every time hereafter this monster rears its ugly head, you will feel stronger and less powerless to overcome it. Small victories do that for us: give us the strength to say, “I beat this before, so I can do it again!”
    With regards to your openness to changing your diet, please take this in the manner in which it is intended from someone who has struggled with her weight since she was 5 (and who is now 40hmmm)and still struggles each day and who only recently has found minor victory: the foods you’ve chosen and shown in your latest vid (02.14) are great in that they’re organic, etc.; however, they are by-and-large all carbs, and thus all high in calorie. Please take it from someone who has only recently within the last year finally begun to understand: healthy foods in the right quantities will yield the results you’re looking to achieve. Please don’t fall into the trap that held me hostage for many years: thinking as long as they were healthy foods I could eat them freely. Sure they’re better than fast food, but it’s all about balance and moderation, intake versus output. Monitoring calories taken in and expended really puts things into a better perspective and is definitely not easy, but can yield success. Remember: small victories. Sounds trite and simple, and perhaps condescending, but honestly is not meant that way.
    I wish you luck on your journey and thank you for being so brave as to share it with others.
    Best of luck!
    ~Bea

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  4. Thank you for having the courage to share! That is a big step, and one that will keep you motivated on your path to find healing! I will keep you in my prayers, as I am walking the path of trying to be more transparent also!

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  5. I recently found your youtube channel and think it is so fun! I enjoy yard sales and thrift stores, too! 🙂 Just checked your blog and really appreciate your post. I think many more people than you think suffer from anxiety and related things like OCD, phobias, panic attacks, etc. I just heard about a book called What Women Fear by Angie Smith that sounds great! Apparently she struggled with similar things even as a small child. You can read the summary on amazon. But one of my favorite books that might be worth reading is called Hinds Feet on High Places by Hannah Hurnard. (not a fan of her other books, but this one is fantastic!) It is about a young woman named Much Afraid and the amazing journey and transformation she goes through! SUPER encouraging! One other book that is AMAZING is by Carolyn Leaf called Who Switched Off My Brain. She talks about how we can actually change pathways in our brains by choosing not to give in to fear or an OCD habit or a phobia or whatever (as an example) –very similar to what you mentioned in your post about how you stand up to /stand against your phobia and you get stronger!! Every victory is huge! I hope some of these books will encourage you and bless you! Oh and I think it is so awesome that you are running an afterschool program! Blessings! liz

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    1. Thank you so much for your sweet comment! I truly appreciate the book suggestions! It was really hard for me to write that post! I had a lot of anxiety while I was writing. I love my after school program! The kids are great! Thank you for your kind words!

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  6. Hi Kieren, I am also a teacher (though a high school teacher, I spend less time on the floor 😉 ) from NZ. I discovered your youtube channel because of the thrifting connection (ALL my favourite clothes come from the St Johns Op Shop about 2 minutes drive from my house. Best. Place. Ever!) and then I discovered this post. I too suffer from OCD, panic disorder and I’ve dealt with a phobia, which has got better over time. Thank you so much for writing about your struggles. So many people suffer in silence when, in reality, if we talked about it more often we would all realise that many of the people we know are suffering too and we could encourage and support each other. Thank you for taking that scary step and sharing your experiences xx

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