Almost everyone has an irrational fear or two.
For most people, these fears are minor. But when fears become so severe that they cause tremendous anxiety and interfere with your normal life, they’re called phobias.
The good news is that phobias can be managed and cured. Self-help strategies and therapy can help you overcome your fears and start living the life you want.
I have no shame in admitting that my elder son actually helped me fight my water phobia and taught me how to swim. Mine was a fear of something simple, yet became a huge phobia. Imagine a 5″7” woman trembling in the shallow side of the pool, where I could stand with the water till my waist, and yet I was crying out loud.
It was only natural for me to want to avoid what I feared the most. But my 21 year old son taught me that conquering ones phobia was the key. While avoidance would make me feel better in the short-term, it prevented me from learning that my phobia may not be as frightening or overwhelming as I had come to believe.
Here are little things my son tried to help me overcome my phobia:
- Demystifying the water for me by explaining the properties of buoyancy – what happens when we’re in water, and/or it goes into our ears or nose, or washes overhead.
- Starting the lesson outside the pool and establishing trust (small steps) – my son would be in the water while I would just sit at the edge of the pool and dip my feet in, or stand in depths comfortable for me, and he’d splash water at me.
- Getting me to practice relaxation techniques like breathing and visualization outside the water first, so these techniques would become easily accessible if needed in the pool
- The Partnership Method. This worked as the most effective one – I was afraid to walk alone, so my son would walk ahead of me while I waded through water, taking small to big steps – sometimes splashing and sometimes even screaming. This gradual method of managing fear-related anxiety increased the distance to a point that I was able to walk reasonable distances alone.
While it did take awhile before I was completely willing to jump into a pool or get onto a banana boat, it was worth it! I no longer need to sit on a beach bed alone while the entire family is playing water volleyball!
What we don’t realise as parents is that we overcome a bunch of fears while bringing up our children, every day. Fears like not holding them right, not feeding them right and many many more. And this only hits us in the real sense when one day, our children are old or wise or skilled enough to help us through a phobia or a fear. Hats off son, I didn’t see this coming!
Image source : Pixabay | Corbis