Many of us are thwarted by our inner voices, our anxieties and a fundamental lack of belief in ourselves. Our inner critic tells us that we are less accomplished or capable than others. We dismiss our achievements and confine ourselves to a false belief in our mediocrity. But somewhere inside, we know that our disappearing act no longer serves the world.
Three years down the line, I still continue to be haunted by my cancer. Like the background music to a movie it's always there, singing the trauma that I have endured. Approximately, two-thirds of women with a breast cancer diagnosis suffer PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and this can make them prone to anxiety and depression later.
Basically as you get older, you realise that you are not the only person in the world who worries about things. Everyone is riddled with insecurities, they just manifest them in different ways, or if they are really lucky, they have learned to overcome their difficulties (I recently re-read M Scott Peck's The Road Less Travelled and it was brilliant on this subject).
What has happened in Paris and in Beirut recently is a very shocking and terrible thing and how you talk to your children about it will vary a lot depending on the age of your children and their temperament and your own values. While everyone will be appalled by what has happened there may be different aspects of it that you would want to highlight to your children.
It took me years to be able to focus on loving people no matter what they did, or how I felt about them. But the pay-off was indescribable. Every time I found something I could love, I felt fear loosening it vice-like grip on me. I could function again. Look people in the eye. Have a conversation. Sleep. Eat. The world became a manageable place.
If it's possible for six days to say no to fear, to go to a place where fear doesn't exist then surely that must mean that fear isn't real and is something that is imposed on us by the circumstances we live in or by what we believe to be circumstances that stop us from doing what we really want. Mind boggling no?
Before I became a mum, I thought I knew what fear was. I believed I had felt it and experienced its debilitating force. I now know I was wrong. I would give anything to go back to the time when my biggest fear was sleeping through my alarm and arriving late for work. Or forgetting to pay my landlord his rent on time.