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How to overcome 3 common panic triggers
Mar 13

How to overcome 3 common panic triggers

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

Going to the dentist has always been one of my worst panic triggers.

And last week, two of my fillings had to be replaced. My dentist insisted on an anaesthetic injection. Which I hate! The entire left side of my face was numb, including my nose and eye!

And then the procedure started. I closed my eyes and tried to relax. The bright surgical light above my face blinded me. Two people were pressing against me from each side. Inserting countless instruments into my mouth, manipulating my teeth.

I felt panic gripping me and fought it down.

But then out came the drill. The shrill screeching in combination with the unpleasant pressure against the affected teeth is terrifying. Saliva accumulated at the back of my throat and made me gag.

I tensed up. My finger nails were digging into my thighs. Adrenaline accelerated my heart rate and I wanted to scream, remove those utensils from my mouth, jump up and escape the awful situation so I could breathe again.

Panic had won again.

I felt like a total failure. I knew I wasn’t in any real danger. So, why was I so terrified?

What was wrong with me?

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10 amazing books that helped me heal low self-worth and anxiety
Feb 14

10 amazing books that helped me heal low self-worth and anxiety

By Dr Berni Sewell | Overcome your fears

By the autumn of 1999, my life was soul-sucking misery. I had suffered from social anxiety, an overreactive bladder and irritable bowel syndrome for many years. But I coped. Life wasn’t a blast, but I was ok.

All changed when I moved to Vienna. I chose a University further from home to escape the rejection, heart-ache and bullying of my school days. But it left me alone in the city, depending on nobody but myself for the first time in my life. And I was terrified.

Everything had changed. My emotions were in turmoil and I resisted the new situation, unwilling to adapt. I felt forlorn, helpless, vulnerable.

Even little things, such as popping over to the shop across the road, became unsurmountable challenges and triggered frequent panic attacks. I existed with a constant baseline level of fear. The sick butterfly feeling in my stomach accompanied me from dawn until dusk and then turned into full-blown terror at night. Every unfamiliar sound sent sharp shocks through my chest. My heart was racing all night and I laboured hard to force air into my lungs.

Between lectures, I sat alone while others had already formed friendships. I watched them chatting and laughing. But I couldn’t get myself to start a conversation, to just say hello and see what happened. Maybe I was scared of being rejected again. Maybe I thought I would make a fool of myself. But I was lonely and isolated and I remember that I cried a lot.

But all changed when I read the book that saved my life…

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