Fear is the opposite of faith; it can keep you enslaved and frozen, which will stop you from taking initiative or control of your life. — David Jeffries
Hello, once again, to all of you who continue to follow the ”Starting Anew” column. In this article, I will be touching on the issues of fear, doubt and moving forward.
As in my past articles I always try to ”keep it real” and not sugarcoat the areas of my life that have been and sometimes continue to be a struggle since my release from incarceration over three years ago. Whenever I experience setbacks in my life regarding my mental health as well as physical health, I tend to make some decisions that are not good and basically cause emotional hurt to people who care about me.
Within the past couple of months, I went through a battle with depression and becoming accustomed to new medications. I chose to hibernate in my apartment and disconnect from many who cared about my well being. Again, fear and doubt set in; now I know I have mentioned in the past, ”Do not disconnect from those who want to help.” However, when some of us are ”going through” it can sometimes feel as though we are a burden or weak if we need to depend on others.
After digging deep within, I knew I had to reach out because of the words of my Pastor DeWayne Hill, ”The enemy [which is my thought process] will try to make you believe that you are not strong enough to overcome whatever it is that is trying to defeat your purpose, which you are destined for.”
I took some time out to check with a couple of others who gave some of their own experiences with these issues. I started with Mr. Joseph Desenclos of St. Stephens Street Outreach:
”My biggest fears were of success and the unknown. I had become used to failure, and I would sabotage my success because I didn’t feel I was worthy of anything positive. My life is much better now; I have a meaningful job, and I like the me I have become. I still have ups and downs. However, I have supportive people in my life.
“I will also add I am able to check myself when my instincts become misguided. I now rely on a small group of supportive healthy people, and I don’t take my own advice or become cocky when it comes [to] uncertainties on my journey towards continued success.
“One of the most important things I have discovered is, we should not try to figure ourselves out by ourselves. We do not need to take advice from everyone — just find those few with similar circumstances who are making positive changes in their lives.
“I am so thankful to have these people who are ‘genuine’ as well as being great supporters to my ongoing ability to make changes in my life even when situations become fearful to me, when I start doubting the purpose I am still on this earth for.”
I was honored to become acquainted with Mr. Eric Maurice Clark, author of The Experience Near to Death, who shared some of his story to assist with this article:
“One of the biggest fears I had to face after [I was stabbed] was getting over embarrassment. I doubted my life had any purpose, and I feared for my life even more after I was released from the hospital; I just didn’t believe I was going to survive mentally.
”In my book The Experience Near to Death, I touch on how fear can hold you back from exploring and gaining control of your life. We should learn to put fear in its proper place and not allow fear to rob us of our future. Fear is like the game chess: If you move in fear, you’ve lost the game. It’s not easy to come back from a setback, but steps to recovery are as simple as re-attacking strategies. Never allow people to hold your past against you; live your life and push your way through.”
In closing, I must say the issues I have with depression and other things can become overwhelming, and the words of Joseph Desenclos — ”Never try to figure yourself out by yourself” — were a major asset to me reaching out again and not putting myself in a no-win situation.
I want to thank all those who were willing to share their stories, because someone somewhere may be having the same or similar issues. That is the purpose of my articles: to give hope not only to others but also to myself.
Until next time, remember: ”You are stronger with help than you are alone when you are going through any rough time!”
James Davis welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.