Fear: An Emotional Rollercoaster Ride

11/09/2022by Terry White

Let’s talk about fear – one basic emotion of seven identified by psychologist Dr. Paul Ekman. At times just a modest jolt that gets your blood pumping and at other times a debilitating thunderbolt that freezes every muscle in your body.

Fear is an ‘emotional response to an immediate threat, real or imagined’ and although it is a negative emotion it is absolutely necessary as it plays an important role in mobilising us to cope with potential danger.

Enter the fight-or-flight response. Fight-or-flight is an automatic physiological reaction to a threat whereby the sympathetic nervous system prepares the body to fight or flee, and sometimes even freeze.

So, when you’re feeling afraid, alarmed, anxious, apprehensive, cautious, frightened, fearful, flustered, guarded, helpless, hesitant, nervous, panicky, powerless, petrified, rattled, scared, startled, terrified, timid, threatened… you’re feeling a degree of fear, and you may be moved to act.

Fear is quite normal.

When you are repeatedly exposed to a threat it may lead to familiarity, which can reduce the feeling of fear and hamper your fight-or-flight response. Or a persistent fear without a recognisable trigger can sometimes cause anxiety. Both of these responses may need to be addressed if fear is to play the role that it was intended for.

But more worryingly, specific fears sometimes become irrational. This is called a phobia – a persistent, excessive fear, where even the anticipation of the threat is so incapacitating it interferes with daily life. A phobia is a serious reaction to fear, and not to be taken lightly.

But have no ‘fear’, for these more extreme consequences there is help. There are people, organisations and support groups available who can provide assistance and comfort in a time of need. And Quandary Pond is one of them!

Terry White