Fight or Flight

Fight or Flight

I remember learning about the fight or flight response in A Level Psychology, and I just understood it immediately.  I wish I could say I’m a fighter but I’ve always leaned more towards flight.  It’s something that I’ve really struggled with.  As a teenager I lived just across from my high school and I remember having a particularly bad day and just running home.  I did this at least four times in high school and got in so much trouble for it, My Mum used to always send me straight back to school but it wasn’t something I could control.  I would be confronted with something that scared me and just run home without thinking, I couldn’t stop it and I didn’t understand it.  I felt weird and weak because no one else ran home to their mum when they were having a bad day.

Whenever I was due to give a presentation in school, it made me freak out so much.  I know most people don’t enjoy giving presentations in school but for me it was terrifying to the point that I would stick my fingers down my throat to make myself sick, just so I could get sent home.  There were times I would have a group presentation and it would be with my friends and they depended on me to do my part, they didn’t particularly like doing presentations either.  Instead of sticking with them and being strong, fighting my fear, I would have the day off school pretending to be ill.

If I go into a shop and it gets particularly busy, I can’t handle it and I literally do a runner out of the shop.  I often just leave my fiancé standing there wondering what happened.  When I go out somewhere and a stranger speaks to me I pretend not to hear them and keep walking or I freeze up and my fiancé has to answer for me.

At University I was in a lecture one day when the lecturer said the second part of the lesson would be in random groups, I was so scared I snuck out of the hall and went home.  I did this in a lot of lectures and eventually stopped going to any at all because my anxiety was making me so scared and weak, it was horrible and I hated myself because I am a smart person and if I had got through University, I could have a good career and be doing something that matters.

It’s all examples where my body and mind have chosen to just run instead of face the issue and its so frustrating because I want to be the type of person that just faces my fears and goes in head first determined to get it done.  But it’s something I can’t control, no matter what I do, if I get confronted by something which scares me, I flea without thinking, I do anything to get out of that situation.  It’s why I don’t go out much, here in my flat, nothing can confront me and nothing can make me feel like I need to run away.  No matter how many times I say to myself “You can do this, you’re strong” I can’t.  It’s like an invisible barrier that stops me, it won’t let me carry on, it wont let me confront my fear and fight.



4 thoughts on “Fight or Flight

  1. Well in those moments of extreme stress where your first and probably only natural instinct is to run away you need to start using your mind to confront your fears and instead of acting naturally (running away) you need act based on your thoughts and try walking into those fires, walking towards the gunfire etc. and yes I do know that it sounds terribly cliche like and that it’s not as easy as it sounds for some of us but there is no other way to beat it, at least that I’m aware of. I used to have those moments of panic where my first instinct was to run away too and i still do… but once I’ve realized that It hurts me more to run away from certain things than to walk into them I slowly started acting on my thoughts rather than acting on my instincts in those situations.

    I recently listened to a very interesting podcast with Jordan B Peterson who is clinical psychologist and tenured professor of psychology at the University of Toronto and I heard him say one very interesting thing that went something along the lines of “Instead of running away from fire you need to learn how to tame it, how to be around it, how to walk around it” and I think if you work towards that slowly it is really an achievable goal. Now again, it’s not easy, it’s stressful and terrifying but doesn’t it hurt more to run away from things than to walk into them? At least in the long run like with your situation with University.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Awesome read. You are doing great. You’ve already admitted and acknowledged, now it’s time to change it. First start is to stop saying the word “can’t”. Replace it with can and with positivity. Change comes from within. If you really want to change, you have to take action.


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