Wednesday, April 11, 2012


Fear is defined as:


An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.

Be afraid of (someone or something) as likely to be dangerous, painful, or threatening: "farmers fear that they will lose business".

noun.  dread - fright - apprehension - funk - awe - alarm
verb.  be afraid - dread - apprehend - funk - be afraid of

I have probably experienced more fear in the last 14 years of my life then in my entire lifetime pre ra.  When I was first diagnosed I was fearful of losing my job, being too sick to take care of my children, taking the medications that go along with treating ra, becoming too much of a burden on my husband and least I not forget, I was most fearful of the pain associated with my ra.

I am not sure why fear goes hand in hand with a chronic illness diagnoses but it does. And although it is something that becomes manageable right along with the illness, it can take a long, long time to manage.

I am proud to report that I have conquered one more fear recently and this particular one has not a thing to do with ra. I have always had this fear…..

yup…the fear of heights.  I am not sure exactly when this fear snuck into my life but I really believe that after battling so many health fears over the years, conquering this one was the next natural step. I was actually surprised at just how easy it was to get onto The Sky Wheel and take the height challenging ride.

And yes, my heart still was pounding, my blood pressure probably went up a tad bit but I chalk all that up to excitement of the best kind.  It was awesome! 

And if by chance (betting you do have some) you have any fears over being diagnosed with a chronic condition like ra or life threatening condition, here are a few tricks (well rather steps) I did along the way to overcome my fears:

  • Realize that it is normal to be fearful at times.
  • Become a pro-active patient.
  • Submerse yourself in knowledge about your disease(s).
  • Don't worry if you have to fire a doctor here and there…it goes with the territory.
  • Medications are a part of the plan but do know the possible side effects so you know what to expect if they happen to you.
  • Surround yourself with support including online, face to face (friends and family that believe in you).
  • And last, if it all becomes to much…don't forget their are professionals out there to help you overcome your fears.

Did I mention, what a view…. tell...what do you fear (or feared) and have you been able to overcome that fear?


Sunshine said...

Great post Deb!
I share the fear of heights too, that seems to have gotten worse with age. What's gotten better with time: my fear associated with RA.
I liked your tip about firing doctors, it certainly goes with the territory of becoming your own patient advocate.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Sunshine...out of the two fears, I am glad you have conquered the fear of ra. That one you must live with on a day to day basis whereas the fear of heights, one can pretty much avoid that one if one chooses to. Many years ago I traveled to England and never did The Eye over there which is just like this one. I always regretted not doing The Eye and that also motivated me. My new motto...if I get the chance to do something new and I can physically do it...Hoot Dog...I am going to try it! I am already limited in so many way, I don't want to limit myself anymore other ways.

annaburesh said...

I, like you, had tremendous fear when I first became ill. Not working, becoming disabled, the possibility of losing our home and creating chaos for my children was almost more than I could handle. There was not one thing or one defining moment that made those fears go away. It was a long process of experiencing those things and realizing that everything was okay that finally gave me the ability to trust that which I could not see and had no control over. The wonderful thing is that by making it through those times as gracefully as I could is what has given me the strength to live with the unknown everyday - which is what we do with chronic's what everyone does!
Sometimes in stepping off that cliff we don't fall...we fly.

Anonymous said...

OH FUNNY!! The above post is by ME...Theresa, with One Moment One Life! My daughter Anna must have been logged in on my computer! Funny what those kids do when they come home to visit!!


Deb aka AbcsOfra said... write so powerfully and so truthfully. I love the last line, it gives me inspiration to keep flying!

adrienne said...

I too used to be afraid of heights until I had someone push me in an elevator of a tall building then close the doors. I got to the top and saw the beautiful view. Cured! Now I have a fear of being wrong, of doing wrong, of making wrong decisions. Sometimes it is almost paralyzingly and scary. Everyone has their thing I guess. Right now my dog is terrified because it is thundering. See what I mean!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Adrienne...I am sorry you are having these doubts about being able to make the right decisions. Heck, you made it thus far, you are surely doing it right! I know these diseases can impact our security about ourselves and for sure put doubt in the mix. And I know I may sound nuts but do check side effects of any meds you might be on. These meds can sometimes impact our pyschological perspectives as well. Have you heard about the doggies vests for security? I saw them advertised and they mentioned thunderstorms. I don't have a pup so can't attest to their worth but you may want to look into one or put a post on FB is you have an account to ask others if they have tried them.

Christine said...

Great post! I have many fears but my current big one is just afraid of getting very sick again to the point of being dependent on others to physically take care of me and esp. in regards to being able to get around i.e. walking. I know it has to do with the whole Guillain-Barre thing I just went through and hopefully the fear will pass!

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Christine...your fears are what many experience with autoimmune illnesses. My heart goes out to you as I often think about these very things. I try to push them away and focus on what I can control, the things I can make a difference in on a daily basis be it: take my meds, eat healthy, try to keep moving and most importantly enjoy those around me that I love and hold close. This is probably the biggest reason I try to live in the moment and enjoy every single thing I possible can.

WayneyP said...

Is that the Skywheel in Myrtle Beach, SC? I too have a fear of heights. It's weird, if I am in an enclosed space, or on a balcony, as long as I am not right by the edge, I am fine. In fact, I like rooms higher up in high rise hotels. I used to work at a hotel in Myrtle Beach (Compass Cove) and enjoyed going up to the higher floors just to look out over the city. I never did go up on the roof, but not out of fear, only because I did not think of it.

Put me in a Ferris Wheel, or even a log flume ride and I do NOT do well. My eyes are shut as tight as I can shut them the whole time...and if I can bury my head in hubby's shoulder or something, even better. Of course he does NOT ask me to go on such rides. And my Mini BC (our 10 yr old) doesn't do so either. He thankfully has absolutely NO fear when it comes to things like that.

I think having been dx'ed wth JRA as a kid made RA less of a fear for me in many ways. Growing up with something will do that to you, make it less scary that is. That's not to say that some situations don't scare me. But, in those cases, I try to rely on my faith to get me past the fearful moments.

Deb aka AbcsOfra said...

Yes, it is! We did a visit to Myrtle Beach recently and I just had to ride it. I missed doing the one in England like 8 years ago and have regretted it ever since. My daughter and son also do not fear heights (as your children don't). I can't say I would have done that wheel if it wasn't enclosed. Nope, I am sure I would not have done it in fact :-) OK...maybe I am not completely over the issue of height but taking baby steps.

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