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The Paralysing Effect of Fear

Sue EllamSo, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear, is fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance.” – Franklin Delano Roosevelt (1933 Inaugral Address)

I was recently talking to a friend and our conversation stirred up some memories which relate to the pervasive nature of fear.

I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t terrified of spiders – I’m not talking about a slight dislike, I’m talking about hyperventilating when one was in the same room. Snakes – no big deal, I can handle them with no problem – but spiders – an entirely different scenario.

Fear is a strange thing – a little thing like a spider could merrily wander into my home to shelter from the rain, minding its own business and doing no harm, but then I SEE IT!! My whole body tenses, I stare at it in horror and you would have thought I was dealing with an axe murderer!  Living in the UK, I could hardly claim that it was a life and death situation either! Absolutely no logic to it at all, and I never knew why I had this phobia – it was a complete mystery, but all I knew was that my body went into fight or flight mode when a tiny little thing with 8 legs appeared.  That’s the nature of fear though – quite often our imagination will create monsters where there are none.

The world is a very fearful place in these current times and I really can’t imagine the lives some people are leading. It would be foolish and ignorant of me to equate my experience of fear with that of people whose lives are under constant threat. Our circumstances are very different, but the effects of fear have similar results – they have the ability to switch off our intuition, our internal guidance and innate intelligence, and have us running round like headless chickens in a constant state of panic. We are driven by what might happen in the future, based on our experiences of the past (or what we are told), but it often has very little to do with what is happening in the present moment.

In hindsight, I have a lot to thank spiders for – I had a physical object for my fear and it better enabled me to learn how to deal with it. Much easier than boxing shadows!

I lived in the Algarve for a while and I had a spider resident in my bathroom – it was bigger than the ones I had previously dealt with and whenever I was in there I had one eye on Mathilda. Giving my 8 legged lodger a name somehow diminished the discomfort of having to share my bathroom. There was a slight ledge up by the ceiling and Mathilda used to lounge up there, a number of her legs draped nonchalantly over the edge. One day I went to have a shower and Mathilda was gone – “phew” thought I! I got into the shower and drew the shower curtain and there she was – at eye level! It was just as well she was on the other side of the curtain because I might not be here to tell the tale. I was in such a panic that I don’t actually remember how I got her to the window and on a one way flight into the bushes below!

Looking back I think of Mathilda as my training for what was to come – the Universe conspiring to make me confront my fears face to face.

Life took me to Australia where I had to face my fears head on – I stayed in a Queenslander on Stradbroke Island and came into close contact with the Huntsman. These massive spiders were everywhere – I remember seeing 5 in one night – and my worst nightmares were realised. At the time of year we arrived, they were adult size and moved like lightening. I was like a rabbit in headlights.

However, as invariably is the case, where there is fear there is also a solution, and I was fortunate enough to have around me people who could help.

During this time, I also read a lot about spiders and tried to understand them, and found them to be invariably linked with creativity and persistence – as well as being very useful in devouring unsuspecting mosquitoes.

What was very useful to me was a past life regression which took me back to the beginning, to the root of the problem. I saw myself as a young boy who had been jailed for stealing some bread and was imprisoned for a number of years in a cell full of spiders. I found that particularly interesting because spiders living outdoors didn’t hold the same amount of trepidation for me – it was only when I was in a room with them. During my healing process, I dressed them up in pretty pink party frocks and had them dancing out of the window. That vision still makes me smile today – the number of sleeves on those dresses!

The process that worked for me might not work for everyone for the simple reason we all have different belief systems, but I can say that facing our fears and finding a way to loosen their hold on us is the way to true freedom. We can do anything when we don’t hold onto fear of the consequences.

It was a gradual process for me – I was drawn to go back to that same accommodation three times. The second time everyone had gone to bed and when I went into my room, there was a Huntsman on the wall. This might sound crazy to some, but I literally talked to it – I told it that I didn’t want to harm it, that I didn’t have the courage to catch it, but also that I couldn’t sleep with it in the room. I couldn’t believe my eyes when that spider made its way along the wall and out the window. No word of a lie! Each time I went back to that place the energy had changed – it had initially seemed very dark, but by the time I returned for the last time, it was much lighter and I learned to deal with my multi-legged flatmates by blowing on them and they would scuttle off.

What I learned about fear

My personal journey with fear taught me many things, namely:

  • Fear makes us weak and weak people make bad decisions
  • If we are fearful we are easily manipulated
  • Fear is a virus which can totally consume us if it remains unchecked
  • Fear makes us selfish and self-serving
  • Fear twists our minds so that we see ugliness rather than beauty
  • Fear of the unknown prevents us from living – it limits us and keeps us imprisoned
  • If we live in fear, we attract other people who also live in fear, and we create miserable existences for ourselves and, possibly, others
  • If we live in fear, we give away our power to whoever/whatever pushes our buttons ie. flying, water, threat of violence, being alone – not forgetting spiders of course!

What I learned about overcoming fear

  • Explore our fears, ask ourselves why we have that particular fear and not another. “Familiarity breeds contempt” as the saying goes.
  • Accept our fears and be kind to ourselves – just because we are fearful today doesn’t mean that we have to be fearful tomorrow.
  • Everyone has different fears and they show up for a reason – they are there to teach us a lesson and when we have learned that lesson, we will be free.
  • I mentioned above that fear is a virus, but so is love – it can course through our veins and make the world a more beautiful place, and bring wonderful people into our lives.

In Conclusion

We all see many demonstrations of both fear and love every day of our lives. We see the acts of selfless people risking their lives to save strangers and dangerous animals. On the other hand, we see evidence of selfish people trying desperately to hold on to money, power and influence – no matter the cost to others.

I would like to think that we, the human race, will come to focus more on the strong and loving people who are doing good deeds, and to take our attention away from the weak and fearful people who are intent on leading us down a road to chaos and destruction.

The choice is ours – we experience what we give energy to!

Do you have a way of overcoming your fears which you would be willing to share? All comments most welcome.

Have a wonderful and fear-free day!



Sue is the Founder of Soulfully Connecting.  She has spent over 40 years on her spiritual journey which, amongst other things, included training as a medium, hands on healing and travelling with a shaman.   She trained for 3 years as a graphologist and for 23 years has been a reader specialising in graphology and tarot – 14 of those years were spent participating in festivals both at home and abroad.

The idea behind Soulfully Connecting is to demonstrate that there are other ways of living which can heal the earth, the animal kingdom and ourselves.  She is passionate about people having freedom of choice, which is only possible when they know about all the options.

Sue is a member of the 7 Graces of Marketing community, the core purpose of which is to promote ethical marketing.



Twitter – @soulecting and @soulfullysue




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