I Hope Overcoming One Of My Biggest Fears Can Inspire Others

I Hope Overcoming One Of My Biggest Fears Can Be A Lesson To Everyone Who Is Afraid

If I can overcome my fears, so can you.

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Fear is a terrible feeling. It not only causes discomfort but stops you from living your best life.

There are a lot of issues I never confronted in my past. I have more past fears and future fears than any present fears.

In my experience, the worst kind of fear is the fear that is so overwhelming, it paralyzes you. It feels almost as though you are frozen in time, but everything around is still moving - like you are unable to interact with everything going on in the present moment. That is the worst kind of fear.

Going into graduate school, I had no idea how different it would be from undergraduate studies. I only knew what I researched. The problem caused was that I had not experienced being in graduate school yet and the research was all hypothetical. It almost set me up for failure.

One of my biggest fears is to fail at anything.

Being successful in academia is the most important to me among all other things. Failure is disappointing and often causes me to re-evaluate what I am doing with my life. Re-evaluating, though necessary at times, does sometimes take me to a dark place where I question everything, including my reason for being.

I like to think I am a cheerful person with a positive attitude towards most things. But a smile can still hide a lot of things, including how someone truly feels.

I had no expectations going into graduate school, so they couldn't have been destroyed. I was surprised by how foreign it felt. It is a different environment. The grading scale is very different and there are few assignments all semester to determine your grade. For my program so far, all my classes have two papers and a presentation that accounts for the entire grade.

After a month of no graded work, I got my first graded assignment back. It was not bad, a B-. I hold myself to a high standard and am the harshest critic on myself. I know this could be unhealthy, but I have always seen not being successful at things as important to me as not fulfilling my life purpose. I would be embellishing if I said I felt shattered or devastated, especially because I wasn't. I just knew I need to do better because I am better than that grade.

I also know that one grade does not define my success.

A former professor of mine once mentioned a belief among reputable institutions with graduate programs that failure in graduate school is not the same as it is in undergraduate studies, especially because you cannot get an E or an I for an incomplete. Failure is thought to be a C. Graduate school is set up to weed out people who will not be successful in the field for which the program of study is designed.

If I am being honest, I am afraid to move forward with future assignments. I do not want to place so much effort and time into assignments only to be told it was not good enough.

But if I do not try, I will never know the outcome. The outcome could be better than I anticipated. I have people who believe in me and are giving me the push I need to move forward.

My advice to anyone who reads this is to go be unafraid and just do things you are scared to do, with no care for the outcome. You can deal with the consequences later if it comes to that. Never knowing could be so much worse than having tried and failed. That says a lot, coming with someone plagued with a fear of failure.

As the saying goes, do as I say, not as I do.

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black-and-white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble, and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling, whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die?" or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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I Stopped Wearing Makeup For A Week And I've Never Felt More Confident

You don't need makeup to look and feel beautiful if you don't want to.

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I began wearing makeup in middle school for special occasions. Whenever there was a school dance, I'd don on some mascara and I would feel beautiful. This continued until the end of my sophomore year of high school when I decided that putting on makeup would become part of my everyday morning routine. Eventually, wearing makeup was something people expected to see rather than something that I wore on occasion.

Things stayed the same until my freshman year of college. There were some days during my first year in college that I couldn't be bothered to wear makeup, because I was in a rush. However, whenever these days occurred, I usually had friends ask me why I was so tired and if everything was okay. I have prominent bags under my eyes that I usually cover up with a concealer, and though I slept enough and tried many remedies, they just wouldn't disappear. Without my makeup though, my friends were concerned and thought that something might be wrong. While they had good intentions, I thought that I must not look good without my makeup.

From then on, I started wearing makeup every day, no matter what. If I went to grab some food quick, I had to wear makeup. Review session for math on Saturday in the morning? Makeup. Volunteering for a club? Makeup. Class? Makeup, always makeup. If there was any chance that I would run into someone that I knew I had to put on makeup because I felt that I would be judged and wanted to look my best at all times.

When I started taking an 8 a.m. class this semester, something changed.

One day, I was running late and was rushing to get to my class on time. I didn't have time to put on any makeup before class. At first, I was self-conscious without any makeup covering up my circles and I felt naked. I thought that people would notice, but I don't think that anyone even noticed. The following week, I had exams and felt that getting a few more minutes of sleep was much more satisfying than putting on makeup, so I went without any makeup that week. At first, I was still self-conscious of not having anything on my face to cover up the imperfections, but as the week wore on, I felt free. Without any makeup, I never had to take any off at night. Normally my mascara takes forever to get off, which is a hassle. Also, I felt that without the makeup, I felt like I looked better over time. I was more confident about how I looked with and without the makeup.

Since that fateful week of not wearing makeup, I've found that not wearing any makeup to be extremely freeing. While I do still sometimes put it on, it is no longer a necessity. If you wear makeup constantly, I suggest trying to go without wearing makeup for a few days. There's nothing wrong with wearing makeup, and there also isn't anything wrong with not wearing makeup either.

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