As Halloween approaches, nothing seems to be putting a scare into people quite like Ebola. Are you feeding your fears or engaging with it? Check out my new article Ebola Fears: Are You Thinking, or Are You Over-Thinking.
I think we can connect this fear with how we generally manage other fears in our lives. We all have our own way of managing these even if we’re desperate for some new ones. Unfortunately, it is very common to indulge the fear by ‘feeding’ it with listening to all the news coverage, reading everything we can get our hands on, and constantly talking about it to anyone we meet. We think if we can share this with enough people it will somehow lessen the fear in us, but it’s like a mythical creature that seems to get bigger and stronger the more we indulge it.
Others go the other way. They drop out of the coverage, avoid it at all costs, and protect themselves by starving the beast. This can work, probably longer than indulging the fear, but if your avoidance is in response to a fear you’d rather not look at, well, sadly, the fear will probably come out when you least expect it.
It’s difficult to have a temperate approach to any fear, but ones that have already had movies that explode all their scary possibilities can be very tricky. Many people come to therapy with shame and they often carry the fear that they are the only ones who feel a certain way or think a certain way. A fear of Ebola is different because it’s a shared fear. The problem is so many people express their fear in their own particular way and that may be triggering for you.
The answer can lie in learning how you approach fear and how you can cautiously experiment with other ways. In therapy this is done in a safe environment that goes at your pace. Shoot me an email if you’d like to talk further.
Justin Lioi, LCSW is a men’s mental health and relationship expert based in Brooklyn, NY (and online throughout New York State and internationally.) He received his degree from New York University and has been providing counseling for men and their families for over 10 years. Justin is on the Board of the National Association of Social Workers and writes a weekly column for the Good Men Project called Unmasking Masculinity. He can be found on local and national podcasts talking about assertiveness, anger, self-compassion, all with the goal of becoming the man you want to be.