It has been a day or so since the storm sent you adrift. The sun beats down 
upon you as you lay sprawled over the piece of debris floating aimlessly, almost lifeless.

Something bumps into you.

You half-heartedly look up to see what it is and see nothing. 
You lay your head back again, shrugging it off.

Something bumps into you again. Something slick.

Your heart skips a beat. Your eyes gape open as your mind triggers the Jaws theme.

You begin frantically kicking  your feet and look around in time to catch sight of a shark fin 
descending into the water. Panic fills your soul. You spin about, 
trying to find where the dreaded creature will pop up next.

A fin breaks through the water’s surface, followed by another, then another…

Fear grips you as you watch the horde of sharks encircle you. 
You catch glimpses of their black eyes beneath the waves, 
peering into your very being with their sinister grins. 

A loud roaring behind you draws your attention. 
You turn around, only to be faced by a nightmare. 
Barreling down on you, a massive great white slices through the sea, 
eyeing you, its prey. 

You look upon your predicament. If you try to get out of the way of the 
enormous beast, you will be devoured by its smaller cohorts. 
If you do nothing, it will consume you.

Sadly, the beast gives you no choice for it is now upon you. 
You watch in horror as it opens its jaws, 
revealing the bottomless pit that awaits you. 
You scream in terror as the shark’s mouth overtakes you, 
leaving you in darkness as your cries echo through its stomach.

Suddenly, you awake from your nightmare, nearly throwing yourself fully into the sea. 
Sweat pours down your face as you anxiously look about you 
for signs of danger. 

Nothing.

You try to relax, wiping the sweat from your forehead as you continue to drift along the sea, the unknown awaiting you.

We all experience anxiety.

Whether it be looming bills, college exams, health issues, or parenting challenges, every human being experiences anxiety in one form or another. However, like sadness, if left unchecked, it can do great harm to your life.

When we experience an unexpected odyssey, anxiety is one of the first emotions to knock on our door. It causes us to allow fear to dictate our lives. For some, like those with chronic illnesses, these fears are founded on tangible things, like triggers that can cause their illness to flare, which is completely understandable. For others, this anxiety is brought about due to other tragic events that enter their lives.

Now, fear can be helpful when it comes to survival. In fact, it is necessary. When our lives are threatened, fear keeps us sharp, it hones our senses preparing us to either fight or run, whichever will save our lives.

That is why soldiers have a hard time readjusting to civilian life. To them, certain sounds trigger a reverting back to their fight or flight mode, making it difficult to move forward in life.

Fear is a dominating emotion. If you do not control it, 
it will control you.

When we dealt with overcoming sadness, we referenced old Horace the horse and how he liked to only go down familiar pathways. Fear and anxiety can keep us from experiencing life to its fullest, keeping us corralled in like Horace.

 But we can choose a more flourishing path. 

Anxiety is only as crippling as you allow it to be. Only you have the capability to take the reins and venture to brighter roads.

As stated by Alfred from Batman Begins, “Why do we fall, Master Wayne? So that we can learn to pick ourselves up.”

Fear has knocked you down. Learn to pick yourself up, stare it in the face, and say, “You have controlled me long enough! I’m taking back the reins.”