Of The Unknown
Personally, I was always afraid of the unknown. I got panic attacks and severe anxiety thinking about the future, regretting my actions, and assuming the worst of a situation.
It’s a tough spot to be in when your path is blocked by your own walls. It was mostly my fear of losing control that haunted me and pushed me to question my every move. Everything was calculated; if even one thing was off, it threw me into a crazy anxiety bout that could incapacitate me for hours.
I think a lot of fear can be traced back to this core idea of simply not knowing. Not knowing (or being afraid of) what could happen if I walked down that dark alley. I could be mugged, raped, shot. Or I could just get to my destination unscathed. Being afraid what could happen if I wasn’t able to complete my work on time. I could get reprimanded or fired. Or I could shrug it off and move on to the next day.
What’s important to note is that being afraid also means being unprepared. If we constantly fear, we have no energy to react when shit really does hit the fan. Moreover, we often don’t think about the positive when we consider the present negative situation.
Read more on how to be more mindful in this article.
On this issue of 1Q, I asked 10 people on the streets of New York about what they fear most.
1 question. 1 minute.
Frank | 41
Favorite way to cope with fear: Have a drink
“Losing my job. I make the money in the family. My wife is disabled, so she relies on me. It gets stressful when I’m at work hoping I don’t screw up somehow.”
Caroline | 21
Favorite way to cope with fear: Talk to a friend
“I’m deathly afraid of bugs. Like, a legit phobia of them. I can get a panic attack if I see one too close to me. I feel like it can bite or sting me and I’ll die from it. It probably started when I was a kid and got stung by a bee. It left a scar on my arm and really scarred me for life.”
Mami | 26
Favorite way to cope with fear: Read a book
“I’m really afraid of losing people. When I grew up I lost my grandma and my little brother in a car accident and ever since that time, I’m scared I’ll lose my parents, sister, boyfriend, friends, etc. I feel like I can be clingy and that’s bothered people a lot.”
Richard | 32
Favorite way to cope with fear: Fight back
“Probably of dying. Everyone is though. Me, just a little more. I had a lot of near-death experiences when I was younger since I was involved in a lot of gang activity. Now I know how easy it is to take a life. Or take your own.”
Kim | 18
Favorite way to cope with fear: Talk myself through it
“Failing in school. My parents are so strict and I’m scared when I go to college I’m going to stress out so much I’ll die. I really dread starting college because of it and I don’t feel motivated at all.”
Yulia | 22
Favorite way to cope with fear: Talk to myself
“I’m afraid of screwing up. With everything. If I don’t get it perfect, I’ll cry about it. It’s not healthy, but it’s hard to control and I’m working on it.”
Garrett | 30
Favorite way to cope with fear: Text my friend
“I’m afraid of being poor again. Sounds kinda superficial, but I grew up dirt poor and that made me realize how bad the world can be. Now I make good money at my job. I can’t go back. I could never go back to my childhood. It haunts me almost every week.”
Tammy | 23
Favorite way to cope with fear: Call my mom
“I’m really afraid of heights. I guess that’s connected to fear of dying since I imagine if I’m too high up, I’ll fall down and die. I don’t like the idea of not being grounded.”
Benjamin | 56
Favorite way to cope with fear: Ask myself why I’m scared
“Well, over the years, it’s gotten easier for me to say ‘Hey, I did it already, so I know what to expect, and I’m not afraid.’ But if there’s one thing I’m afraid of, it’s dying before my wife, and leaving her all alone.”
Vikki | 21
Favorite way to cope with fear: Text my BFF about it
“Probably drowning. I can swim, but I didn’t know how to when I was little, obviously. I almost drowned in a pool when I was 7 and it was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. I can’t even go into the water anymore after that.”