Swimming in a Fear

You decide your next step. Unless someone else decides for you.

Salanda Martin
4 min readOct 5, 2022
Photo by David Boca on Unsplash

I feel fear. My heartbeat rises, and my breathing shallows as I almost stop breathing. My nervous system becomes millions of small knife impulses all over my body. Adrenalin runs in my veins. The sensation starts to be unbearable. My mind loses focus, and my concentration on what is, is more and more difficult. I am losing orientation to what is going on in the space. I am becoming an empty can, so empty that I cannot be dangerous, I cannot speak, I cannot move, I become a puppet without life. My life energy is spreading all over the place, I am an empty body without energy. I become the observer. Only my eyes are alive and want to communicate.

First wave of automatic reaction comes into my body. Freeze, do not say anything more, do something else, get away from this space. It is not good. It is painful. Push the fear away. Just fucking get that shit out of you.

Second wave, filled with inner voices, appears, pushing me: You should be able to stand that, it is nothing dangerous, you just asked, hey be a man, get it together, you know what you want. What is going on are you pussy or what. Get out of that state and be strong.

This all is happening just in a few seconds, this waste ocean of impulse and information, all inside of my body, my mind, my emotions. My system is full of hormones and adrenalin. It takes a few minutes until I come to the neutral position again.

The situation is over and my mind systematically returns back to that fear moment again and again. It repeats in my mind, it plays like a stereo recording over and over. I am looking on what happened, analyzing it, and changing points of view on what I went through. I am hooked there for the next 20 minutes. I wonder why.

A few hours go by and I go back to this moment again, now ready with my book. I write down each sensation I have experienced, each thought, and each voice in my mind. I repeat that sensation in my body. I stretch it. My system fights not to return to the sensation. I choose to stay present and search and describe the detail of the moment I had. I stretch it even more. Suddenly sadness strikes me. Yes, I do remember. I am 4 years all again. I am in my father’s workshop moving around. My father is doing something there. I am observing what he does. I get closer, wandering what he does, and uncoordinatingly with curiosity I bump into him. An immediate reaction comes from him, shouting: “Do not annoy me! Get lost!” I freeze. I do not understand. I am shocked and cannot move as I would be wrong. The fear of being abandoned I cannot bear. I decide to shut my curiosity down. It is dangerous to be so, I would have been left alone.

This situation is like a shadow in my unconsciousness following me since that moment, protecting me from experiencing the fear and madness I felt that moment in the workshop of my father.

The moment is still in my body. I am an adult now. I have my anger. I have my power. I have my will. I decide to navigate my feelings in that moment with my father. The fear in my mind wants to stop me. No. I decide and I go. I am not alone, I ask a man to represent my father. He stands in front of me. He declares himself as my father. I step into the situation again. Anger builds up in me. My fists get squeezed, and my body gets alert. The wave from my belly comes. I open my mouth and let the sounds out. First comes angry noise. Then the first words come. I look at him and scream: “Stop shouting at me! This is not fucking OK!” The waves go on and the rage is delivering the words I want to tell him. “Stop. If you ever shout at me again I will kill you!” The wave of my anger rises to its peak. “I do not fucking let you hurt me again. I take care of myself! I am curious.” And the anger goes slowly down. My body is shaking, integrating the experience. I am present. I am sensing tingling in my body. I am breathing deeply. My feet are grounded. Nothing can move me. I sense the clarity in my body, looking at him. My voice is clear. “I am fucking curious! I do not let anyone stop me! The game is over!”

This was the anger I could not express when I was young. The anger which goes through me to set boundaries, to create clarity about who I am.

One emotional loop is completed. You expressed what you could not express before. You found a part that you suppressed back then. One of the million parts you suppressed, pushed aside, hid, and avoided when you were young. Welcome back! Welcome you, who take care, who stands for something, whose curiosity wants to know more, discover, be present and find out, experience, be alive, be alive. Welcome!

In which fear do you relax next?