Friday, February 03, 2023 | Rajab 11, 1444 H
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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Face it and overcome fear

Once again I saw someone walking and texting and this time around, the person was walking down the stairs.


On this day, however I was not going to be shy or hesitant and I called onto her from the bottom of the stairs and said, ‘Please do not text and come down the steps.’


She smiled and heeded with approval and stopped where she was to complete her text message before she resumed walking down the steps. It must have been an urgent message.


Once bitten twice shy — and that is what has happened to me — a fall on the steps, skipping a few, and the recovery has not been that of comfort.


Everything you take for granted are now done with care. It has made me confident enough to stop strangers on their path if they are texting and walking to request them not do so.


Bad enough that we are often taking actions while our mind is preoccupied. Now it is not just our mind but one of the most important senses that is not in our control. How else would we be aware of our surroundings?


Lately we have been exploring mindfulness and walking and texting makes one realise how disconnected we are in reality. Sure enough we have our own judgements but imagine being on the other extreme and being unaware who walked past us, where is the step, where is the landing? So has the accident made me alert, conscious or has it caused a fear in me where I have the urge to tell others not to walk and text lest...


Fear is not a bad thing as I found out but if not checked on it can leave its impression on our mind forever- such as having a driving license and not wanting to drive due to a car accident.


Life styles often change because of fear all because of the want to avoid the situation again. Learnt more about it while interviewing Dr Hamed al Sinawi, Senior Psychiatrist, for Oman Observer Podcast, GreenMent, on the topic — Chronic fear — how dangerous is it and how common is it?


We all have some kind of fear, do we not?


From flying to swimming to spiders and water the fears are too many and sometimes we do not reveal it to others worried they might know our weaknesses.


Do you remember after the first drastic storm in the Sultanate of Oman in 2007 how many times we ran to shop for food and water to stock them whenever rain was forecast?


It was a collective reaction and along the years we have healed and overcome the fear of being stuck without food and water.


So what we are going through the pandemic period might linger around in us for a while to come - the need for ventilation, personal space awareness and even feeling guilty to shake hands.


This is what Dr Hamed had to say about fear.


“It has some kind of purpose in preserving life, but sometimes too much fear can be crippling. At times people can go through experiences and then they become fearful of going through it again.


Post traumatic stress disorder is a reaction to catastrophic situation — something might have happened that is life threatening such as volcano, earthquake or frequent rains. This is where a person feels his life is in danger. So he carries his memory with him and it causes life changes. Some people have unreasonable fears and they know it does not make sense, yet they cannot face it. So one of the ways to overcome fear is to face it!”


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