So coming back from a mini road trip over the August long weekend, my friend and I had some good heart to hearts. At one point we had gone hiking on some beautiful trails. They wanted to go off the beaten path and I was too chicken because it was “snake territory” (for those that don’t know, one of my biggest fears is snakes). My friend thought it was ridiculous that I am holding out on experiencing things because “there could be snakes”. I was traumatized as a young kid with a snake, and it has remained embedded in my mind ever since. Needless to say, it became a mission to overcome this fear, or at least make a step in a positive direction.
What is fear? “Fear is a chain reaction in the brain that starts with a stressful stimulus and ends with the release of chemicals that cause a racing heart, fast breathing and energized muscles, among other things, also known as the fight-or-flight response” as put by How Stuff Works.
To overcome fear, we often need to understand what caused the fear. For me, I am able to identify it right away. For others, it might take some deep emotional digging. Next, we sometimes have to learn about certain aspects of the fear. My friend decided to take this approach and decided we were taking a detour and we ended up at a reptile zoo. I was crying and hiding behind them like an adult toddler. I was panicked and scared as we entered the snake area. After lots of coaxing, I was slowly able to stand looking at a few snakes behind 3 inches of plexi glass, including 24 foot anacondas. This was a small victory, but I still have a long way to go to overcome this fear.
Yesterday, I went for a hike with the same friend in the Gatineau Hills. I didn’t have snakes on my mind. However, we approached the end of a trail and a large rock. Low and behold, there was a garter snake, just slithering on by. My mind became paralyzed and I had a mini breakdown. I was not ready to see a snake outside of the confines of plexi glass. The rest of the walk was quite stressful for me. I was on high alert, thinking at any moment another snake would appear.
In good time, I am sure I will make smaller strides in the right direction to overcoming fear. These type of things can’t be rushed.