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What Scares You? Nothing?

February 9, 2019

I go to therapy for the same reason I take my car to a mechanic, if something is not working correctly, I want it fixed. . .Except I’m my own mechanic, so I do the repairs myself.

I can’t do that with therapy. I don’t have the skills to fix some of the issues that I can address in therapy. Specifically I’m working with a wonderful therapist to address anxiety.

Anxiety and fear are not the same thing. Anxiety is a feeling of unease. The thought that something just isn’t right, or it might suddenly go wrong.

Anxiety is a pain.

Recently my therapist gave me an assignment.

I want you to think about what scares you. Come next time prepared to talk about that.

Let me ask you dear reader, “What scares you?”

Do you want to know what I came up with?

Nothing.

That’s crazy, of course. Everyone is frightened of something. Aren’t they?

I’m not saying I’m particularly brave. I’ve never run into a burning building to save someone. I’ve never put my life on the line on the battlefield and risks death to accomplish an objective.

So, can I honestly say that nothing scares me?

I thought about the common ones:

  • Public speaking? I never met a microphone I didn’t like. I have to remind myself to give others a turn
  • Flying? While I’ve had a panic attack that occurred on a plane, it had more to do with what was happening in my head than flying. I’ve flown close to a million miles
  • Intruders in my house? I have a baseball bat next to my bed and I’m quick to investigate anything that goes bump in the night
  • Spiders, snakes, creepy crawlies? You can eat most of those, right? I mean they are good nutrition
  • New people? Open spaces? Heights? Claustrophobia? Clowns? Ghosts? I got nothing

But, we can all say we aren’t afraid in the comfort of our home, right? It’s when we get into a stressful situation that we find out what we are really made of. I had two situations that happened that made me think, one recent one longer ago.

Several years ago I was taking a scout trip with a friend. He was driving and we had five boys in the back of his Suburban. We were driving through eastern Washington on a state road. At one point the road went from two lanes on our side to one.

David didn’t notice. He continued driving in the oncoming traffic lane. In the dark it was difficult to see the markings on the road. I thought he was attempting to pass a semi. The oncoming traffic was about a mile away. A closing time of 30 seconds at a combined speed of 120 mph. As the cars got closer I wondered when David would move over. Finally, the first car was upon us and swerved to the shoulder.

At this point David was confused. The next car was only. seconds away.

David! You’re in his lane. You.are.in.his.lane.

I didn’t yell and I didn’t panic. Somewhere in my brain I realized that if he didn’t move to the right in the next two or three seconds, we were going to die. And I certainly didn’t <i>want</i> to die, but I’d done what I could and it was up to him.

It’s taken longer to read it than it took to do it. Fortunately, he quickly merged right and the danger was passed. He took an extra hard grip on the steering wheel to keep his hands from shaking.

I didn’t know. I thought our lane kept going. If you hadn’t said something. . .

I did tell you I’m not a nervous passenger. Here’s the deal. If you want to tell this story, that’s up to you, but no one will ever hear it from me.

I just. . .I thought the lane kept going. . .

It took David several hours to calm down. I thought maybe I was just in shock. Right? It all happened so fast, I didn’t have time to react and later it would “hit” me. Nope. The boys were fortunately oblivious and I went back to talking about sports or jobs or whatever it was we were discussing.

I’m just glad I didn’t choose to sleep during that drive.

Recently, we had a police action in our little town of Pleasant Grove. About a block from my house there was a hostage situation earlier this week. A guy took two women hostage and threatened them. They managed to call the police and we had dozens of cop cars all over our neighborhood.

Our town has a text alert system. You sign up and the city will text you when stuff happens. . .Maybe the city offices are unexpectedly closed. Maybe the traffic signals went out. Maybe there’s a man with a gun loose in one of the neighborhoods.

The city went on lockdown. Citizens were asked to “shelter in place.” Lock our doors and windows and don’t go outside.

The fact it was about 25 degrees and snowy made it an easy order to obey.

The suspect escaped. We were all warned to be on the lookout. Meanwhile the police staked out his house. The next night he came back. My sons and I were across the street helping an neighbor clean some furniture out of her basement. The first indication we had that something was wrong was a loud BANG from the direction of the hostage house.

We looked and could see City trucks and police cars at the end of the block. Quite a bit of excitement for our sleepy little town.

Do you think that was a gunshot, Dad?

Maybe. But it sounded more like an explosion than a gunshot. I’m guessing the police threw a flash-bang grenade to disorient the suspect as they rushed the house.

We continued hauling stuff up from the basement. And then we got the text from the city. Lockdown was ordered again.

I guess I’ll take my boys home. We can come by tomorrow and finish up if you still need help.

Rodney, I’m SO grateful, but you need to go. I’m locking up the house. Hurry. I hope you arrive safe.

My boys and I walked across the street and up the steps to our frontdoor. It was locked, naturally, so we knocked.

What are you doing? They ordered another lockdown.

I know that’s why we came home.

Apparently, I did it wrong. I was supposed to stay at my neighbor’s house, I guess. I reflected back on the events. I distinctly remember thinking about the sound of a gunshot vs the sound of an explosion. The fact it was a block from my house was not a worry. Certainly not a fear.

Fortunately the police captured the suspect. The explosive device was described as a “door breaching device.” So, still an explosion, but possibly not an actual flash bang grenade.

During my next therapy session I had to admit that I couldn’t name a single thing that frightened me.

My therapist agreed that sounded crazy.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

Follow him on
Twitter (@rodneymbliss)
Facebook (www.facebook.com/rbliss)
LinkedIn (www.LinkedIn.com/in/rbliss)
or email him at rbliss at msn dot com

(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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