The Secret to my Fear

Last day, I was reading a post (The Truth About Bees) in Tinkerbelle’s blog (it’s my top fav blog; do check it out when you can, you’ll love it!). It reminded me of how all our inexplicable or unnatural fears might have their roots in our childhood. You may never realize it, never even think about a possibility like that. Or maybe you have thought about it but can’t remember any childhood experiences that could be responsible for your fears.

Last week, at Goa, I got to encounter one such fear of mine. I had mentioned it in my blog post about the trip but it never struck me as unnatural, for some reason. While at the beach, the few friends who were with me were trying to go as deeper into the sea as they could. They enjoyed being dragged back to the shore by the huge waves, at times. All of them seemed completely comfortable and were, evidently, having a great time. Except me. I did enjoy it, I must admit. But whenever a wave took me off my feet, I felt this sudden panic, a kind of clutching fear at my chest and one thought running in my head – I’m going to drown. I was holding onto the hand of a friend but that did nothing to reduce the intensity of my ‘terror attacks’. He kept assuring me I wouldn’t get carried off or drown or anything of that sort. I would nod my head and smile at him. And then, the next wave would come along, bringing back the horror, all over again. Everyone tried to convince me I would be safe. I just didn’t know why it was impossible for me to accept it and have fun like them. After we got ashore, I never bothered to think about it. Until a couple of days ago.I have finally unearthed the possible root to my fear.

When I was 4 years or so, my family and I had gone to this beach (I don’t remember the details clearly, it’s all a vague memory right now). I was completely fascinated by the sea and couldn’t wait to get into the water. I was holding my dad’s hand and going into the water, slowly. At some point, I think I got toppled over by the waves or something. The next thing I knew, I had fallen down and my head was under water. I couldn’t breathe, I didn’t know what to do. My dad did pull me up right then. It might have lasted for hardly 2-3 seconds but during those couple of seconds, I felt a fear so terrifying that I couldn’t possibly put it into words. If you have read Deep Water by William Douglas, you will know exactly what I’m talking about. Anyway, I can also remember another similar experience from my childhood (during the same time period, I think) when I fell into the water and went through a crushing terror. So there, I have solved the mystery of my fear of the sea (or any water body, for that matter).

When I read Tinkerbelle’s blog post about a similar topic, I was surprised. I had just recently figured out the reason for my own fear. And I felt inspired to write about it. I have been asking my friends, too, if they have any unexplained, mysterious fears. And I have asked them to try thinking back, try to find out if some event in their childhood could be connected to it. Almost all such fears that we experience now can be connected to some such situation we went through as a child. So, in case you have wondered why you’re so scared of something, try to think back into your childhood. The answer might lie there! Now, that reminds me…what could possibly be the reason for my unnatural fear of cockroaches/spiders/creepy-crawly creatures??? 🙂

Photography by Martin Vincent

So, do you have any such unexplained fears? And have you realized what could be the reason for it?

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