I just learned the meaning of the word Atelophobia this week, it means: A person who suffers from anxiety and always feels like they are doing something wrong.
I found this word interesting because I do suffer a bit from anxiety. Nothing major, I’m just a nervous person (at times). As I read more about this anxiety disorder it dawned on me that most of its symptoms resemble how I felt when I began to write my stories. It’s also how I felt especially when I had others read what I had written. I would have recurring mental phobias each time I sat down to compose—I’m actually having them right now as I write this Blog post.
You are not good enough ► No one will read this ► You’re a bad writer
Why bother ► You’re not smart enough
So what is Atelophobia exactly? Psychologically it can be due to early childhood trauma, an event that caused the person to feel unsure of their actions. Or it could be traced back to the person having parents or peers that constantly convinced them that they were imperfect or flawed. In other words, the person is not secure or confident in his/her own abilities, creating low self-esteem. The feeling of being ‘wrong’ or ‘not-good-enough’ is one of the mental phobias associated with Atelophobia. As a result any stressful situation triggers fear in the brain of an atelophbic and the brain immediately triggers the ‘fight or flight’ mode in the person.
As soon as I read about atelophbic triggers like: fear, stress, fight or flight, I knew I had these symptoms when I wrote. They are defiantly extreme because I’ve been a closet-writer all of my life. Only recently, have I tried to work pass the fear, allowing myself to write online and seek out constructive criticism on my stories from others. This task hasn’t been easy.
Lately I had a major ‘fight or flight’ moment. I am part of a writer’s group, which I found within a writing forum. It’s a good group, and it’s a good way to have your stories criticized in hopes for you to improve as a writer. But I’ve been secretly pissed-off with the group members because I am literally ‘the-weakest-link’. Every story I write has major grammar and punctuation errors. That I have to accept because it is what it is (I have to improve on that), but the content of my story, the plot, the tone, the characters, I know are decent, but they always fall flat in comparison to the other group members. That is because my style is different. So I am now exhausted with reading how bad my writing style is (even if they write it in a nice way). So my first reaction was to ‘fight’ and tell them off, but my good nature prevented me from that, and so my ‘flight’ kicked in and I was about to politely withdraw from the group. Good thing I allowed myself a cooling off period as I decided to continue.
“I failed my way to success.” — Thomas Edison
I’m smart enough to know I have to work through the fear and through the anxiety of criticism.
The stress I felt about reading their feedback was overwhelming, that I became concern for myself so I started to do research online on the subject of anxieties, and that is how I found Atelophobia. There are many other factors in my life that contribute to my stress and how my personality is that may contribute to my nerves, but I’ve always has a bad fear that everything I write is crap and not worth reading.
I read up on the symptoms and whether or not I have Atelophobia is subjective, but I do know that the feelings of fear, fear of failure, fear of starting something new, fear of writing, fear of others reading my writing, fear of rejection, fear in general is keeping me from being the writer I want to be. I do feel on a regular basis that I am not good enough, or in the case of this writer’s group I am not good enough for them and their standards. Maybe there is truth in that, I may not have the abilities that they do, but I am good enough in my own right, as a writer.
What has perplexed me is the notion of … why can’t I just be confident in myself and be the writer I am? Why does it matter what other’s think? I know that most of you reading this have similar fears or think negatively at times, it’s a work in process to build self-esteem and confidence. I just feel that years of mental self-programing has given me irrational fears about writing. Not having people support you or cheer you on, does come into effect. I’ve had moderate support when it came to my writing, but people in the public have never told me I was good enough, so I ended up believing it and closing myself up to the world.
I am a strong believer in mind over matter, and how we think and feel creates our reality or possible futures. I know if I change my mind I can create changes, it won’t be easy like wishing on a shooting star. I have to change my thinking patterns and my feelings to re-program my subconscious mind to believe I am good and I am talented and My stories have a place in this world. I can’t live waiting for other’s approval; I have to approve myself the work I’ve written. I’m working on that, and to boost up my self-esteem through exercises I’ve read from many books such as: Breaking the Habit of Being Yourself by Dr. Joe Dispenza and The Magic by Rhonda Byrne.
One thing I possess that I am proud of is my logical thinking. I am a clear thinker. I am not delusional about who I am, what my skills are or what I can accomplish. I may fall short to low self-esteem once in a while, but I know I have many different talents, worth investing in. One of them has always been writing. I know I am a decent writer and some people will like my work, will I ever be like Emily Dickenson…. no she was a poetic genius, or reach the fame of Stephen King…. probably not, but what is stopping me from just simply being me? The only thing stopping my growth has been this uncontrollable Fear and Self-Loathing. Having others read and criticize my work has amplified that Fear (times a million) that every thought in my mind and body is telling me to ‘flight’ out of the given situation and go into a safe zone.
This in my mind is my writing Atelophobia.
So, if you like me are an aspiring writer, let’s see what we can do together to rid ourselves from our Writing Atelophobia — feeling and think that we are not good enough!
First off, do you suffer from these symptoms on a regular basis when you write or try an activity you want to do?
Difficulty thinking about anything other than the fear Feelings of unreality or of being detached from yourself Fear of fainting Pessimistic view on the outcome of situations before it happens Low self-esteem Extreme disappointment if he or she fails at something
Constant worrying about upcoming activities An overbearing amount of fear Unhealthy emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt and hurt The desire to abruptly leave the situation
Perspiration due to stress Nausea Panic attacks Dizziness Accelerated heart rate Chest pains Hot or cold flashes Numbness or tingling feelings Trembling or shaking Shortness of breath Insomnia Increased muscle tension Dryness of mouth Constant restlessness
If you answer yes for most or experience some with high anxiety, you may suffer from Atelophobia or have developed a nervous condition.
IMPORTANT: The first step to recovery is talking to a health care professional. Please seek out your Family Doctor before trying any of these recommendations, as these are simply self-healing techniques based on my opinion.
Fear is a habit, so is self-pity, defeat, anxiety, despair, hopelessness and resignation. You can eliminate all of these negative habits with two simple resolves,” I can! and I will!”
Fear is the root to the problem, if you stop yourself from doing something you want to do because of FEAR it’s a phobia you must overcome.
What can you do to overcome FEAR…..
If you go the route of a psychologist, Exposure Therapy is probably what they will recommend. Exposure Therapy is a form of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The treatment involves the patient exposing themselves to highly stressful situations involving the distinct phobia to overcome their anxiety. But if you like me, cannot afford her own therapist and are keen with self-healing we can develop our own Exposure Therapy, because yes exposure to the fear is one of the best ways to conquer it.
In my case, when I feel that I want to quit my writing group or ‘flight’ out of a hard situation, I allow myself mentally to know that I am angry and uncomfortable, so I have to pass that emotion out of me, I do this by cooling down. Because I have determination, I fight against the fear or sorrow of criticism and work through my own writing fears. I know if I do that continuously I will grow a thicker skin to critics or people’s rejections. That is how you work through the fear, expose yourself to it and endure with strength, sooner or later it will feel better, allowing you to handle the situation without a ‘fight or flight’ response.
The trick is to change your thinking habits and to replace negative self-talk. Than we have to tackle how we feel, and how the body reacts.
When I: Fell sorry for myself, Eat away at depression ,Procrastinate, Gossip or talk badly about others, Sulk.
I know that these are actions that limit my potential because I formed a habit of doing these actions because I am distracting myself from changing and or being the person I want to be. I want to be a writer, so I have to rehearse and reprogram new thought patterns and match them with feelings and actions to form new healthier habits.
There are many strategies to do like mediation, positive self-talk, journaling, setting goals, and finding support. My boyfriend is a positive person and always cheers me up when I get down for wanting to write a Novel and the challenge it might be to have it published. He believes in me, why shouldn’t I?
Ask yourself these questions: How Do I want to Think? How Do I want to Act? How Do I want to Feel?
Meditate on these, and think and feel them as you would want to be. Each day do this and through that actions you are reprogramming your mind to Think, Act, Feel as you would want to be. You can use your will, intention and sincerity to go beyond the FEARS you have, and know that you have no limitations, you CAN DO IT! Just TRY! Over time, you will be able to work through the Fear, this is what I believe will help me.
Awaken to the notion that you have fears and be brave enough to challenge it head on, I am, I don’t know how long it’s going to take for me to overcome my phobias of writing but I know I am writing now, and that my friends is half the battle won.
“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” — Frank Herbert
I aim to be the master of my mind, body and soul, and with hard work I will get there, being fearless when I write or have others read my writing is something I know will get better.
Thank you Dear Reader for joining me today ,
please leave me your thoughts on writing and fear.
± S.L.G ±
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