Aug 4, 2008

Irrational fear and the fishing trip.

Irrational Fear. It seems like it has its own name. Its an intangible feeling yet it manages to get a hold and squeeze the very life out of you. My fear of flying is a perfect example. My fear of wild rodents is another.

But now I find myself facing a new fear. The fear of the unknown. Cody and I want to go trout fishing tomorrow. He wants to go to Fish Lake. Its little tiny lake in the middle of absolutely nowhere. There is a strong possibility of seeing wildlife on this trip, and a very strong possibility of seeing bear. This, in and of itself, doesn't frighten me too much. After all, Cody is a hunter, and usually goes armed to these types of areas. I am no stranger to a gun either, so between the two of us we shouldn't have a whole lot of trouble to worry about.

So why the uneasiness? Why the hesitation? Why the anxiety? Am I really a person who doesn't like to try new things, and simply settle in for the same old, same old? On any given day I can tell you my routine. On a work day I have a set routine. On my day off I have a set routine. I do not deviate from that very often. I even tell other people that my life is somewhat dull. I don't like to go out all that much (I much prefer an evening at home). I don't enjoy parties where there are people I don't know. I don't need to experience new things, just for the sake of experiencing a new thing.

So, I am simply getting ready for tomorrow. I'll have my fishing licence, my fishing rod, and my camera of course. The area should be beautiful. There should be plenty to see. And hopefully, I'll get over my silly anxiety about going out to the middle of freaking nowhere and we'll have a good day.

I'm sure I'll have a report tomorrow.

Thanks for tuning in.


  1. Fear of the unknown is something we all have. It is just that some of us have less trouble with it.

    It has to do with our ability to regulate feelings when facing uncertainty. Research since the advent of the functional MRI just eight years ago has helps us understand how the brain works. We now recognize that the ability to regulate feelings is learned and that the part of the brain that does this regulation requires stimulation of the right kind during the first two years of life. The right kind of stimulation requires a caregiver who is empathically attuned to the infant and responds to the infants signals, rather than simply providing for the infant according to an agenda set by the caregiver.

    If the child is afraid, the caregiver needs to tune into the child's fear in a way the child really knows the caregiver feels the same way. Thus the child knows he or she is not alone.

    Then, the magic happens; the caregiver then lets the child know that -- though the child's fear is 100% shared -- the adult has an additional point of view, which is that it is not the end of the world; it will work out alright.

    Many of us, obviously, didn't get such optimal early development. Thus, when facing uncertainty, we control our anxiety by being in control of the situation, or by having a way to out of it.
    life-threatening problem.

    As a therapist and retired airline pilot, I have tried to give a good understanding of the cause and cure of fear of flying in a video at

  2. Over the years of traveling with your fearless Dad, I have learned how to express the VOR (voice of reason). For me, I have to think about where it is safe for a woman to venture (especially if I am alone). For Dad, most everywhere is safe. And when he feels safe, he thinks I should too. But I stop him and say "I am not comfortable with this". So we stop and talk it through. Usually, I will concede that he's right, it's safe, and off we go. Sometimes, my VOR wins over and we rethink what we want to do different. For me, I have found that getting out and trying new things, little bits at a time, helps get over the nervousness of not trying anything. Because once I have tried something new, I am very proud of myself and found that I really did enjoy myself and glad I tried it.
    Case in point: It involved quite a lot of planning to arrive at Machu Picchu in Peru. There were times I was nervous about all the travel plans to get there. But it was so worth it as it was a once in a life time experience. (And I realized it wasn't as bad as I thought).
    So kiddo, spread your wings and have fun. Please post how the trip tomorrow goes. Love ya, Mom

  3. I have an irrational fear of flying too... but it's obviously NOT genetic. Not sure how that happened. And I didn't used to fear flying... but one trip I went on while pregnant with Ian seemed to be the one that tipped the scales. What's odd about it, is that I don't get nervous when other people fly (like Eric) and I wasn't even nervous for Taylor to fly to SLC alone, but the minute I step on a plane, I'm freaking out, especially if I'm by myself. It really helps to have someone else on the plane to keep me distracted.

  4. Having a set routine is certainly comfortable, but I think he does result in being a little less flexible when we're off our routine. I know it's like that for me. But, I find, as I'm sure you have and will continue to find, that breaking out of our routines and resultant fear is a very good thing, and opens up all kinds of doors we didn't even know existed.


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