Saturday, March 7, 2009


Last night we went to the 'Paraplex' for a friend's birthday. It is billed as the world's first paranormal investigative complex. I guess I had high expectations. It was a beautiful building, built in the 1890's, that served as a mortuary for over 80 years. Unfortunately, any hope we had of actually experiencing anything paranormal was quickly smothered in cameras, computer monitors and hollywood effects.
I got the feeling that if there were any ghosts there, they were mostly pissed off at the intrusion of technology. Give me an infrared camera, an EMF detector, and an old abandoned house with NO POWER and I'd have a lot more fun.

In the basement, where the bodies were kept, was a "horror house" where animatronics jump out at you, lights flash, and loud noises startle you. In a group of four, I took point. I was the first to go into the dark corners, push though the body bags, and trigger the shit that jumps out at us. Hell, compared to the reality we face, I can jump a little at sudden noises, but it doesn't scare me. Everybody said how brave I was, and I thought that was funny, though I didn't say so.

It did get me thinking about fear though.
Fear is one of our most primal feelings. Fear exists for a reason. Healthy fear is critical to survival. But when fear turns to panic, it becomes counterproductive to survival.

Panic is paralysing. Panic can kill you when what you feared in the first place is not deadly. Panic is a loss of control and loss of awareness. If you panic, you are as good as dead. I learned that while scuba diving for the first time with no prior training. I couldn't clear my mask, I couldn't see, I got water up my nose and started choking. We were 80 feet down. If you screw up at 80 feet, you're pretty much fucked. You can't just swim to the surface. Some primitive part of my brain realized I was on the verge of losing my shit and probably dying. I remember thinking "I WILL NOT PANIC." I took control of my breathing and made peace with the fact that I couldn't see. I calmed down, took a moment to breathe, then successfully cleared my mask and went on with the dive.

That was my first really meaningful experience with wrangling fear. After that I became a bit of a fear junkie. I wanted to challenge it, to push my boundaries. Fear fascinates me. I have learned to let my fear speak, but not let it control me. I'd rather stand up and meet my fear head on. It is thrilling in a way, especially when you overcome it. Given the choice between fight or flight, I'm ready to fight. I'd rather die standing up than be beaten/enslaved on my knees.

That has always been my philosophy on fear.

But on March 1st, I was paralysed. I mentioned the emotional reality of it all settling in. I was scared shitless. Everything seemed pointless. I couldn't do anything except freak out.

I cried. A lot.

I prayed. A lot.

And at the end of the day, I realized that I cannot control this. So I let go.
Therein lies the secret to conquering panic. Letting go.
Let go of the control you think you have. Let go of the beliefs you have been conditioned with. JUST. LET. GO....

Trust in faith. Trust in God. Trust in yourself.

I trust that there is a higher power that guides me. I am not religious. I do not call myself a Christian, or anything else for that matter. But I have a deep, unshakeable faith that is always with me. It is my guiding light that shines, no matter how dark the storm. And I am most thankful for that.
As soon as I let go, I can breathe again. I'm still scared shitless about what we face. But panic will not incapacitate me.


  1. Great post and a very healthy outlook. Good for you, my friend!

  2. Thanks Jim. I don't see a true survival mentality possible without facing your fear. It's tough, but it's worth it.

  3. Interesting post.

    Most people are too afraid of fear to do anything but avoid it in any way possible. This would take some bravery...after all, we cannot be brave without fear.

    I will try to remember your advice when panic sets in.


  4. Thanks for visiting Sheilanagaig. I enjoy your blog and the different viewpoints it presents. We all have valuable lessons to teach each other.