A few of the braver souls emptied their rifles before dropping them to follow the rest. About seventy yards down the slope, Michael caught sight of Chamberlain. He had his left hand on the trunk of a tree, and in his right, he held the sword, the point of which was resting on the collarbone of a Rebel officer. However, a phobia of spiders, as opposed to a fear, is the difference between being terrified by a black widow on your shoulder (rational: a credible threat to yourself) and being terrified by a money spider on the other side of the room (irrational: money spiders won't hurt you, they are just going about their business, leave them be). Most phobias are simple defence mechanisms. You may have a fear of sharks because sharks are massive and have huge teeth and the movies say they eat people (important reminder: sharks don't eat people all that often, they are more scared of us than we are of them, this may mean that sharks have anxiety), or a fear of heights as heights - or, more specifically, falling from them - kill people. But when the phobias become irrational, that is our overactive amygdala being a complete shit. There is no real threat about a Moomin, it is almost impossible for a Moomin to cause me physical harm, unless a massive statue of one falls on me or something, which is now going to keep me awake for WEEKS. Yet this is how my brain sees it, it translates something I once saw as scary or traumatic and makes sure that I am prepared next time I see it. You get scared of the Moomin once, next time your brain will make sure you are ready to get the feck out of there by making your body go crazy. It makes sense. It's fecking stupid, but it makes sense. Let's move on to social anxiety, one of the most common conditions. 10-25 = Low A low score indicates this response is not very relevant for you, though you may go into it at times. We all face challenges in life that feel like more than we can handle in the moment, so it may be that your nervous system tends toward fight, flight, or freeze only occasionally and under extenuating circumstances. If you have higher scores on other responses, you will likely feel better faster by working on those first. If all of your scores are in the low range, that is a great sign you already have a lot of resilience built into your system. Assessment #2: Task Approach From time to time, we all have tasks on our plate that we just don't want to do, and which might even stir up some fear or anxiety.

Despite this, a healthy individual approaches the task head-on and finds a way to work through it, despite their negative feelings. When unresolved trauma is present, however, the nervous system becomes over-involved and, as a way of protecting oneself from these uncomfortable feelings, a person might find themselves procrastinating. Task-related fear and uncertainty can trigger two main responses: mobilization (fight-or-flight) or disengagement (shutdown). The man had his hands up. It was over. Michael climbed over the rocks and sat down. With his back to the wall, he pulled the pouch from his pocket. As he looked down the slope, Michael brushed his fingers over the silky smoothness of the material. Unbuttoning the flap, Michael removed the paper that Chamberlain had written. After taking a final glance downhill and a deep breath, Michael unfolded the paper. The Third Decision for Success I am a person of action. Beginning today, I will create a new future by creating a new me. To put it plainly, it's the fear of any social situation. Complicated stuff I know but try to keep up with me here. You are more than likely to recognise some of the weirdness in the next, less-Moomin-related part, so let's see what fun types of anxiety you might have! First, humans are already awful. Have you ever been outside? It's a dreadful place filled with walking meat beings herding each other around while they try to mate with one another and produce even more walking meat beings, and the circle continues until chucking-out time at the pub and starts again the next morning. I don't equate social anxiety with being antisocial.

Being an antisocial person means you simply don't want to interact with anyone out of choice, not out of fear or dread. Being antisocial is based in arrogance, while social anxiety is based in terror. The problem here is that if you suffer with social anxiety you can come across as antisocial. When an individual's fight-or-flight system is activated, mobilization can take on one of two forms: mobilizing in and mobilizing out. Mobilizing in means fight-or-flight energy is used to over-engage in a task. This can appear as obsessively checking every detail. Mobilizing out means fight-or-flight energy is instead used in an active avoidance of the task, causing a person to engage in busy-work activities, such as cleaning or organizing the night before a big exam as an excuse to avoid studying. Another possible response is disengagement. When this occurs, a person's dorsal vagal nerve is activated, leading to shutdown and a sense of collapse. Individuals who experience this might find themselves zoning out, taking a nap, or binge-watching Netflix when they have an important task to do. No matter how someone approaches anxiety-ridden tasks, compassion is important. While all of these forms of procrastination do have a negative impact, the behaviors are typically a subconscious attempt to protect oneself from overwhelming feelings. People will usually score higher on one response than the other, although in the case of complex trauma, any combination is possible. No longer will I dwell in a pit of despair, moaning over squandered time and lost opportunity. I can do nothing about the past. My future is immediate. I will grasp it with both hands and carry it with running feet. I will seize this moment. I choose now. I am a person of action.

I am energetic. I move quickly. Knowing that laziness is a sin, I will create a habit of lively behavior. You make excuses for not going out,2 you find it difficult to talk to people, the idea of a conversation focusing on you makes you sweat, being out of your comfort zone makes you panic. It's far from arrogant to feel this way but for those who don't understand, it can be misconstrued as such. How long has social anxiety existed? Well, compared to general anxiety disorder, social anxiety seems to be a relatively new disorder. It first made the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (or DSM, often referred to as the definitive bible for mental health conditions) in 1968, under the guise of social fears', and then again in 1980, in the DSM third edition, as asocial phobia'. It may be that social anxiety has only been recognised so recently (in the last few hundred years) because the threat centre of our brain is unable to deal with the lack of larger or more `real' threats in our day-to-day lives in modern life; My adventures in social anxiety have only been prevalent for the last three years. Before that I was outgoing. I was constantly in the pub, I loved meeting new people, I basked in the joy of being the group clown, knowing I could make people laugh. Now I can barely sit in a pub with people for fifteen minutes before checking every escape route, barely saying anything, avoiding telling any jokes in case no one laughs or any attention comes my way, and if I do say anything it's only to direct the conversation away from me. Mobilization When I have a task to complete, I become over-focused and obsessed until it is finished. When I am overwhelmed by a project, I respond by making sure I have everything correct. Nothing else in the world, including social engagements, exists when I have an important task to complete. I don't consider my work successful unless I've put in 150 percent effort. My goal is to finish a project as soon as possible, regardless of when it is due. I find myself active and busy with other things that keep me distracted from the task at hand.

When I have an overwhelming task, my go-to response is to exercise. When someone is upset with me, I feel better after cleaning and organizing. When I feel anxious about starting a task, I find myself taking on other projects instead. I will walk with a spring in my step and a smile on my face. Wealth and success hide from the sluggard, but rich rewards come to the person who moves quickly. I am a person of action. I inspire others with my activity. I am a leader. Leading is doing. To lead, I must move forward. Many people move out of the way for a person on the run; My activity will create a wave of success for the people who follow. My activity will be consistent. I acknowledge that this can be perceived as rude, but as I sit in a loud bar, people screaming over the top of each other while I clutch my pint tight into my chest, I feel as if my insides are on fire. That at any moment my heart is going to burst from going too fast. One of my therapists said that this panic derived from my low self-confidence, that if I were to speak to anyone I would instantly assume they found me boring, unfunny, generally a chore to be around. This is true. I automatically make the judgement that whoever I am in contact with feels nothing but disdain for me. In this panic I found the only way to cope: by saying as little as I can. If I don't say anything I can't be judged.