The Fear of Fear Itself

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The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Thu Feb 07, 2013 12:19 am

“So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself—nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyses needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” - Franklin D. Roosevelt


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There are two fears.... 1st fear & 2nd fear. A recursive loop!

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The way to break out of the fear loop is not by retreating.... but advancing. In other words, acceptance is the way forward! :wink:

You have to stop adding 2nd fear to 1st fear.
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ZenOfchaos » Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:57 am

Dr Claire Weekes
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:10 am

ZenOfchaos wrote:Dr Claire Weekes


Yep. Don't add 2nd Fear to 1st Fear gave it way :lol:

http://www.claireweekes.com.au/index.html
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby DavidB » Sat Feb 09, 2013 2:27 am

Forgive me for being pedantic, but the saying, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", is circular, like the sayings, "believe me I'm a liar" or "the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth".

But yes, I totally agree, the only way to overcome fear is to advance, so to speak, into unconditional acceptance.

I know from my own experience with anxiety disorders, that when intense anxiety is first felt, the initial reaction is to attempt to flee or fight the anxiety, which only serves to add more negative energy to the anxiety, further inflaming the anxiety, where it can potentially escalate into a full blown panic attack.

The counter intuitive, yet all together more constructive response though, is to acknowledge the anxieties presence by becoming aware of it, and then allowing it to be there unjudged and uncriticized through total acceptance. The anxiety usually dissipates fairly rapidly depending on the situation.
“Wisdom is knowing I am nothing, Love is knowing I am everything, and between the two my life moves.” ― Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Sat Feb 09, 2013 7:57 am

DavidB wrote:The counter intuitive, yet all together more constructive response though, is to acknowledge the anxieties presence by becoming aware of it, and then allowing it to be there unjudged and uncriticized through total acceptance. The anxiety usually dissipates fairly rapidly depending on the situation.


Yep. Utter, utter acceptance of the symptoms of fear is the only way to prevent the fear recursion. Any kind of retreat, or avoidance will keep the fear symptoms in place for future encounters.

One of the most profound symptoms of fear is startle reflex. I've personally had occasion where I had been avoiding certain friends for fear they would see my fear symptoms in our next encounter. When I did finally run into them I had a major startle reflex...that acted like a self-fulfilling prophecy. In other words, my negative prophecy, strongly held belief, or delusion - declared as truth when it is actually false - sufficiently influencing my reactions ultimately fulfilling the once-false prophecy. :lol:

Fear inducing fear.

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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby treasuretheday » Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:01 pm

Thanks for the reminder, Ashley! Interesting thread. I will look for the book by Claire Weekes too!
Life itself is the proper binge.
-Julia Child
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Mon Feb 11, 2013 10:44 pm

treasuretheday wrote:Thanks for the reminder, Ashley! Interesting thread. I will look for the book by Claire Weekes too!


Glad it helps. :D

Claire has two audio books selling on iTunes for $16 each. You don't need both.

I prefer "Hope & Help for Your Nerves" out of the two recordings... but both are equally good.
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:05 am

DavidB wrote:Forgive me for being pedantic, but the saying, "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself", is circular, like the sayings, "believe me I'm a liar" or "the only absolute truth is that there is no absolute truth".


I found this animation that illustrates this circularity beautifully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CK6qa__9Kw4
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby snowheight » Tue Feb 12, 2013 6:24 am

...in the name of -> :| <- historical accuracy ...
Stop talking. Hear every sound as background. Look straight ahead and focus. Take one deep breath. This is you. This is Now.
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Wed Feb 13, 2013 12:53 am

snowheight wrote:...in the name of -> :| <- historical accuracy ...


Bill,

Shall we settle this with a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors?

I love this game because...

Whilst the scissors can cut the paper.... the rock can blunt the Scissors..... the paper can wrap the Rock. Whereby each part of the hierarchy is linked to another part of the hierarchy which actually loops back on itself. Therefore there is no element that sits at the top of the stack. :wink:

The trick is we think that one element will be superior than another, because on a certain level we mistakenly make comparison of only two elements at a time. But with increasing complexity its possible on a new level (comparisons of 3)..... a "paradoxical level crossing" will suddenly appear. :lol:

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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby azooo » Wed Feb 13, 2013 10:27 am

A quote about fear from ACIM

You do not fear the unknown but the known
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Sun Nov 17, 2013 10:53 pm

The first fear is the Amygdala hijack. This is the physical discomfort and freeze/fight/flee fear response. The 2nd Fear is the pre frontal cortex's "rational" thought response "On my god I'm in danger from this physical discomfort!" The pre frontal cortex inappropriately responds by avoidance or safety behaviours anytime this intense physical discomfort arises.

It's the 2nd fear that maintain's the first fear. It's a positive feedback loop. This is how the fear of fear itself develops. :wink:

The cure is to expose one self to the physical discomfort and stop treating the discomfort as danger. This prevents a positive feedback loop from persisting.

This presentation explains the conundrum.

http://youtu.be/S_tI9_so1Q4

The Amygdala response is an unconscious process, it's not part of our pre frontal cortex... This is 1st Fear. 2nd Fear is the conscious evaluation of 1st Fear. This conscious evaluation happens in the prefrontal cortex and maintains the feedback loop.
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Mon Nov 18, 2013 5:30 am

Image

This a good diagram of the positive feedback loop that arises when someone starts to perceive the unpleasant physical symptoms of the Amygdala response as "dangerous" or "threatening".

The production of the signal (unpleasant physical sensations) eventually affects the levels of its own production. Which ultimately leads to a full blown panic attack. The production of the signal is increased by both classical (stimulus pairing) & operant conditioning (reward based).

Now any time you have similar unpleasant physical sensations arise.... the Amygdala is triggered automatically.... which produces even more of the unpleasant physical sensations. Its a vicious cycle as long as the sufferer continues to perceive those initial unpleasant physical sensations as "danger" or "threatening".

The way to break out of the positive feedback loop is to expose oneself to the unpleasant physical sensations, and view the unpleasant sensations as only causing "discomfort". Doing this stops the 2nd Fear feeding back into the Amygdala (1st Fear). Remember the 1st Fear is unconsicous, the 2nd Fear (perception) is the conscious response.

An Amygdala Hijack lasts around 18 minutes, but a total of around 4-5 hours to completely leave the body. So a sufferer needs to at least perceive the unpleasant sensations as discomfort for those first 18 minutes of a hijack. Once the 18 minutes have passed the sufferer may start to feel much more comfortable with the stimulus. However, if the sufferer decides to avoid the stimulus using safety behaviours the Amygdala emotional memory will be even greater the next exposure occurs. This is due to operant conditioning (reward based). By avoiding the feared stimulus the physical discomfort lessens, causing the sufferer to continue avoidance... Which only leads to a increase amygdala response the next time the feared stimulus is encountered.

The sufferer eventually enters a constant hyper vigilant state... Which further leads to classical conditioning (pairing of new feared stimulus).
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Re: The Fear of Fear Itself

Postby ashley72 » Wed Nov 20, 2013 8:53 pm

By the way, I may not have made this aspect clear in my earlier discussions on how a positive feedback loop operates.

Initially the "physical sensations" due to Amygdala are merely the appropriate "response" to some feared stimulus. But as soon as these physical sensations are perceived as "Dangerous".....they transform from being a mere "response" to being a stimulus which can trigger the Amygdala!

This is is where the positive feedback loop comes in to play: the response can then act as a "stimulus". In this case, “positive” is not a good thing, as we are continuously adding more fuel to the amygdala inferno.

It's only when you stop treating physical sensations as "Dangerous" that you de-activate the positive feedback loop (fear of fear itself).
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