The thing is, my fears were very real to me at that time and while they had some medical element in there origins they were also very much in my imaginings that something bad was going to happen, to me, to my children. Nothing bad did happen, and while logical me sees that now - it doesn't count for much when you're experiencing debilitating fear of any kind.
What I did learn from my experience was that all of us have the courage within us to fight, to face our fears and to overcome them. It doesn't mean it's an easy process or that someone waves a magic wand and we suddenly wake up and our fears are gone.
I found this quote which for me describes courage better than any dictionary meaning I could find. "Courage is the ability to act, to take the next step, despite or in spite of a negative emotion dominating the body. Courage is not the absence of fear; rather, it is the trait that allows us to act while the energy of fear is present" ~ courtesy of Courage is Facing Fear
While I've not experienced such overwhelming fear for almost 16 years now, it doesn't mean that those feelings have totally vanished. It means that I recognise when I start to feel anxious and I now have the ability to reason that it won't kill me, in most cases it won't even physically harm me. It may make me feel uncomfortable, I may fail at what I'm attempting, I may even make a fool of myself - but I will survive the experience, it's not fatal.
Unless of course we're talking about leaping out of a plane and then that's a whole different post...
Nothiing that I've faced since that time in my life has quite compared. Sure making the decision to return to school and finish my school certificate meant that I was almost physically ill in the car driving there on my first day, not to mention actually making the decision to do it.
Sitting entrance exams for university and I thought I was going to pass out from nerves. Job interviews, bring on the blithering idiot who can't string two words coherently together. I kept going though, one step at a time because once I got past the depression and anxiety I swore that I would never ever let myself get that bad again.
Anything else I now face will be a walk in the park, that's my mantra. Different fears will always arise because life is about change - what I learnt was it's how we handle change that makes the difference. Don't fight it, but learn how to harness it.
If you need help to face your fears - then find someone to help, my doctor was my rock and then the support group he sent me to. Close friends and family members also provide an ear, a few words of encouragement, a shoulder to cry on and when all else fails I take myself to the pages of my journal or my blog and I pour out my heart, vent my anger, voice my frustrations and then move on. One step at a time.....
I am by no means lessening the reality of depression, anxiety or any other condition that makes people fearful. This is purely my story, my experience and my way of harnessing my fear and taking control of it - because I will no longer let it control me or my actions.
Hopefully something here will help at least one person to face their fears and reach for the stars.
Other Links worth looking at:
This is my story here
For sufferers of depression and / or anxiety - please seek help. Here are two sites to search for more information - Beyond Blue which is the national Australian website or if you're in the US - NIMH.
What does courage look like ~ Jungle of Life website
Enrich your life by facing your fears head on ~ Serene Journey website
Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. ~ Mark Twain