Fear Series—When Fearlessness Turns To Anxiety



As we grow up and begin to mature, it becomes our life experiences that continue to build our character. The things we learn through our encounters, leave a lasting impression on us and contribute to our likes and dislikes, and suit us up for how we deal with life on a daily basis.

Often, if we haven’t endured devastating circumstances, we many not notice the simple progression of ourselves. We tend to be influenced by our surroundings, people in them and pent up stressors.

All these factors and so many more are part of the foundation for our living patterns, and are responsible for many of the fears we develop, whether we are conscious of them or not. We may not recognize that being chased by a dog at a young age can instill a fear of dogs afterwards, or how some wronged violation on our person can leave invisible scars, yet the emotional fears from that violation will always be present whether hidden or exposed until they can be dealt with. Everything in life leaves its invisible paper trail through our psyches and becomes a part of the way we think and feel.

It was merely only a few decades ago that I would have considered myself fearless. I was game for anything, sometimes perhaps too frivolous. I traveled on my own to foreign countries at a young age, but most of all, I’d drive anywhere, any time, alone, no matter how far.

I once worked in sales, on the road for a photo studio. This job entailed me driving to any particular, sometimes desolate place throughout the province of Ontario on a daily basis. Neither distance nor inclement weather stopped me. I often liked to drive over the Buffalo border to the United States, just to do some mindless shopping, at a moment’s notice. I didn’t need company or a navigation system, I just got in the car and went.

My independence was certainly acquired from becoming an adult at a very young age from the responsibilities I took on as a child. In many respects, it helped build my strength and determination. My unfounded fears from an uncertain childhood seemed to dissipate though, as I matured in a clichéd sort of way of “what didn’t kill me, made me stronger.”

As I look back at my brazen younger years, I can’t seem to figure out what the heck has happened to me in the last decade. Where has my fearlessness gone? Many times now in life when I think about how I used to react with great enthusiasm and spontaneity, I find that anxiety has replaced it. I’ve always analyzed my life since I was a child, and usually found a way to conquer my fears. But I’m finding as I get older, it seems that was easier to do when I was younger. Why is that? Do we know too much? Do we over-analyze and become more cautious? Have we seen too much bad? These are the questions I now ask myself when I try to understand why I am no longer fearless of some things.

I don’t like to just accept things. I like to know why and how they came to be. I want to know when I lost my carefree attitude and became a fearful driver. When did my fearlessness abandon me?

I often feel closed in now, claustrophobic on overly trafficked streets of the city. There are so many bad drivers it seems. I feel as though I can’t trust ‘the other guy’ who decides he wants to change lanes without looking, and that I will potentially be side-swiped. Green lights no longer mean ‘Go’ automatically, and red lights don’t necessarily make people stop, but speed up through them, well after they have turned red. My eyes don’t fancy the oncoming headlights at night, and I dare not ever leave my car without locking it. These are just some of the fears that now overshadow my once fearless attitude to just hopping in the car to destination anywhere.

Before I wrote this, I thought that I couldn’t figure out where my driving fear came from. But I think I’ve just answered my own question.

Have you any fears that have either subsided or increased as the years pass?


D.G. Kaye©April 2015