Five Ways to Conquer Your Phobias
Nicole looks like your typical successful career woman. She is good-looking, efficient and moves with ease inside her office. She can clinch important deals and ink million dollar contracts with overseas clients. But that's where the similarity ends.
Nicole has a problem. She holds office in her own bedroom. She rarely leaves the house and goes only as far as the garden gate. Whenever the supply for her basic needs run out, she troops to the nearest supermarket garbed in an opaque turban, dark wrap around sunglasses and loose clothes hanging freely over her entire body so she would be unrecognizable. If possible, she also takes her pet dog with her.
But Nicole is not sick, not physically at least. She has what psychiatrists call agoraphobia, or a fear of open spaces. For almost five years now, her condition has greatly hampered her life. She has kept herself indoors with the venetian blinds drawn to provide a sense of security.
Her maladaptive behavior was noticed when she had successive episodes of nausea, trembling and occasional paralysis while on her way to the office. Many well-meaning friends wanted to help her, but she refused them all. Sadly, to this day, this is the way Nicole maintains her life.
You may not behave as extremely as Nicole did, but you are definitely familiar with the sickening feeling of a phobia. Your source of fear could be a snake, the sound thunder, an aggressive-looking dog or closed spaces. However, unlike Nicole, you want to take charge of your life. You want to be free from cumbersome and irrational fears. The key in doing that is to follow these tried-and-tested tips for conquering phobias.
Realize it won't kill you. Sure, you may not avoid quaking in fear or gnashing your teeth, but the worst case scenario would not really result to your death. Being in this state of mind puts you in control of the situation.
Use distractions to your advantage. Supposing you fear snakes. You could go to a zoo and slowly desensitize yourself there. You can first look at the sturdy plants in the cage, then slowly move your gaze to the tail of the snake. Continue doing this until such time that you are comfortable staring at the entire eight-foot long of the cobra right in front of you.
Seek help. If all else fails, seek help from a reliable psychiatrist. A well-trained person can help you a long way in disposing of your fears, slowly but surely. They can construct an suitable clinical management of your condition.