Working with Fear

“Nothing can happen to you that is worse than living in fear that something could happen to you.”


What are you afraid of? Begin with the words, “I’m afraid…” Complete the rest of the sentence as many ways as you can, without thinking, without stopping.


  1. Ann Volkov says

    I am afraid of heights. I never used to be until I had children. Now I kind of freak out and my stomach does flip-flops.
    I am afraid that my oldest son will never find the love of his life. I am afraid that he will always be alone…no one to share his dreams with.
    I am afraid that my children will never see the “American Dream” of owning their own home. Especially living in Southern California.
    I am afraid that the state of our economy will never get better. Then again, there is nothing new under the sun.
    I do not live my life in fear. For fear to me is lack of faith in God. Yet, the things I listed above continue to cross my mind. As Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself”.

    • Andrea says

      Ann — once my children were born, I also discovered new fears. I imagine it is having so much more to lose that increases our fears. It has gotten better for me in some ways as they’ve gotten older. I’m no longer afraid to fly for example, but I fear for the state of the world they will live in.

  2. Lisa Bulman Taylor says

    I am afraid…

    I am afraid of so many things – Getting close to people. Physical contact. Crowds. People. Emotions. Confined spaces. Failure. To name a few.

    I am afraid…

    I am afraid of being trapped in myself. I am afraid that the anxiety, depression and paranoia will drive me back to the place I was before, incapable of functioning, incapable of leaving the house without using every ounce of willpower. I am afraid that I will be incapable of enjoying this life with my child, my husband, my friends, my community, my world. I am afraid that I will be incapable of using my talents and gifts for the reason they have been given me. I am afraid that I will live my life cloaked in fear and shame. I am afraid that the depression and anxiety are bigger than the spirit within me.

    I am afraid…

    I am afraid that HE will come back. The he that still lives in another province that almost destroyed my spirit and my life. The he that is buried and gone, in body but not in my mind. The them that were in the back of that car. The he that is now in prison. I am afraid that all of them will forever destroy not just my past but my present and future as well.

    Fear is battled with faith and love. Someone once told me “Fear knocked at the door. Faith opened and fear was gone.” I think the same thing happens when you begin to experience love. I also believe that fear is battled with a healthy dose of hope. I don’t know why I kept getting up after every time of falling down or getting knocked down. Someone I care for very much tells me that throughout my entire life, God has had his hands all over me. Even after periods of absolute hopelessness and attempts at suicide, something or someone was placed in my path to provide even the smallest glimmer of hope that things will get better. I have been shown love and as a result am developing faith. I am beginning to develop a faith in God, myself and others.

    Together, we can beat the fears.

    • Debbie O says

      Lisa – I really liked your line “afraid of being trapped in myself” – I can identify with that statement. I also think that “Together, we can beat the fears” – Thank you

  3. Rebecca Hudson says

    I’m afraid of not having the belief of the Father in the skies of Heavens above all, doubting God again, doubt who He truly is by having a weak heart, soul, and spirit, dropping into the shades of black, facing my inner demons and falling into the arms of the Devil. Causing the effect of weakness which makes me constantly doubt myself and not put any effort into making myself feel great, always having a low self-esteem and no self-confidence. I want to stay in the light of Heaven and stay protected by the gentle guardian angels that dress in all white and calmly play the relaxing sounds of the soothing harp.

    I’m afraid of being alone for the rest of my life, not having a man love me and accept me for who I am, including every aspect of my flaws. Not having him who always wants me in his arms, to protect me, to keep me safe and warm, to hold me when I cry. I don’t want the people who I currently have close to me in my life at the moment to walk away like the ones did in my past who I thought would always stay by my side no matter what happened and what wrong or mistake I did.

  4. jan says

    I’m afraid of getting really old and infirm, unable to care for myself.
    of running out of money if and when I can no longer work; of being too alone if I can’t create social connections; of the car breaking down; of being rejected after getting close to someone;

      • Ilana says

        Thanks, Andrea. I think I’m ready now. Will keep looking for your post when you are ready. Bravo to all of you- us who have the courage to face our fears.
        Well, here goes;

        “I am afraid….”
        I am afraid of the pain but I am going to have to face it if I want to conquer it.
        I am afraid of the memories but I am going to have to let them in if I want to overcome them.
        I am afraid of the self hatred but I am going to have to feel it if I want to render it powerless.
        I am afraid of the sadness but I am going to have to sit with it if I want to outlast it.
        I am afraid of making mistakes but I am going to have to make them if I want to keep on learning.
        I am afraid of the judgments but I am going to have to ignore them if I want to keep doing what I think is right.
        I am afraid of anger but I am going to have to accept it if I want to exist as an imperfect human in human relationships.
        I am afraid of rejection but I am going to have to risk it if I want to reach out to others.
        I am afraid of my own hatred but I am going to have to allow it if I want heal.
        I am afraid of the uncertainty but I am going to have to act anyway if I want to keep on living.
        I am afraid of the doubt but I am going to have to trust myself if I want to succeed.
        I am afraid of the dark. I am afraid if the night. I am afraid of the hours alone with all these things that hurt me.
        I am afraid I will survive, only to live forever in this dark and scary hole but I have faith. I have faith that one day I will look up to find the sun shining on my face and my beloved husband holding my hand. I have faith that he will smile and say “Thank you for surviving. Thank you for not giving up. Thank you for being mine.” My children will gather around me and chorus the most thrilling thing they could ever say to me. “I’m proud of you, Mama.” I am afraid but I have faith.

        “If you give 100% 100% of the time, something is bound to work out.” -Unknown

        • Andrea says

          I loved the hopeful imagery of your last paragraph. I did post but it isn’t showing up yet. Web changes I think. Glad you were able to finally write today.

        • Debbie O says

          Ilana – that was just beautiful. I have no words to describe my reaction, just my tears falling from how deeply your words touched me.

          • Ilana says

            Thank you, Debbie. A higher compliment I have never been paid. This kind of encouragement is the biggest inspiration I could ask for.

  5. Debbie O says

    I’m afraid to pull out of the driveway.

    Afraid to take this definitive step towards my new life
    Afraid my partner will slowly try to pull me back as she feels the loss
    Afraid she won’t
    Afraid she will find what she needs in the arms of her new friend, and I will no longer matter
    Afraid I will never the most important person to any one, ever again
    Afraid to open up to the possibilities of a joyful life, feel undeserving
    Afraid to run out of time
    Afraid I have permanently impacted my health through years of neglecting myself
    Afraid that no one will ever love me again
    Afraid to that someone might want to and I won’t know how to respond
    Afraid of the freedom before me even though it provides the inspiration to get up every morning
    Afraid of being old and alone
    Afraid to let my music out and dance a whirling dervish, what if I fail?
    Afraid I might like it so much I will never want to stop
    Afraid that I am making a mistake by wanting more
    Afraid that this failed relationship is really my fault after all
    Afraid I will never make peace with my body and the desire for physical intimacy
    Afraid to really let go of the limits that have defined me for so long, who will I be then?
    Afraid that when I find out, I will be rejected by….? I don’t know who, just afraid
    Afraid that no one will ever love me again
    Afraid that I will run out of time

    Uh-Fraid, I-cant, Uh-Fraid!, I-cant!, Uh-Fraid!, I-cant!, Uh-Fraid!, I-cant!….Fraid!, Fraid!, Fraid!
    These words form a pulsing beat in my brain matching the racing rhythm of my heart!
    My ears start to ring
    I forgot to breathe, I am passing out from fear.

    Breathe in, Breathe out
    Give yourself oxygen,
    Give yourself the essential building blocks of life

    I realize I am most afraid of living the rest of my life in fear
    Making only decisions to mitigate risk, not toward fully living
    I work to replace the mantra in my head

    Fully Living, Fully Living, Fully Living!
    I put the car in drive, take one more deep breath, and ease out of my driveway.

    • Andrea says

      Finally able to see the posts this morning. …afraid of living my life in fear…hmmm I can relate to that and so many of the others.

    • Ilana says

      Debbie- Beautifully written. I love the way you let us see your energy wane as it breaks down into the one phrase sentences, “U-Fraid. I-can’t” then you pick us up again, reminding us to breathe and finding new strength. I love how you face the first fear in your last sentence. It makes the end of the fear a beginning of hope.

      • Debbie O says

        Ilana – I sure hope it is the beginning of hope! I actually did pull out of the driveway on Tuesday of last week and drove across the country, back to Santa Cruz with my dog. The hardest part of the journey was the first mile.

  6. Breanna says

    I’m afraid of not living up to the standards I set for myself. I’m afraid of letting down the ones I love and those I respect. I’m afraid of sharing too much of myself and experiencing rejection of that core person who is me.

  7. says

    Sorry all for the glitches with getting posts actually seen this week…if you have problems in the future, please email me directly at so i can investigate the problem. Also, I’m sorry this was such a hard prompt…it’s actually got me thinking, too. What is it I’m still (or currently) afraid of?

    • Ilana says

      Laura- I think that fear is a part of life, just like all the things that we wrote we are afraid of. Life isn’t easy. Neither is writing, not if we experience either one to the fullest. This prompt was difficult but important. Thank you!

    • Debbie O says

      I think it very interesting to note how many of the fears we all share. Somehow this helps me. It’s like if I am sitting in the dark tonight, feeling unworthy and alone – I know there are others who would understand. I find that comforting in a perverse way. Not that I wish anyone sorrow, but as Ilana notes – these feelings already exist within us. And they don’t seem to last as long or seem as overwhelming in the “light of day” or when sharing “out loud”. Thank you.

      • Ilana says

        I agree and will reread this the next time I find myself trapped with my fears. We do not “wish anyone sorrow”. It is already there, no one is completely free of it. However, when we acknowledge that it is something we all suffer we can feel less alone and that is a considerable gift.

  8. Andrea says

    I’m afraid that Love isn’t enough. And if it isn’t, is there really any point to anything?

    I’m afraid that there is really no way for two people to truly understand one another. To KNOW what another’s pain, happiness, insecurity, devotion feels like.

    I’m afraid that words, as much as I love them, are ultimately useless beyond entertainment and organization.

    I’m afraid that forgiveness is impossible.

    I’m afraid of change. I’m afraid of no change.

    I’m afraid of being too tired to keep trying.

    I’m afraid to know that men are more sensitive and ultimately more fragile than woman. I’m afraid to know that I, as a woman, and am as strong as it gets, and that there is ultimately no one but myself that can take care of me.

    I’m afraid that we will never learn – that every hurt will be re-inflicted, every war refought, every disaster relived, every holocaust restarted, every planet ruined. Time and place and victims will change, but nothing else.

    I am afraid that we will never honestly believe that we are all unique while recognizing our sameness.

    I’m afraid that it doesn’t matter.

    • Ilana says

      Andrea- It was worth the wait. It has a beautiful flow and your pain is so startlingly clear. Very evocative. Thank you for sharing.

    • Debbie O says

      I want to echo all that Ilana said about your post. Wow!

      And add one more thing that was screaming in my head when I finished reading your writing…..

      It DOES matter. We all matter, no matter what.

  9. Bobbie Anne says

    I’m afraid of going to the dentist tomorrow. It involves a crown on one tooth and a root canal. I’m afraid of my husband. When he had a hip replacement and dental surgery I was there for him. When his dad passed and his mom developed dementia, I was there for him. He is an active alcoholic and abusive. I am afraid of him. When I showed my physical therapist bruises from him, he told me not to cause any trouble. When I showed my chiropractor, she didn’t have much of a reaction. When I asked for her to help me with a healing technique she had done on me, she said I could do it myself. I’m certainly not a chiropractor. I’m afraid I’m all alone. I’m afraid of my sisters and brothers. And yes, I’m still afraid of cancer. I’m a cancer survivor. I beat cancer once. Yay! Now the cancer has moved elsewere. No fair! I do go to a cancer support group once a month, but I need more than that. I’m afraid I don’t have family and friend’s to support me. I do have my faith in God! Thank you God for that! I can overcome my trials and tribulations when I put myself in God’s hands. I went to church yesterday. My husband tried to talk me out of going, as if he could do that. I walked to the church. When I came home he yelled and used God’s name in vain the whole day. We are of the same faith. We got married in that church. I’m going to remain positive and pray that I will be able to continue to survive and do what I must to survive and thrive!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *