21st Century Hysteria

21st Century Hysteria

Recently, I’ve discovered something about myself that I really don’t like. I am swamped with fear. Fear of unexpected bills. Fear of missing payment on a credit card. Fear of cracking a tooth. Fear of my dog getting hit by a car. Fear of losing my debit card. Fear of car repairs, library fines, and the scale at the doctor’s office. Fear of making friends and losing friends, of college loans due, the gas pump, a phone call with tragic news or a demand that I jump into the car and race to the rescue of some other poor soul stuck on a raft like me.

I am choking on fear.

What I want to know is when the crap hit the fan and where was my lifeboat? Why didn’t I see the massive hump of that monstrous tsunami as it swelled on the horizon? Was I in the bathroom when “storm warning!” flashed across my life? Because nobody texted me and told me to pack my stuff and get up on the roof.

The only visitor that came calling was my old buddy, fear. He was wearing galoshes and carrying a briefcase stuffed with shiny steel instruments stolen from that doctor in the movie, “Day of The Jackal.” The weirdest thing about that moment was that I ended up whispering the doctor’s line over and over again.

“Is it safe yet? Is it safe yet?”

There is no worse torture for me than to be stuck with that kind of dialogue without the option for revision.

I am sick to death of fear. I am sick to death of his cronies, too. You know them. They’re the people who turn up to watch you crawl back onto the raft and then pile more luggage onto it under the guise of being helpful.

“If you do that, this terrible thing will happen to you, your family or your dog.”

Got a rash?

Could be cancer.

Got a headache?

You could need brain surgery.

No overtime?

Job’s probably going to China.

Thanks buddy. Could you hand me a straw to breathe through when my head goes under the water?

War. Gas prices. Failing economy. Drop in homes sales. Rise in unemployment. Dying honeybees. New viruses. Old plagues. It is a never ending flood of bad news and with the latest technology we can all spread the cheer from country to country. Yup. Fear has sprouted cyber wings and it’s aloft and looking to land on any head visible above the water line.

While I’ve been floating along on my partially submerged raft, I’ve reached three conclusions about my condition:

#1 There is no cure for fear.

#2 Hysteria is not a paddle that will get me back to shore.

#3 I am really, really pissed.

These three insights have led me to a deeper realization.

#1 Fear can motivate.

#2 Hysteria eventually burns itself out.


Pissed means I recognize the futility of thrashing around in the water while other people use my ass as their personal raft. Pissed lifts me above self pity, cuts through my whining, and hits me with the big revelation: I have to save myself, before I presume that I can save anyone else.

Pissed is my call to action. A stinging slap to my face that says, “Stop moaning and start building a bigger and better raft.” (Preferably one with a motor and a built-in compass.)

Hysteria is just a means to vent the extra crap that has nowhere to go. It is the button pushed to head off the ultimate explosion that could take me down. Once it’s over. It’s back to dealing with the situation.

Fear is the means by which I am pushed into the act of doing something to change my circumstances. It is my constant companion who will never fail to look me in the eye and challenge me to fight back. I take courage from the following quote:

“…if you’re paralyzed with fear, it’s a good sign. It shows you what you have to do.”
{Steven Pressfield : “The War of Art”}

I know what I have do. I’m jumping off this shoddy raft and swim for shore.

What about you?

Are YOU ready to get pissed?

4 Responses to “21st Century Hysteria”
  1. joni says:

    Well geez, I can’t jump on the raft to be with you, sorry, I’m the one out there walking on water because I will not let fear win any ounce of my being.

    Sure I get scared sometimes but my faith has carried me over rocky mountains, raging seas, and kept me out the quicksand more than once.

    So hang in there. Don’t let fear win. 🙂 I sure won’t! 🙂

    (((big hugs Raven)))

  2. ravenlaw says:

    Hi Joni,

    I’m so pleased to hear from you. Hope all is going well at WVU. The raft has done gone and sank. 🙂 But that’s oooookay. I’m building a new one. Might be worth blogging about how I get the job done.

    Thanks for stopping in.


    • joni says:

      It sank??? You did see that little life saver I tossed out to ya, didn’t ya??? Well grab onto it already and write til your fingers ache! 🙂

  3. Peter Knight says:

    Swimming, staying afloat. scared? Hell, yes! Keep going, Ravenlady. Venceremos!


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