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Are You Paralyzed by Fear?

Are You Paralyzed by Fear?

Anxious people can appear paralyzed by fear.  They can go to extreme lengths to avoid anything that triggers their fear.  They can make elaborate excuses and put off handling anything that produces anxiety.  All of this creates tremendous tension and pressure.  The stress of this pressure creates is vented through impulsive behavior. 

At thirty-three, Carly was anxious all the time.  With an eight-year-old son, she felt her youth and whatever beauty she had fading with age.  Though she’d tried several relationships since her divorce, nothing was working out.  Every day she became more dissatisfied with her job, with her life, and with her prospects.  During the past three years, she’d moved four times, never more than ten miles away.  She didn’t move because she had to, but because she kept thinking a new place would somehow make her world seem better.  It didn’t. 

That’s when Carly decided the answer was to move to a small town outside Denver.  She didn’t know anyone there, which somehow made it more attractive.  Carly was determined to start her life over, convinced she could find love and happiness in the slower tempo of a small town.  So she quit her job, sold all her possessions to pay for the move, yanked her son out of school, and headed off for what she considered greener pastures.

After ten months, when the dreams had washed out along with the temporary jobs she’d been able to find, Carly moved back.  It seemed being an unknown in a small town wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.  Back home at least her family was there and could help take care of her son, who was more confused and frustrated than ever.  When people had politely questioned why she’d taken off in the first place, Carly hadn’t really been able to explain.  It just seemed to make sense to her at the time.  For a time, the sheer upheaval in her life brought on by the move provided effective cover.  The move itself overwhelmed the reasons behind it.  For a while, Carly felt relief.  That time was over, and now she felt worse than ever.

When the stress of anxiety can no longer be avoided, when it can no longer be forestalled, a sense of desperation can set in.  You’ll find yourself thinking of doing, and sometimes actually doing, things you never thought possible.  When being quiet doesn’t work, when avoidance doesn’t work, you can decide the only alternative is to run.  There is something compelling about running; it is a singular pursuit.  Running has a way of focusing your attention just on what’s ahead instead of what’s behind. 

I’ve known people who have run from spouses, parents, and children.  They’ve run from established relationships toward the dream of what if with the people they’ve met online.  Like Carly, they’ve physically moved from place to place, hoping to leave their fears behind.  They’ve run farther and farther down the path toward drug addiction or alcoholism.  People run to all sorts of things, but they cannot outrun themselves. 

Fears cannot be outrun; they must be faced and overcome.  The root of the fears must be understood and put into proper context.  Fears cannot stay hidden; they must be forced out into the open, to be examined in the light of truth.  Instead of la-la-la-la-la, you need to raise your head, open your eyes, listen, and experience.  Because your monster has such power over you, it is imperative you stop avoiding it, putting it off, and running from it and start putting it into its proper perspective. 

If you or someone you know suffers from mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, eating disorders, or PTSD, it is beneficial to understand the causes of these conditions. Contact The Center • A Place of HOPE today at 1-888-771-5166 and begin the healing process.


  1. I am 78 years old and have just admitted I am paralyzed with fear, literally. I can’t breathe from COPD, I can’t walk, from neuropathy, I am in a wheelchair. Afraid of falling. Clan you recommend a book for me to help me.

    • Hi Mary Ann,

      Thank you for your thoughtful note and we are sorry you are not feeling well. Dr. Jantz’s book “Overcoming Anxiety, Worry and Fear” may be an excellent choice for you. If you would like to send us your address, we would be delighted to gift a copy to you. We will not publish your address in the comments section. You can see the book in the Bookstore on the website: https://www.aplaceofhope.com/shop/books/overcoming-anxiety-worry-and-fear-revised-edition/.

  2. I am so afraid and anxious,I stopped going out of my house and I’m still afraid of everything even with medication.any suggestions thank you. Ann

    • Hi Annmarie,

      Thank you for your message. Anxiety and anxiousness are real, as you know. We encourage you to call our admissions team who can talk to you about what a treatment program entails, and provide you resources. Please call them at 888.771.5166.

  3. What I read here resonates with me more than anything I’ve so far found; and I’ve spent years looking-hope to begin life and regain contact with my 20 year old daughter some day but fear keeps me here somehow. Thank you.

  4. Hello! I have anxieties that are so overwhelming I am afraid of the work force and being in charge of anything. I feel like I am judged by loved ones constantly and that I always fail everyone.

    As a 29 year old mother of 4 and wife, I should have better answers for myself. Instead, I feel so lost and so afraid of this world.


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