What Can We Do When We Feel Paralyzed by Fear? 

Fear has a way of overtaking us and making such an impact on our lives that we feel there’s nothing we can do anything about it. Our fears contribute to our mental health issues such as our depression and anxiety, and they become these invisible but totally debilitating, overpowering, destructive forces in our lives. We feel we have no recourse against them, and no way to protect ourselves from them or to escape them. We feel paralyzed by our fears, whether they’re fears we’re conscious of, and we can verbalize what we’re afraid of, or fears that are unconscious, and we’re feeling overpowered by stress, worry, and anxiety that we don’t understand and can’t rationalize. When we feel paralyzed by fear, we feel powerless. We feel like victims. We feel weak, vulnerable and defeated. How can we help ourselves cope with our fears and move beyond feeling paralyzed by them?

When we feel paralyzed by fear, we find it hard to move, to think clearly, and to find ways of dealing with our fear. When we shut down in this way, it’s because our fight-flight-freeze response has kicked in, our normal instincts designed to protect ourselves from danger. More often than not, our feeling paralyzed is not a result of any real, tangible danger but of our internal fears causing us mental and emotional pain and distress. We’re more afraid of our thoughts and feelings around the issue causing us fear than of any potentially negative consequences that might arise. We’re so afraid of our thoughts and emotions that we shut down in an attempt to avoid having to really confront them. We’re not usually conscious of this whole chain of events. All we know is we’re feeling desperately afraid, and we’ve shut down as a result. We’ve most likely begun to panic as well, adding to our intense feelings of helplessness and powerlessness.

We want to, as much as possible, keep ourselves calm because the panic we feel tends to be debilitating and can paralyze us even more. Let’s repeat calming affirmations. Let’s practice breathing exercises. Let’s learn about energy healing techniques. When we’re feeling panicked, let’s list the things we feel grateful for, in this moment and about life in general. Let’s call someone we trust to help us talk through our fear. The calmer we can stay, the more we can soothe ourselves whenever we’re feeling paralyzed by fear, the more we can find ways to move through our fear rather than remaining stuck in it and controlled by it.

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Riverside Recovery of Tampa understands all of the emotional challenges of addiction recovery and is here to support you or your loved one. Contact us today for more information.