When fear comes knocking
I had a meeting today with a lawyer specialising in wills. Being unmarried, with children, I know I need a legal document and I’ve spent the last 10 years with my head stuck firmly in the sand doing nothing to make it happen.
As a hypnotherapist, or any therapist for that matter, you’d think I would know better than to spend so long in denial. It turns out i’m prone to procrastination like everyone else!
And so today, I let someone talk me through ‘his services’ and, no wonder I spent ten years avoiding this meeting because my hour went something like this.
Fear of dying.
Fear of girls surviving.
Fear of being left ‘single’ with young kids.
Fear of their future.
Fear of not leaving them enough money.
As he talked in a language of ‘what if’ and ‘just suppose’ and ‘imagine if’, I made myself listen to him, but I noticed how my body reacted.
FEAR. PANIC. ANXIETY. It was like rolling waves, one crashing in after another.
Lawyer: ‘Without a will, your children would go into care for months before they appointed guardians’.
This alarm siren went straight to my jaw and teeth. Clenched to hurting.
Lawyer: ‘The life insurance he has, is taxed as income so you’d only get half’
I felt panic constrict my throat. Anxiety like a steel ball in my chest.
‘Your accounts are frozen, so if one of you died, the other can’t access the money for months.’
A tingling in my stomach. My face was now hot, my palms clammy. My breathing was short, fast.
While my brain registered the ‘information’ and tried to process calmly, my body picked up stress signals of fear.
You are scared, I told myself. You are afraid. You are frightened, that is how what he says makes you feel.
My body relaxed a little. Just noticing and naming it, helped. I’ve taught so many clients at Brixton Hypnotherapy to do just this. Without moving, avoiding, ignoring; just name it.
As he spoke, my brain used rationality to control fear eg/ ‘it’s his job to scare you, he’ll want to maximise the services you buy’ but my body wasn’t on board, so I decided to calm it. I uncrossed my legs, I planted my feet on the ground, my hands in my lap and I breathed slowly as I noticed and named my feelings. I feel fear in my lower stomach. I am scared.
My body calmed, my brain continued to go off-piste on some rant about industries built on fear and anxiety. To prove myself right, I counted them up in his language. The ‘just suppose’ and ‘if’ etc that profits multi-billion dollar insurance industries. What I was actually doing, was erecting an emotional shield between him and me.
I had to have the session, but I also had to control the impact it had on me. We are wired to respond to signals of fear and that is a good thing, and having anxiety or feeling a little anxious isn’t a bad thing either; it can be a great motivator. But we have to be in control of them and not let them control us.
Hypnotherapy offers tools, techniques, exercises and strategies to examine your triggers and how best to avoid or eradicate them. Fear is part of our daily life and that is okay. We can accept it and accommodate is, so long as we are not being overwhelmed by it to the point it is negatively affecting our lives.