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How to deal with phobia's
Knight
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We've talked a lot about overcoming fear, which is essential for Jedi. However, what about those more deeply rooted phobias? It's easy to say that Jedi should always face fear with courage; to grow from facing our fears and to never allow them control over us. But with phobias, fear can become a different opponent altogether, and conscious mindfulness and awareness might not be enough to tackle it. Jedi are human foremost, and we are as prone to have to deal with phobias and anxiety as any other person.

I've been reading up on how to tackle phobia this morning, as I had a scare yesterday, lol. Basically I have a pretty severe tick phobia, and I'll be open about the fact that it really robs me of self-control. I snapped the heck out of the girlfriend because I had to sit and look at photos of ticks to investigate what could possibly be a tick bite on my lower back. In that moment I was completely taken over by my stress-response, and I was unable to control how I was talking to and behaving towards my girlfriend. Obviously she understood the situation and wasn't upset; but when it comes down to it it's definitely non-Jedi behavior to act out due to innate fear.

So I did some investigation.

Found this rather nifty article dealing with how to handle and overcome a phobia:

http://www.sciencefocus.com/feature/f ... ercome-your-fears-4-steps

It's mostly focusing on exposure therapy and facing the object of your phobia through limited exposure, taking it up a notch whenever you feel able to handle it.

This article (http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/phobias-and-fears.htm) defines a phobia this way:

"If you have a phobia, you probably realize that your fear is unreasonable, yet you still can’t control your feelings. Just thinking about the feared object or situation may make you anxious. And when you’re actually exposed to the thing you fear, the terror is automatic and overwhelming."

It also ties a reaction due to a phobia with a physical response, unlike much of our fear which is less physical of nature, and more intellectual. Obviously we will in most cases feel some sort of physical stress response regardless of what kind of fear we are facing, but with a phobia the stress-response will be far more devastating and automatic, more severe. At least that is the way I interpret what I've read about it tied to my own experiences. This article covers well the differences between "regular fear" and "phobia fear".

I haven't taken a forest trip in 10 years because of my tick phobia. When I was younger we went to the forest often, but as I grew older and ticks became more and more plentiful, I pretty much stopped going. Now just the thought that a tick had at some point been on me was enough to stress me out quite a bit, and I've already gotten a doctor's appointment to check for any tickborn diseases, just to be sure.

But it's not enough to simply know about the phobia; it's something to be overcome, like everything else. And there are ways to go about tackling a phobia, even if it may be slightly more complicated that your "regular" fear.

This article also speaks of whether to go the self-help or the seek treatment route.

"As a general rule, self-help is always worth a try. The more you can do for yourself, the more in control you’ll feel—which goes a long way when it comes to phobias and fears. However, if your phobia is so severe that it triggers panic attacks or uncontrollable anxiety, you may want to get additional support."

Obviously in a case like mine, it's not so uncontrollable that it presents a problem in my everyday life, so in those cases I'd think it'd suffice to look to self-help techniques to overcome the issue. At least unless the self-help technique seem to worsen the issue or you experience particularly troublesome reactions or issues after trying it.

Even with phobias the basic exposure technique does follow the idea of facing the fear head on.

"While avoidance may make you feel better in the short-term, it prevents you from learning that your phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as you think. You never get the chance to learn how to cope with your fears and experience control over the situation. As a result, the phobia becomes increasingly scarier and more daunting in your mind."

That's the point, isn't it? We're not victims helplessly pulled by the waves or hapless bystanders in our own lives. We are active participants, and we have the power to make whatever changes that are needed, when we deem them needed.

"The most effective way to overcome a phobia is by gradually and repeatedly exposing yourself to what you fear in a safe and controlled way. During this exposure process, you’ll learn to ride out the anxiety and fear until it inevitably passes.

Through repeated experiences facing your fear, you’ll begin to realize that the worst isn’t going to happen; you’re not going to die or "lose it." With each exposure, you’ll feel more confident and in control. The phobia begins to lose its power."

This fits with the exposure therapy treatment that I see Cognitive Therapist swear by.

They also write about taking the steps of a "fear ladder". That is how gradually this is supposed to be done.
Here's an example:

"Facing a fear of dogs: A sample fear ladder

• Step 1: Look at pictures of dogs.
• Step 2: Watch a video with dogs in it.
• Step 3: Look at a dog through a window.
• Step 4: Stand across the street from a dog on a leash.
• Step 5: Stand 10 feet away from a dog on a leash.
• Step 6: Stand five feet away from a dog on a leash.
• Step 7: Stand beside a dog on a leash.
• Step 8: Pet a small dog that someone is holding.
• Step 9: Pet a larger dog on a leash.
• Step 10: Pet a larger dog off leash"

There's a warning there as well:

"While it’s natural to feel scared or anxious as you face your phobia, you should never feel overwhelmed by these feelings. If you start to feel overwhelmed, immediately back off. You may need to spend more time learning to control feelings of anxiety (see the relaxation techniques below), or you may feel more comfortable working with a therapist"

Basically, exposure therapy or self-help techniques revolving around exposure can back-fire if we're not mindful and careful. A failed attempt at exposure can worsen the phobia, and this will happen if we're not careful about taking things slow and with smaller steps at the time. We need to heed the warnings of the body and keep mindful that we do not push too hard too fast, lest we self-sabotage and take one step forth, then three steps back.

Even in this scientific article, meditation and relaxation techniques is mentioned:

"Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, and muscle relaxation are powerful antidotes to anxiety, panic, and fear. With regular practice, they can improve your ability to control the physical symptoms of anxiety, which will make facing your phobia less intimidating. Relaxation techniques will also help you cope more effectively with other sources of stress and anxiety in your life."

Sorry this thing ended up so long, but this was actually a rather interesting topic to go through, and I definitely recommend reading the full article for anyone who struggle with a phobia or two. I've never really seen reason to combat my tick phobia, as it has been easy enough to avoid the object of my fear. However there may come a time when I am needed to focus, and who knows how that one phobia could mess things up for me and those around me. Might be time to tackle this one! And perhaps it's time for you to tackle one of your own, should you have one :)

I'd like to sideline something here, as we've recently debated it: Gratitude. It's easy to feel grateful over the good things, but it's definitely not easy to feel grateful towards the tick that scared the crap out of you. However, easy isn't how we go as Jedi. So I am sitting here and reinforcing my ability to be grateful, by thinking of that poor tick with gratitude over it inspiring me to think closer on the concept of phobia, write a bit about it and do some work to combat it. Thank you, tick-buddy. (Writing that made me shudder, lol)







Posted on: 2016/7/19 2:48
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Re: How to deal with phobia's
Apprentice
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I've actually been doing something a little similar. I'm afraid of heights, but I've also wanted to start parkour. Those two can't mix so I've started climbing a tree in my yard. Each week, I go as high as I feel comfortable. Today, I wasn't afraid as much as I was doubting my physical ability to go higher.

Posted on: 2016/7/19 14:46
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Re: How to deal with phobia's
Knight
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Nice work, Silver :)
Just be careful, lol.

Posted on: 2016/7/20 1:26
_________________
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Jedi name: Nira Morgan
***
Trained under: Master Ace Venom
***
Current apprentice(s):
* Amara (Amy)
* LoverofKnowledge (Leena)

***
Obi-Wan:(...) Master Yoda says I should be mindful of the future.
Qui-Gon Jinn: But not at the expense of
Transfer the post to other applications Transfer






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