Facing Your Fears

Henry - Western Springs, Illinois
Entered on February 22, 2009
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: fear
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Facing Your Fears

When I was a little kid, I was terrified of being separated from my parents. I used to be afraid to sleep at a friend’s house or be home with a babysitter if my parents were out. I even had trouble going to bed if my parents were on a different floor in the house, when I was very little. I eventually outgrew most of these things by the age of 8 or 9, but going away from home for an extended period of time was still difficult for me. There were a lot of things I wanted to do like go to summer camps, lake houses, and even sleepovers, but I was hesitant because I knew I had a history of anxiety and trouble being away from my home and my parents.

My parents were very good at encouraging me to try these things. They kept reminding me that I would never be able to go to Washington DC for the 8th grade trip, church work tours, or even college if I did not overcome my fear. My first attempt to face my anxiety was the summer after fifth grade. I had stopped having trouble with my parents being away from home or going to sleepovers, so I thought that I was ready for a bigger challenge. My older brother was going to Camp Highlands for Boys for four weeks over the summer, and I decided to go with him. I was very nervous to go because I just hated to think that I would get homesick like I did as a child. I really struggled the first couple days and I noticed that I was most anxious when things were quiet and I wasn’t busy. After a few days of busy camp life, my fear went away and I had fun. The activities and the friendships outweighed any thoughts of home. It turned out to be the best four weeks of my life, and after I got back from camp, I felt like I could do anything.

Because I was able to face my fear of being away from home, I have continued to do things that I really want to do. I flew to Duke Basketball Camp all by myself at age 12 which was another big challenge for me. I have gone on a work tour with my church youth group. I would never have been able to do these things if I had not gotten past my childhood anxiety problems. I believe that fears can hold one back from becoming who they really are, and the only way to overcome those fears is by facing them. I now feel confident that the opportunities for my future are limitless because I know how to face my fears.