Fear is the enemy: stop feeding it
I have been compensated by Merz Pharmaceuticals, LLC for this blog post including for sharing information about XEOMIN® (incobotulinumtoxinA). I am not currently being treated with XEOMIN.
Fear is probably the single most damaging, debilitating, detrimental energy we have. It interferes with our healing process and our well-being in every area of our life. We cannot thrive when we are controlled by fear because fear clouds our thinking. Knowing this and learning to dismantle the fear response could be the saving grace to our mental and physical health.
For me, as someone living with cervical dystonia, a painful neurological movement disorder, fear has crept into my life many times. Not knowing how my body is going to behave from day to day or hour to hour is very disconcerting, which can lead to a state of fight or flight.
I work very hard to minimize this using a variety of protocols, but pain with an unpredictable, and sometimes apparent health condition like cervical dystonia, can lead to anxiety and fear. However, even people without a health problem live in fear over many things, so this article is applicable to anyone.
When I’m faced with fear, I often think of the movie quote, “Sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.”*
Feel the fear, whatever it is, and do it anyway. It will quickly dissipate, allowing us to move forward with confidence. Bravery is not being without fear. Bravery is having fear and walking through it.
The fear dog
Another story that comes to mind:
A student once asked his old yogi master how he maintained such peace of mind and physical well-being. “Oh, my son”, the yogi smiled, “You only see the outside of my life. Inside my mind, it is as if two powerful dogs are always waging war with each other.” “Wow,” said the student, “What do the dogs fight about?”
The yogi answered, “One is always leading me to a better life. Good health, strong energy, creativity, wonderful relationships, and constant joy and peace. The other is always leading me away from that wonderful place, to a horrible place that is its opposite. He has only one method, but it is a very powerful one. He leads me to fear. Once I am afraid, Icannot move. I am stuck and I can only spend my energy worrying and being upset or trying to prevent what I am afraid of. This dog causes me much suffering.”
“Tell me, Master, which dog most often wins?”
The yogi sighed, paused, then smiled and replied, “Whichever one I feed.
Which “dog” do you feed?
With cervical dystonia, it’s easy to get caught up in hopelessness. And I’m no exception. I used to feed the fear dog all the time. So, I know that chronic pain is difficult for so many people and that not everyone can conquer their fear without first managing their pain. Meditation and visualization are great tools, but what if you can’t even sit still due to cervical dystonia? What then?
I’d like to remind and reassure you that if that’s something you struggle with, there are options out there for you. One that I’d like to introduce is called XEOMIN® (incobotulinumtoxinA). In adults, it helps alleviate certain cervical dystonia symptoms, such as head or neck turning, shaking, pain, tremors, and stiffness. It’s a prescription medication that is injected into the muscles to reduce spasms/contractions, as well as other symptoms for various disorders. XEOMIN is a botulinum toxin type A product, which just means that it works by injecting proteins to help block muscle activity caused by incorrectly firing nerve signals.
XEOMIN is also manufactured through a state-of-the-art process that removes unnecessary proteins, leaving just the active therapeutic component. It’s also important that I mention that whether XEOMIN’s unique purification process affects long-term safety or efficacy has not been confirmed in clinical studies. An injection lasts three to four months, so consistency with XEOMIN would entail follow-ups. If you’re interested in learning more about XEOMIN, feel free to visit the site here.
There’s no “right” way to manage your feelings and pain. Do what’s best for you. XEOMIN is not approved for combination treatment with other therapies. As always, I encourage you to talk to your doctor about what management options are right for you. Make sure to advocate for yourself!
The effects of XEOMIN may spread hours to weeks after injection causing serious symptoms. Alert your doctor right away as difficulty swallowing, speaking, or breathing can be a sign of a life-threatening condition. Do not take XEOMIN if you are allergic to XEOMIN or another botulinum toxin, or have a skin infection at the injection site. Side effects may include allergic reactions or, depending on the FDA-approved indication: dry mouth, diarrhea, high blood pressure, seizure, nasal congestion, sore throat and runny nose, difficulty swallowing, neck pain, muscle weakness, pain at the injection site, muscle and bone pain, drooping of the eyelid, vision problems, or dry eye. For additional important safety information for XEOMIN’s FDA-approved indications, please visit XEOMIN.com.
Simplify your mind
I had to learn how to break the cycle of fear.
I realized one day that if I wanted to get on with my life and find some peace of mind, something had to change. But it wasn’t until I repeatedly put myself in situations that caused anxiety and fear that I was able to better learn to let time pass, which always allows the anxiety and fear to pass along with it. I used to always run from these situations which helped at the moment but never solved the problem. It actually made it worse.
So many of us live in this heightened state of fear, which greatly complicates our lives. We take ourselves too seriously and get so caught up in our heads, wondering and worrying what others might think or if we will be at our best all the time. For our overall well-being, we have to get out of our own way and do what we want regardless of what others think.
Getting up, laughing at the follies of life, shaking it off, and moving on rather than dwelling on my mistakes means less anxiety and fear for me. The anticipation of what might happen is almost always worse than what does.
Now, I practice breathing exercises, visualization, meditation, and other mind-calming activities to help me better sit with my anxiety. For me, meditation really helps. For you, it might not. I believe in finding that balance between what you can and can’t handle. Find your limit. Yours might be different from mine.
But know that despite what works for you—whether it involves managing your cervical dystonia symptoms with therapies like XEOMIN or finding time to practice mind-calming techniques—you can fight fear.** And you can win.
Start today in a small way: simplify your mind.
If you miss somebody…. call.
If you want to see somebody… invite.
If you want to be understood… explain.
If you don’t like something… say it.
If you like something… say it.
If you need help….ask.
It might take years to find that perfect balance. That’s okay! It took me many years and is still an ongoing process that will last the rest of my life. Understanding and accepting this is another way to calm my mind. But start now. Be who you are and say what you feel.
Show fear what you’re made of!
Tom Seaman is a Certified Professional Life Coach in the area of health and wellness, and the author of 2 books: Diagnosis Dystonia: Navigating the Journey (2015) and Beyond Pain and Suffering: Adapting to Adversity and Life Challenges (2021. He is also a motivational speaker, chronic pain and dystonia awareness advocate, health blogger, volunteer for the Dystonia Medical Research Foundation (DMRF) as a support group leader, and is a member and writer for Chronic Illness Bloggers Network, The Mighty, Patient Worthy, and The Wellness Universe.
*Benjamin Mee, We Bought a Zoo
**XEOMIN is not approved to treat anxiety or any mental health diagnosis.